Monday, January 26, 2015

Learning Needles

I am so grateful for heat in my home. Its quite easy to take warmth for granted. Too little warmth or too much cold changes the balance in our lives, whether it is simple temperature control or in our relationships. Because, I am so far from family and friends, I have come to trust what I hear in their voices indicating how in balance they are, and how much warmth they either have for or need from our interaction. Of course, I still ask how things are with them.

After organizing more drawers, making a plan to shift things in closets from one room to another, and making a trip to the senior center giveaway table with objects no longer needed (including my old iron), I started watching the Paper Piecing tutorial again. 

The first part was the set-up for all we need to get started. Having watched it before, I had most everything and had already gone back to the patterns to fill in what I needed there. 

This time, I realized I needed two more tools.  She mentioned having an open toe machine foot. Mine is almost like this and is the one that came with my machine. I found it in my quilting supplies bin and of course, spent time organizing.

The other thing she spoke about needing to paper piece was an 80/12 needle. I didn't have one. I had a lot of other pins and needles but nothing marked with an 80/12 on the package. Then I realized I didn't know much about needles, what the numbers meant, and if they really made a difference.  

I found an old blog dated May 2011 that gives great information for needles from a seamstress. lets-learn-about-needles.html I learned that 80 is the European number, and 12 is the American number. However, this needle is not really the best for my project. It is so worth reading this article if you work with needles at all, and then you can make a wise choice with what you use in your machine. Her side bar has a list of great information and her home page gives even more. Too bad she isn't blogging any more.

What I really wanted to know is which needles to use for quilting and so kept looking. From /sewing-machine-needle-guide, I discovered that slim, slightly rounded needles that range in sizes: 75/11, 80/12, and 90/14 are engineered for use in both piecing and machine quilting. Thin shafts are tapered to pass through many layers of fabric without skipping. This is what works for me.

Back to my needles, all of which were gifts, or from estates as leftovers. I discovered a pack with two the size that are used with batiks (wooo hoooo! My Tessellating Cats are batiks!), another package is for heavy weight fabrics, and the third package is for general quilting use and is recommended for quilting several layers. 

Now, I have the correct Foot and two perfect new needles to get me started on the project! 

Wait, there's more. I also have an organized quilting tool bin and a plan to switch closets around next weekend. Binding strip is on Cole's quilt so I can start hand stitching it. Today was a warm day both inside the house and outdoors, even if I didn't paper piece.