Thursday, January 05, 2012

Thread-u-cation Thursday: A Needle and Thread Refresher

Betty's Bloomers #21  11" x 11"
As you may have guessed, one of my favorite pastimes is adding hand embroidery to my fused art quilts. If you need a means to escape from your everyday woes, try hand stitchery. Your woes will fade away like a nasty rash after ointment is applied.

But like any treatment for woes, you must begin with the right tools. Here a quick refresher on the needles and threads for your hand stitching needs.

Embroidery Needles
Matching the correct embroidery needle with your embroidery thread makes stitching a pleasure. Here's a handy chart to help you pair your long eyed embroidery needle with pearl cotton thread.

Embroidery Threads
Pearl cotton thread is my choice for hand-dyeing as well as for hand embroidery. With a slight sheen, this thread has the strength to hold up well when repeatedly drawn through fabric as a single strand. It also comes in a variety of sizes: Sizes 3, 5, 8, and 12 being my favorites.

Couching a Size 3 thread with a Size 8 thread

Size 3 pearl cotton thread is very thick making it difficult to stitch through your typical quilting fabric. But lay it on the surface of that same fabric, couching it into place, and it yields bold line and texture. Use a Size 1 embroidery needle with the Size 3 thread.

Size 5 thread using a Blanket Stitch on wool.
Size 5 pearl cotton thread requires a size 3 embroidery needle. Size 5 thread is traditionally used as embellishment for crazy quilts. For fusers, stitching through 1 or 2 layers of fused fabric is about the max with this size thread. Couching is always an option with size 5 thread. And, like the thicker Size 3 thread, Size 5 will glide through wool and felt with ease.
Size 8 thread using a size 4 embroidery needle.
Size 8 pearl cotton thread is my go-to thread for embroidery on fused art quilts. It shows up well, stitches easily, and lends it's self readily to all those details you can't make with fabric. A size 4 embroidery needle is the perfect size for Size 8 thread although you can use a Size 3 needle as well.

Size 12 thread is for those of you with a delicate touch.
Size 12 pearl cotton thread makes a finer line when stitching. Using a Size 5 embroidery needle, this thin thread works great on small fused elements and quickly stitches through layers of fused fabric. When I really want to escape my woes, I load up Size 12 thread.

I hope this helps you with your stitching needs. May your woes recede just like that nasty rash.


krisgray said...

thank you! just what i needed to know as i do more embroidery.

Linda Kittmer said...

Beautiful work and great information! Thanks for sharing.


Marg said...

Thank you so much. I'm just starting to do embroidery, and that is exactly what I wanted to know.

WoolenSails said...

Great advice and needle selection.
I am always trying to find a needle that works and I would swear I bought all different types, lol.


Deb said...

Thanks for the great tips. I have some of your lovely threads and am glad to have a guide for needles, etc. I do enjoy adding handwork as you are right, it's very relaxing.

louise said...

Confusus said, "never match the thread size to the needle size". It's all too confusus so thanks for helpful info.

Frederique said...

Wow, great tutorial! Thanks for this embroidery lesson.

Sue said...

Beautiful! I have to try using perle cotton. I almost always use 6 strand floss. Thank you.

Connie Eyberg Originals said...

Great reference! Thank you. I can certainly use this info.

designfirm said...

Very pretty.Thanks for sharing....

iHanna said...

Great tutorial and knowledge sharing. When I know my favorite size of needle and thread I'll be so happy! :-) Right now, I just pick what ever and go go go!

zed said...

Thanks for that, I have one embroidery needle :)