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Thursday, January 5, 2012

More Needles & Batting

By: Marjorie Rich

A couple years ago, I challenged myself to decide if it really made a difference what needle I used.  I tested every needle in my stash, ranging from size 9 to 12.  My conclusion was I was equally happy with any size 11 be it Colonial, Richard Hemming & Son or Jean Lyle.

This spring, however I discovered the Clover Black Gold needles.  I think they are absolute heaven to stitch with.  Sadly, they don't make an 11, but I was very happy with the 10's which I used to hand quilt the cat below.  
 I get a lot of question about hand-quilting batiks, but have no problems by using the 11s or Black Golds.  
I like Warm & Natural Cotton and Nature-Fill Cotton/Bamboo battings.   The cottons I used to use tended to hold their wrinkles from being packaged - a pain when layering the quilt.  I have some old cotton batting scraps in the stash which have some type of stabilizer that is hard to hand-stitch through. 

I don't  pre-wash my fabrics if I'm hand quilting with cottons so I get this great crinkly texture.    This Joseph's Coat used batik hand appliqued to a cotton sheet background fabric. 

The back was batik.  To accentuate the crinkle, it was washed in hot (with color catchers) and dried on high.    Not only does it look great, but I know it will survive whatever washing conditions my daughter might attempt.  

I've used the cotton/bamboo for machine quilting and loved the softness and drape of the quilt.  After much encouragement by hand-quilter friends, I'm about half way through hand-quilting a double wedding ring and have found it to be as nice as promised.   The packaging claims a 2-3% shrinkage.   
  What has your experience with hand quilting bamboo been? 


  1. I love your Joseph's Coat quilt and as I am making one also it was a joy to see your colorful quilt. I have never used bamboo batting, it will be interesting to hear more about it. I order the black gold clover needles to try them out - I ordered a 10 and a 12 size as I use 11 and wondered which would be closest to what I use.

  2. Lovely quilts!
    I have never tried bamboo batting, as it is hard to find here. Love wool, thou!

  3. I'll have to give the black gold's a try. You said "I don't pre-wash my fabrics." YIKES! I've seen far too many quilts ruined by not prewashing the fabric. I make it a habit to prewash everything before it ever goes into my studio.

  4. @Caron - I used to prewash EVERYTHING and would never consider a stitch unless it was prewashed. Now I judge based on fabric quality and color.

  5. Hello
    I am making a Josephs coat too and wondered how you bound it. Did you just quilt up to the edge and then bind?

    1. Yes, all the petals are quilted about 3/8" inside in an echo stitch. The binding is machine stitched to the front and hand-stitched on the back.

  6. Hi Marjorie, I really do love the black gold from Clover too! They are expensive, but not bending and breaking there. Love your work!


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