9 October 2017

Needles and Thread....and what goes with what

I've been meaning to write this blog post for an age... today is the day!  As you all know my absolute favourite thread to sew with is Aurifil thread....12wt, 40wt, 50wt, 80wt and Lana Wool.....I love it all!  However, one of the most frequent questions I am asked is 'which needle to use with which thread when I'm hand sewing'?

Over the years I've tried many different needles and I think you only realise the difference it makes to your work is when you actually do find that perfect needle.  Back in late Spring, I decided to order in a whole load of needles by Clover, the Japanese company who make many of my favourite sewing tools, the ones that I use time and time again ......  my Hera Marker, my teeny Applique Pins, my 1/4" Bias Maker to name but a few.  Since then, I've quietly been trying them out on my sewing projects over the summer and guess what.....  I finally had that eureka moment and I can happily say that I now have my go to favourites.

First up, what needle is best with Aurifil 12wt?

Personally I like a firm needle that isn't to bendy and for 12wt, it needs to have a decent size eye..... who knew 10 years ago I would even consider that to be important factor!  My needle of choice for these reasons is now a Clover Gold Eye Embroidery needle.  They come in packet of 16 needles ranging in length from 34.9mm through to 44.5mm.  I find that I naturally have a larger stitch when I'm quilting with 12 wt and so I like to have a slightly longer needle, so that I can get two or three stitches on my needle in one go.  They glide through the fabric and wadding sandwich with ease, have just the right amount of tension and are super sharp....yes....definitely sharp!

On my Advent Calendar, I used this combination of needle and 12 wt cotton thread for the hand quilting and also the embroidery......

and again on the bonus Quilt Label I included with the last month of the 'A Little Happy Year' Block of the Month......
For the hand quilting on The Potager Medallion quilt and the Popsy Doodle Dandy quilt (more about that soon!)

I also have been using them with the Aurifil Lana Wool 12wt for my Little House Pincushion.  (Another Little Happy Tutorial for which is coming soon!  Exciting hey!)

Should you prefer an even longer needle, the Clover Gold Eye Milliners needles are a fabulous alternative and have all the same advantages, but a slightly smaller eye, but big enough to get 12 wt through, no problem.

What needle is best with Aurifil 40wt, 50wt or 80wt?

For finer threads, such as the Aurifil 40wt, 50wt and 80wt my needles of choice have for a long time been Clover Black Gold needles.  If I'm totally honest, sometimes a rogue needle makes it's way in to my pin cushion and I use it.. and wonder why my stitches are not so neat.  The moment I switch back to my Black Gold's it is so noticeable.  I still remember the very first time I used them, I phoned mum up to tell her how fabulous they were!!! They seem to glide effortlessly through the fabric...possibly due the polished axis.  They are very fine, but extremely strong and and do not bend easily.  You can choose from Quilting Needles (be warned some of these needles are very short!) or Appliques/Sharps.  My personal favourite are the Applique/Sharps.  They come in a mixed size pack, but because I prefer a longer needle I use size 9's or 10's.  (Did you know the lower the hand needle size number, the longer the needle.) The only downside to these needles that I can think of, is that the eye is small....but I would imagine that you'll only be using 40wt, 50wt or 80wt thread with them and you can always use a needle threader if push comes to shove.  Just for the record, I have squeezed 12wt in before... obviously that was before I needed varifocals!

Over the summer, I've used them on various projects including those below.

I've used a combination of both 50wt and 80wt thread with the Applique/Sharps needles on this recent applique project (I'll be sharing this later this month as part of the La Conner Bog Tour).  
I've also been using them for all my English Paper Piecing and I've seen an improvement in the size of my stitches.  Just to say, I personally use 50wt for my EPP as I tend to pull my thread quite hard and I love the balance of fineness combined with strength that this thread gives me.  I know however from talking with some of you that you have had fabulous results with 80wt and almost invisible stitches!
Finally, I used them again with 50wt to hand applique the numbers on the Advent Calendar and to sew down the binding...

Scrummy Supplies

You can find all our pins & needles (and thimbles...an essential when quilting!) and our wonderful selection of Aurifil thread in Haberdashery Section on the website HERE

If you would like to read about my other favourite Quilting Tools and Notions, take a peek HERE.  Did you also notice the lovely appliqued Tilda Pincushion and Bonnie and Camille Pincushion...these were gifted to me by two of our lovely customers/friends..... you know who you are.....thank you so much I LOVE them very much!!!!

I hope that you have found this post helpful.  

Happy Stitches!

1 comment

  1. Thanks for this sarah x I've been struggling to find the right needles for my Perle 8 quilting, somill gove your recommendations a go. I love aurifil 80wt for EPP, but find the thread snaps quite easily - you say you tug your thread quite hard, so do you have any tips for avoiding the thread breaking?


Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment, it really does make my day! If you have a question, please do ask away and I will do my very best to answer. Sarah xo

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