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?