English Paper Piecing – Part 6
These notes apply to EPP or hand piecing with a running stitch.
The right one makes a big difference.
- Try different types and sizes and decide which you like best—sharp? between? straw?
- Use a needle that is easy for you to thread.
My personal preference is a very fine “sharp”, but some quilters prefer a longer needle, called a “straw” or “milliner’s” needle.
According to The Patchworks of Lucy Boston by Diana Boston, Lucy Boston said, “Traditionally, one needle should do the whole quilt, and it shapes itself into a curve most convenient for over-sewing.”
I ignore that old custom and replace my needle often. A fresh one adds to the pleasure. A needle is not a family heirloom!
- Fine cotton thread, single strand
- Less than 18 inches long
- Neutral or matching color
Try different brands and weights of thread.
Ask about favorite thread on the Inklingo Yahoo Group. It is amazing how much difference there is from one brand of thread to another.
Some teachers recommend polyester thread because it is less likely to shred than cotton thread when it drags against the edge of stiff paper templates. This is not a concern with a running stitch, so you can use fine cotton thread.
For English Paper Piecing, it is important to match the color of the thread to the fabric. Some quilters even change the thread color part way along a seam to help hide the stitches. If you sew with a running stitch instead of EPP (video), you can use a neutral color cotton thread because the stitches are hidden in the seam.
This photo from Jane Austen Patchwork Mystery shows how standards have changed over the years. When Jane Austen and her sister Cassandra were sewing their patchwork with their mother in the early 1800s, it was perfectly acceptable to have the stitches show on the front as long as they were even and regular.
THREADING THE NEEDLE
Best Tip Thread several needles onto the spool when your eyes are fresh and you have good lighting. Take them off the spool one at a time with a length of thread as you need them. It is nice to have the next needle ready no matter where you are sewing.
Lucy Boston made the Patchwork of the Crosses (POTC) in the late 1950s, when she was in her mid-sixties, but she was still sewing in her nineties. In her book, Diana Boston describes how children from the village would visit Lucy Boston at the Manor to thread several needles with white cotton for her.
We have some good tips for threading the needle, but it is even more appealing to employ the eager fingers of a willing child, don’t you think?
- If you cut the thread at angle, it makes threading the needle easier.
- Holding the needle against a white background helps you see the eye more clearly.
- Wet thread swells and is harder to inset through the eye. Flatten the thread between your fingers and lick the eye of the needle instead, if you must. Some say the moisture attracts the thread.
- Try turning the needle around. The eye is stamped, so it maybe easier to thread from the other side.
- You might find a needle threader useful.
- Try switching hands and move the needle toward the thread instead of the thread toward the needle. That helps some quilters.
- The eye on a #10 or #11 needle is bigger than the eye on a #12 and that could make it easier for you.
- Consider wearing reading glasses when you sew.
- Thread several needles when your eyes are fresh and when you have good lighting, so you always have the next needle ready in your sewing kit.
HOW TO MAKE A FINGER PINCUSHION (VIDEO)
The video is only 80 seconds and we think it will make you laugh.
Monkey is fine but Russ and I are both fighting the head cold that is going around.
Should you be printing an emergency kit now?
Rx: Lots of fluids, lots of Vitamin C, and lots of shapes printed and ready for a relaxing, easy running stitch.
Oh. And a roll of toilet paper for my nose, so I can flush those germs away.
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Linda & Monkey
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