Saturday, November 3, 2012

Needle in a Haystack

Being a self taught quilter, stitcher, knitter, appliquer and hooker, much of what I have learned has been by trial and error...and I assure you, mostly error.  

I promised myself that when I retired I would teach myself how to quilt...after all, how difficult could it be?  I have never had the desire to learn how to make my own clothes but I've always loved quilts and have approximately 20 vintage and antique ones that I collected from far and wide when I was travel teaching. 

Of course that number has continued to grow not only with more antique quilts that I just couldn't pass up but with ones that I've made as well.

Many of my antique ones are stored in my quilt cupboard in the living room.



You can also find quilts in crocks...



on doors...





on the dining room table...



 and on end tables...




in addition to many other places too numerous to mention.  

One thing is for sure and that is a quilt adds warmth and a sense of homeyness to any room.



While I was teaching myself how to quilt, I discovered that I also enjoyed hand stitching and fell in love with redwork embroidery.  I found that I could transfer my love of art to creating original designs on fabric and the transition was an easy one.  Many of these I have made available for you to enjoy via my First Friday Freebies which you can link to from my sidebar.

But I digress.

When I first started to stitch, I didn't have a clue as to what needles to use.  

Every time I ventured into a quilt or craft shop, there was always a new and different needle which of course might just be the magic one that would improve my stitching abilities.

My collection includes Clover chenille needles for wool-on-cotton applique...



DMC chenille needles...



and John James chenille needles.


  
There are embroidery needles...



applique needles...



large eye needles...



and all kinds of needles in cute little cases.



But which is the right one?  It was like searching for a needle in the haystack!



Just this past week while working on your December First Friday Freebie, the needle that I was using became bent and why I persisted on using it that way when I have so many to choose from is beyond me but I finally gave in and decided to peruse my needle stash.

I've had these needles for 3 or 4 years now and because I'm so predictable, I must confess that I remember buying them just because of the packaging.



They had me at the word "redwork".



As you can see, size 11 is missing and that is what I am using now.  

Why oh why did I wait so long?  

It took me about five stitches to get used to the length. Embroidery needles are substantially longer than the one I was using before and what a difference!

Heaven!  

These needles cut through the fabric like butter and they make stitching even more pleasurable, if that is possible.  

I guess there is a reason why they are called embroidery needles and that every needle has a specific use.  I'm sold on these Jeana Kimball ones!


  
Mr. Painted Quilt, Ollie and I went for a drive up the valley this morning to my no-so-local quilt shop, about 60 miles away.

I shopped...



and shopped...



and shopped...



and shopped...



and shopped...



and forty-five minutes later, I finally stopped!  Whew!



All the fabric was $6.49 a meter (39") or less...so I did well!



My Comfort & Joy and Wish quilts are on the way back to me from my friend and longarm quilter extraordinaire, Alice.  

I shared some sneak peeks of Comfort & Joy which you can see here and Alice also sent me a few sneak peeks of my Wish quilt that I'd like to share with you.








I can't wait till they arrive!  I'll show them to you as soon as I get the binding on.



Alice is semi-retired but told me that she would consider doing some longarm quilting for those who might be interested.  She lives near Ottawa, Ontario so shipping might be an issue to consider for those living outside Canada.  

If you would like to get in touch with Alice, just tell me so in your comment and I'll send you her contact information.  Please make sure that your email address is included in your comment or I'll have no way of contacting you.

Now I'm off to fold all that fabric I purchased today.  

Such a hard life, huh?  *wink*


57 comments:

Angie said...

Kaaren, can I just come and play at your house until maybe January 23??? ;D I have an ongoing love affair with your house and quilts and furbaby.

paulette said...

LOVED your post today...chalk full of eye candy!! Yum!
P

paulette said...

LOVED your post today...chalk full of eye candy!! Yum!
P

paulette said...

LOVED your post today...chalk full of eye candy!! Yum!
P

paulette said...

