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Needle and Batting questions

Needle and Batting questions

Old 05-11-2015, 08:39 AM
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Default Needle and Batting questions

The more things stay the same, the more they change

So, I'm doing my first quilt after 25 years, and I'm finding it not as I remember it. First of all, When did a size 10 between get so small?! Good grief, it gets lost in my now fatter fingers! And what about those eyes! I can't believe I could ever thread w/ ease. I'm going to move my Ott light w/ magnifier into the living room to assist, but is there such a thing as needles for the over-60-crowd?

Also, I purchased cotton batting from my local shop that has a busy long-arm quilting service. I've never used cotton batt, and the proprietor told me it was common here because southern winters don't require so much loft. But now I'm thinking maybe part of my difficulty is the needle drags on the batting and perhaps it is more suitable for machine quilting? Any thoughts?

You all are the best - a tip of my coffee cup to you!
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Old 05-11-2015, 09:13 AM
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John James has a large eye applique needle. http://www.joann.com/search?q=john%20james%20big%20eye

And check out the Hobbs website. http://www.hobbsbatting.com/our-products/ On the right side of the Products page, they have a comparison chart of all the batting types they make.

I don't work for Hobbs, but I like their Tuscany silk and wool batting.

Remember that natural fibers (cotton, silk, wool) "breathe" and all of them make good batts for lightweight quilts.
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Old 05-11-2015, 09:17 AM
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I can't help in recommendations for needle sizes, a 10 between is pretty darn small no matter how you look at it. I actually quilt with a size 11 which is downright miniscule! I find the Roxanne brand seem to be easier to thread.

As far as batting, I do find cotton very hard to needle, especially if it has a scrim on it like Warm and Natural brand. Very hard for me to get tiny consistent stitches with it. I have hand quilted quite successfully with poly bats and 80/20 blends. Some handquilters like the drag of cotton. Many rave over wool but I have yet to try it. Since getting my longarm I doubt any more hand quilted quilts are in my future.
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Old 05-11-2015, 10:38 AM
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Cotton tends to be more difficult to hand quilt. The two thinner Quilter's Dream cotton battings (needlepunched for stability, but not through scrim) are said to be pretty good for hand quilting. Avoid anything with scrim, such as Warm and Natural; the scrim adds an extra layer that you have to push your needle through on top of the stickiness of the cotton.

Especially for someone starting out after 25 years, I would consider using Hobbs 80/20 batting. It is 80% cotton but ***much*** easier to hand quilt than most 100% cotton battings. If you go to 100% polyester, I would test stitch before committing. I don't like the feel of the cleaper polyesters. Hobbs PolyDown has a very nice feel and drape, but it is so puffy I think it would be more difficult to hand quilt than Hobbs 80/20. Hobbs 80/20 has a nice degree of loft (much more loft than 100% cottons) but not so much as to make hand quilting difficult.
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Old 05-11-2015, 11:23 AM
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There are now easy to thread needles that have a notch in the top or on the side to just pop the thread through. You can probably buy them at a local quilt shop or at Joann's or Hobby Lobby. The ones I bought at HL have the notch on the side and I believe work better than the ones with the notch on the top.
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Old 05-11-2015, 11:29 AM
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Are you hand quilting?? I would prefer using Quilter's Dream cotton. Most quilters who quilt their own quilts, the majority choices are Warm & Natural or Hobbs.
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Old 05-11-2015, 11:32 AM
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Remember to cover the magnifier - or make sure that sun does not hit it - that can cause a fire
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Old 05-11-2015, 12:51 PM
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Cotton batting is harder to hand needle than polyester in my opinion.
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Old 05-12-2015, 05:44 AM
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It's much easier to hand quilt with poly or wool batting. The size 10 needles do seem small to me too so I would go to a 9 or even an 8. Make it comfortable for yourself.
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Old 05-13-2015, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by mckwilter View Post
John James has a large eye applique needle. http://www.joann.com/search?q=john%20james%20big%20eye

And check out the Hobbs website. http://www.hobbsbatting.com/our-products/ On the right side of the Products page, they have a comparison chart of all the batting types they make.

I don't work for Hobbs, but I like their Tuscany silk and wool batting.

Remember that natural fibers (cotton, silk, wool) "breathe" and all of them make good batts for lightweight quilts.
I have to agree with both the needle and the wool batting suggestions. Wool batting is like quilting through butter!! I use either Hobbs brand or the wool batting from Quilters Dream.

I also sleep under my favorite wool batted quilt almost all year in Virginia; it woks in the winter and in the summer under air conditioning.

Jan in VA
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