More Hand Quilting Practice

10 Mar

I did some research on quilting needles today.  I found a nice site that compared the different brands of needles.  That website really liked the Jeanna Kimball needles.  They said that Jeanna Kimball needles didn’t bend as easily as others tested.  I guess bending is common which made me feel better.  I’ve heard good things about Jeanna Kimball applique or straw needles also.  So I placed an order for both kinds of needles.  I wasn’t sure what size to get so I got both 10s and 11s for the betweens and size 11 for the straw needles.  I currently am using John James applique needles in size 11 so I figure those will work out in the new brand also.

In the meantime, I picked up a pack of Mary Arden size 10 betweens at my LQS.  Those needles were not compared on the website but they are the only needles that the LQS carried.  I have another LQS about 30 miles away and can visit them tomorrow to check out their selection.  (Today’s LQS is on the way to the horse barn and Gianna and I went riding.)

I used the Mary Arden’s tonight and practiced some more.  I did a few straight lines and then drew a freehand feather and quilted it.

Whole Feather

Close Up Shot

The above pictures looks like they are from two different fabrics, don’t they?  The first picture I took in poor lighting because I thought it showed the definition best.  The second picture has some side lighting from an Ott Light.  It took about an hour to do that one feather.  That feather would have taken me about 1 minute to quilt on the longarm.  Why am I pursuing this hand quilting adventure again?  For the same reason I can tomatoes, bake homemade bread, etc.  Because I want to….

I also called the best hand quilter that I know in my town – Louisa L.  She’s the nicest lady!  She will hand quilt a queen sized quilt for about $300!  AND… she does it in about 2 weeks!  AND… she’s GREAT at it!  Her stitches are itty-bitty and perfectly even.  She talked to me for about 1/2 hour.  I asked her lots of questions.  Does she bend needles? Yep – but they are still usable.  Does she use a hoop, frame, or nothing at all?  She has all sizes of hoops and frames but uses an embroidery hoop.  She’s the second person I’ve talked to that uses an embroidery hoop.  She likes the poly batting I’m using for starters – It’s Soft & Bright.  She also likes Hobbs 80/20. I asked about sandwich tension and needles and thread and everything else I could think of.

She’s going on vacation in the next week or so, but is willing to give me a lesson (or two) when she gets back.  🙂  She also asked me if I’d machine quilt a quilt top for her.  I could hardly say NO since she was so willing to share her knowledge and all.  I told her I don’t usually do anyone else’s quilts except mine because of the whole stress and anxiety thing I have going on, but people just don’t believe me when I say that!  It’s a top she hasn’t even started yet so I’ll wait until she starts it before I start getting all worked up about machine quilting it.

3 Responses to “More Hand Quilting Practice”

  1. suzanne March 10, 2010 at 9:16 PM #

    I recently got some of the size 11 straw needles, the kind that Jeana Kimball likes? They are WAY bendy. OR maybe I’m just hard on them? I’m using them for applique, though.

    Have you tried hand applique with wool? I’ve heard it needles really nicely.

    • ginaquilts March 11, 2010 at 6:53 AM #

      I’ve heard that the straw needles are very bendy too. I like the John James that I’m currently using so we’ll have to see. You know how it is when you’re filling your cart. Can’t hardly just purchase $3 in needles… had to throw in mutliple sizes and a book too! I haven’t appliqued wool yet but have heard lots of good things about it too since you don’t needle turn it.

  2. Carla Riggs March 27, 2010 at 10:26 PM #


    When I was handquilting, I used a size 12 PieceMakers between. It would bend sometimes, but work really well.
    Your hand quilting is beautiful! The feather is so nicely curved; that’s difficult to do.
    And you silly girl! Are you still fretting over your wonderful longarm quilting? You do lovely work, with really nice designs.

    It is fun to can, isn’t it? And make one’s own bread. Nothing better than warm bread from the oven, with butter and honey running down one’s arm while eating! ha

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