LOVED your post today...chalk full of eye candy!! Yum!
P

Jacqueline said...

Your quilts and how they are displayed are beautiful.. and thanks for sharing the info on the needles.. I had to laugh because I am the same way.

Lisa Lisa said...

Kaaren - I love the way you've made your home look so warm and inviting with all of the quilts. I hope to someday do that with the quilts I've made and will continue to make, but you just gave me a great idea with your glass-front cabinet because I have a few antique quilts that I would love to see on a daily basis but aren't necessarily in usable condition. Thanks for sharing :)

Kathryn said...

I've never seen quilts hung on the doors as you've shown today. That's just wonderful. I have a long way to go to match your needle collection. Glad you had a good shopping day.
Best wishes, Kathie L in Allentown

Lesley said...

I love the tour of your house and those gorgeous quilts that are displayed o well! Love that crock o' quilt! I laughed as I read and viewed your array of needles...because I have done the same thing! But I have yet to try the ones you recommended...so that will be my next try! Your quilt is stunning, and I am so jealous of your trip to Avonport! Your fabric treasures are wonderful! Loved reading this newsy post! !

Mimi said...

I had to smile when you were talking about your many quilts and where they all have found their home. From my favorite chair in the living room, I can count at least 20.....stacked in a cupboard (2 cupboards), on a ladder, on the back of a chair, on the wall and on the tables. We can never have too much of what we love.... except chocolate because it will make us fat!

Gail said...

Alice's quilting makes your beautiful embroidery sparkle. Really loved seeing your quilts and how you display them! Especially the back of the door--what a great idea!

Gail :)

Gail said...

Alice's quilting makes your beautiful embroidery sparkle. Really loved seeing your quilts and how you display them! Especially the back of the door--what a great idea!

Gail :)

Quilt Hollow said...

I'm back home and getting back to my client quilts this week. I enjoyed your photos and spying quilts from me.

celkalee said...

Your quilt displays are absolutely charming. A home should always be welcoming and warm, yours is certainly that! I feel like I could walk in and feel right at home in an instant, thank you as always for sharing.

Gayle said...

I too love Jeanna Kimball's line of needles, her straw needles for appliqué are the BEST! She's a local gal here in Utah and has made a big impact on the quilting world with her products and techniques!

Darlene D said...

Looks like you had a fun day! Interesting post about your needles. Where did you buy the Jeana Kimball ones? Your quilts look lovely around your home, especially like the idea of hanging them on a door. Have fun with your fabric, did you shop at Avonport? I heard they had a new shipment.

Nancy said...

All of the quilts are wonderful but I especially like the basket one used as a table topper. Love the shopping you did. All great fabrics.

Taryn said...

I love quilts in crocks...and jars and folded on shelves and tucked here and there. You are so right, they just warm the place up. I did some fabric shopping myself today and I we bought some of the same fabrics.

Allie said...

Had to laugh Kaaren, I too have quite the needle collection but usually use the bent one. Glad you found something you love. Your quilts look amazing - I can't wait to see them all finished!

Jackie said...

Funny...I'm the same way with bent needles, I usually just plow on using them.

Your home has look warm and inviting since the moment you moved in - this house was meant to be yours!

Carin said...

I love how you display your quilts !!

Sue said...

I love the way you display your quilts around the house. I agree how cosy it makes a home. Alice's quilting is lovely. It complements your beautiful work. I had a chuckle over your reason to buy the needles with the pretty packaging....I must admit, I'd do the same thing. lol Adding all those lovely fabrics to your stash is the only sensible thing to do when you travel almost 100kms. Anything else would be false economy.

Winona Thompson said...

Kaaren, looks like you got some fabulous fabrics. I can hardly wait to see your quilts. Thank you for telling us about the redwork/embroidery needles. I have been look for a better option. I have an order ready to go. Have a great day.

Sue said...

Well that was certainly a most delightful post! I love how you have your quilts displayed and agree wholeheartedly that they add such homeyness to any room. Just wonderful!!

