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Thread: Big Stitch Hand Quilting- how many strands of embroidery thread do I use?

  1. #1
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    Big Stitch Hand Quilting- how many strands of embroidery thread do I use?

    This is a great site, I am new here & maybe this question has been addressed, if so, please tell me how you searched to find the info.

    Big stitch quiltng is a new concept to me, after all those years trying so hard to get those little bitty stitches, here comes another technique. I have not picked up a needle to quilt in over 20 years & boy was I shocked, my eyesight has gotten really bad, could not thread the needle quickly, stitches were lop sided & just plain ugly.

    Searching on the net led me to this thing called Big Stitch quilting..eureka, or so I thought. Bought some embroidery perle cotton in a lovely creme color & a size 5 embroidery needle & to make this long story short, I need help!!!!

    First off, I just cut off a long piece of thread & tried to thread the needle with the whole strand....would not thread through the needle. Do I need to seperate the strands of thread? If so, how many strands do I use to quilt with? How do I seperate all those threads without having a rat's nest? Do I need a different needle?

    Your help will be greatly appreciated....am anxious to get started hand quilting before it gets too hot here in Tx. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    ​If you are using the little ball of #8 perle cotton for Redwork, I use a # 8 John James needle and a needle threader.

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    I bought the skeins, which I think another quilter mentioned to get the balls instead. I shall try the ball of perle cotton & see if I have a #8 John James needle... thanks.

  4. #4
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    Depends on how you want it to look . I have some perle cotton in my "practice" basket but not sure what size it is; if you cut off 18-20", it's easy to separate into 4 strands, and 1 strand is plenty fat enough for big stitch work -- about the size of a heavyish crochet thread. I also have some 12wt cotton sewing thread, which could also be used for big stitch with a somewhat lighter, crisper finish; it's about the weight of 2 strands of embroidery floss. Any of those will work fine in a size 7 embroidery needle. I have a slimmer embroidery needle that they also work in, probably an 8 or a 9, nice big eye for threading.

  5. #5
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    You don't say what weight perle cotton you bought. That would determine the needle size you should use.

    Perle cotton comes in four sizes...#3, #5, #8 and #12 (the lower the number, the thicker the thread). It is a non-divisible thread (they are plies, not strands, and are not meant to be separated).
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  6. #6
    Member Esmerelde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostrider View Post
    It is a non-divisible thread (they are plies, not strands, and are not meant to be separated).
    I also didn't think you were supposed to be able to separate perle thread. I would buy a bigger needle/one with a bigger eye. Embroidery needles are meant to be used with embroidery floss, which you do (tend to) separate.

  7. #7
    Super Member KalamaQuilts's Avatar
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    I used a #8 quilting needle and #8 DMC ball embroidery. It came out kind of cool, but what drove me crazy was trying to hide the starts and stops. So I never did it again

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    Jeez....I am a dummy- bought the size #5 perle cotton skein & was trying to unravel the thing...no wonder I was having a terrible mess!! I was just about to give up on this big stitch quilting thing & decided to ask for help.

    Thanks everyone for you wonderful replies. I shall go hide underneath a rock now & work with my little ball of cotton thread that says size 8 DMC. I bought several different threads since I did not really know which to use. Now to find the right needle, only problem is I have a BUNCH of needles in a plastic baggie & most have fallen out of their little papers & now it is just pot luck as to what size they are....another boondoggle for me to overcome. Will I ever get it together??? Yes, I should have labeled an RX bottle with the size & whatnot or just stuffed the little paper & all in there, but years ago I was young & thought I would remember everything. Besides who knew those little buggers would fall out of their nest? Naughty naughty. I have no clue who belongs where. Anyway, I am tempted to just go out & buy what you all suggest & start brand new with labeling & such. Anyone care for some needles of unknown origin? Please tell me that after about 20 years those needles are now dull & need to be discarded...that way I won't feel so bad about this whole thing.

  9. #9
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    Another stupid question...noticed that you suggested #8 perle cotton with a #8 John James needle...is this a concidence or is there some logic to this?

    Quilters, this needle & thread thing is getting more complicated (but fun) with each new post...everyone has a variation of what goes with what. I am taking notes for future reference to what you all are using. It will be neat to try something different with each project. Thanks so much for sharing.

  10. #10
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    You can use any needle you want, as long as it doesn't shred the thread or leave holes in your fabric .

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