Looks like you did well with your shopping. When you have to travel so far to a quilts shop, I can't blame you. My favorite one is just about that far too, so when I'm there, I do make sure I stock up on supplies and fabrics.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Sharon said...

Many of your picks already live in my sewing room. Your quilt looks great. Can't wait to see the whole piece.

Ruth K said...

I had emailed you, I do live in Canada in Ontario about 7 hours from Ottawa so of course I want to know Alice's address or a way to contact her. Than you very much Kaaren.Ruth K. rosiesaysathotmaildotcom.

Pam in IL said...

OH. MY. GOODNESS! You had me with the first pic, but then you went on and showed me more and more, but you didn't stop there. Nope, you showed me all those needles and I got dizzy! THEN you showed me all your shopping treasures and the quilted teasers from Alice and I'm about to burst!! How exciting to have such beautiful quilts surrounding you and more on their way back to you. I will have to try those wonderful needles you found. Thanks for sharing!

Katie said...

What wonderful ways to display quilts! :-)

Janet O. said...

I loved seeing how you have your quilts adding special touches around your home.
What a needle collection, woman! And you kept working with a bent one? *LOL* Aren't we funny creatures?
Oh, love how you shop...and shop...and shop...
The quilting looks wonderful on the "peeks" at your quilts. Can't wait to see it all!

Anne said...

I have those same needles and have never used them. Like you, I bought them because I liked the packaging. Must go look for them. I love the idea of putting quilts on the doors. Never thought of that. I bet we see those pictures on Pinterest!

ann said...

Kaaren
Did you do the rug in the one picture had a sheep in it?? Also I learn so much about embroidering and quilting Didn't know there were different needles I want to do applicate of wool you have helped me a lot Hope you are feeling good You are still in my prayers you and my daughter.

SueB said...

Well I have got to get some of those needles. I am trying to start a redwork pattern and cant find a needle that works for what I am trying to do. Love your house. It looks so inviting. The quilts on the doors are beautiful. I am going to have to try that. Hope all is well. I did miss a photo of Ollie and Frankie.

Elyte said...

You are so right about needles Kaaren, when you find the right one it just fits!
I had a favourite needle but then found a better one.
Nice long needles for fat fingers.
Have fun with your fabrics and looking forward to seeing the quilts.

Kris said...

What a wonderful post, Kaaren!!!I can't wait until you show your quilts once thet come back from Alice!! Oh, and I LOVE the way you decorate!!! And thanks for the tip on the needles from Jeana Kimball - I need to check them out - cute packaging and all!!

Siobhán said...

Beautiful post, Kaaren! I loved seeing all of your quilts, but also that redware plate on your table. Pottery is like a drug to me. I laughed at your needle comments. When I did the embroidery on one of my quilts, it took me a long while to figure out that the tapestry needles and quilting betweens that I have all over the house didn't work. Getting proper needles just sang through the fabric.

Enjoy your week!

Stephanie said...

I'm sure you're super exciting to get your quilts back. They'll be beauties for sure. I have yet to find the perfect needle for big stitch quilting...a shaft narrow enough not to leave big holes in the fabric but also an eye big enough to get the thicker thread through.

Denise in PA said...

Loved our quilt tour, Kaaren, thanks! I am laughing about your needles - I'm the same way!! I have no many different kinds and am usually stumped as to what to use - LOL! hey, if you're going to drive 60 minutes to a quilt shop, you really need to make it worth it! Looks like you did o:)

pinsandneedles said...

Love your home Kaaren! It feel so warm and inviting every time you show pictures! Wish I lived closer Ü
I love the hangers that you have your beautiful quilts hanging on the doors. Will you share where you got them?
Thanks also for the needle information. I am usually confused as to which needle to use.

Radka said...

Lovely post, Kaaren. I had to smile reading about your needle stash, because that is me all over!
I haven't though about hanging quilts on the door yet, thanks for the tip :-)
I look forward to seeing your new quilts,
xx

Karen said...

So glad to catch up today - your quilts displayed in your home are lovely. I like John James needles - so glad you found one that you like. And your shopping spree looks so fun!!

Karen said...

Kaaren -- thank you for sharing your home with us -- those quilts sure do make it feel like home.

Glad you found that Needle in A Haystack -- what a difference the right needle can make.

Love the stash additions too!
Karen

Karin på Ösäter said...

Oohh how I laugh when I read about your needles, I know exactly, I have a lots of needles but use only a few, time to get some more of the favorite sort so I want stand their with out.

Hugs Karin på Ösäter

http://karinpaosater.blogg.se/

Candace said...

I think I might have just as large a needle collection as you, Kaaren, but like you, I found my own go-to needle and now everything else is second rate! I might have to try these, though! The ones I love are Scarlet Today Embroidery size 8 - they look very similar to yours. Happy stitching!
Cheers!

Ali said...

I didn't know you could get so many different needles and how important they are! Thanks for sharing you beautiful quilts.
Ali x

Cyn said...

How beautiful I am a new follower.

Teresa F. said...

I love your house and your quilts. If I ever get a house ( I live in an apartment) it would be just like yours. Thank you for all the needle tips, we are constantly learning.
Great shopping! I wish I could buy some fabric too.
How is Ollie doing? Send him a hug from me.
Hugs,
Teresa

Scattered Threads said...

Love the fabric stash.
I am mostly self taught and self errored too. LOL. Don't believe that is a word.
I enjoyed reading your post, especially about all the needles. I've used the straw needles for applique and absolutely love them.
TFS and have a wonderful week.
Jackie

Cheyenne said...

Kaaren, it's my first time popping in here, and much like your home, with all the cozy quilts...your blog has a real homey feel to it! just love it!

Love Alice's quilting as well...it compliments your work beautifully! You are so gifted!

Merilyn said...

You did well on your shopping spree Kaaren! I like how you have decorated your home with quilts large and small, I guess walls are not the only places to show them off! I also love the Jeana Kimball needles, beautiful quality, it's so handy to have a variety of good quality needles. Look forward to seeing your new quilted beauties!!!!

Needled Mom said...

Yes, it is a rough life. There is so much for quilters/stitchers these days. I just loved seeing your use of quilts throughout your home.

DocSly said...

What a difference a needle can make. Wonderful post today. Enjoy your blog so much.

Sew Sisters Quilt Shop said...

Hi Kaaren. Great post! Love the Redwork quilt. I'm writing from Sew Sisters Quilt Shop. We're celebrating quilting/crafting bloggers in Canada this month with Blogathon Canada. Would be great if you would link up. More details here:
http://sewsisters.blogspot.ca/p/blogathon-canada.html
Thanks!
Carol

Verna G said...

You motivated me to take a look at my needles! I have suspected that I was not using the correct needle for embroidery. Now after looking at what I have, I am totaly confused. I have to admit that most of my needles are OLD- came in junk boxes from my Mother and Aunt. The two main companys seem to be Abel Morralls and Milwards, all made in England.They are labeled "sharps'. Some 3/7; some4/8 and some 5/10. Can you enlighten me any on these? How long should an embroidery needle be? Or should I just try out a few and see how I like them?

Loved the pictures of your house!

Verna

GerryART said...

Does this gal know how to shop, or what ! ! ! !
Good job, Kaaren

hugs

Brown Dirt Cottage said...

Loved your post, especially seeing all your quilts. I was most impressed with yours hanging on your doors. I had never thought about that as a display area, but I will now! How clever of you!

tink's mom said...

Wow, Comfort & Joy really is such an appropriate name for this quilt. Love what you did with the homespuns and wool. What, no puppy in the picture?

farmhousequilter8 said...

Kaaren, do you care to email me and tell me where I can purchase the hangers for quilts on the door?
Thanks Paula in KY