Sunday, October 05, 2014

Slow Sunday Stitching - Big Stitch

"Big stitching" is continuing on my block sampler quilt. Although I have been hand quilting for years, the "big stitch technique" is a whole new world for me. These are the differences I have noticed so far:

1) Type of Thread
I am using a "new to me" 12 wt. Aurifil thread which was given to me by Deanna. It happened to be the perfect colour for this project. I use the 50 wt. Aurifil everyday for piecing and machine quilting, but have never used a 12. wt thread for hand stitching before. It's like sewing through butter!
A couple of years ago I tried hand stitching with perle cotton, but found it difficult on my hands (read about it here). It might have been the batting or needle I was using on that project that made it harder to pull through, but I am amazed at how easily this 12 wt. Aurifil thread pulls through, and how well the stitches show up. ( Also, I am using Quilter's Dream Cotton batting this time and perhaps that makes a big difference as well?)

2) Thread Colour
In the past I have usually quilted with neutral threads and hoped the stitches would melt into the quilt, or sink into the seams. But I always loved Julie's projects with contrasting threads. Look at her black threads on light fabrics here, and brown threads on neutrals here
Julie's Scrappy Quilt
I even have my very own "Julie original" that lives on top of one of my sewing machines. This is one of her amazing scrappy quilts which she hand quilted using pink threads. The pink threads adds such character and texture to the quilt.




With the quilt I am working on now, I am channeling Julie's bright and bold approach and using red quilting thread.
Blue thread in sashing

I thought I would use blue thread on the blue sashing and I quilted one block. 
It was a struggle to quilt (very hard on my eyes) and when it was done, it was invisible! I couldn't see any of those stitches on the quilt, and now I think it was a waste of time! 

Red thread in sashing
Then I tried the red thread, and although it's not a great contrast, I can see the stitches and that makes me happier.
I think I'll pull out those blue stitches and put more red ones in!



3) Stitch Length

For years I have been trying to get my stitches to be smaller. Now I am trying to get my stitches to be bigger... life is funny that way!
Today I am going to focus on breathing and relaxing, and being in the moment, no matter what the size of my stitches are!!
I would love to hear any ideas or experiences you've had with big stitching. And I am looking forward to seeing what you are hand stitching today, and hope you will link up your blog post below.






25 comments:

Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow said...

Leave the blue in...just add some red! Don't make life so hard, lol!

This looks so pretty. Such perfect, even stitches ! :)

I have not big-stitched before or yet, but I do recall quilting brown thread on the brown fabric in my snowball quilt and feeling as if what I was doing was useless as I could hardly see it.

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

I had used #8 pearle cotton thread for big stitch, not as thick as #12 in that brand.

Jill said...

Love big stitching. When I did a baby quilt with big stitches, I used no. 8 pearle cotton and focused on stitches being even & consistent and did not concern myself with the size of the stitch. I used Billie Lauder's method. A quality batting does make a difference.

Chantal said...

Not being close to the city, I did have a chance to try many different threads. I usually end up with Guttermanns or Mettler because I can find them in the local little shops. I have to try this Aurifil everyone is talking about and falling in love with. But I did try Quilter's Dreams Cotton and it is the best. I can't stand poly...(??)... whatever its name is. I did that mistake only once.LOL. And Quilter's Dream Green is also a charm to work with. Enjoy your slow stitching Kathy.

The Cozy Quilter said...

so nice to see the stitches on your quilt! Have a wonderful stitchy time today!

Denise :) said...

Yes! The batting makes a huge difference when hand quilting! Glad you're having an easier time of it this go'round -- your quilting is gorgeous! :)

Karen said...

I have big stitched but not in a very long time. I used #8 perle cotton and did find it harder to work with. Some of the problem may have been my needle. I had shared with a quilting instructor that I had trouble getting my stitches even. She said she used a doll making needle to do Big Stitch. She said she had the same problem until she tried the doll making needle. Wore my hand out as I had to use it in a different hand position but I did get more even stitches. I don't think I would do it that way again. I need to try the Aurafil 12 wt. and see what happens.

Ellen said...

Happy to be joining in with you today!

Deanna W said...

Glad you are using the thread Kathy. I am using the same thread but in blue to do some embroidery work that will be part of a quilt in the near(I hope) future!! I have never big stitched a quilt maybe that is something I will have to try. Enjoy your day!!

Your Northern Blog Stalker
(haven't used my stalker name for awhile, better or I will lose it)

Teresa in Music City said...

I love Big Stitching! It really dresses up a project. And the red in your blocks is perfect :)

Sue G Johnson said...

Loving your big stitching! The red looks great. If the blue bugs you, take it out....it will bug you forever otherwise! lol I mark out where my stitches are going to go and how long each stitch is if I am stitching in the ditch or doing straight lines diagonally across a quilt. (I do them a lot of the time either 1/4 in or 1/2 inch) and that makes me happy. Your stitches look great. I sometimes get frustrated when my small stitches are not perfectly even, but then I remind myself (sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't) that the only way it's going to be perfect is if it is made by a machine!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I love the look of the big stitch. I have used Pearl Cotton #8 and even different types of floss. Batting type does make a huge difference in needling.

Christine Feldstein said...

What you say about the stitches is funny! I learnt handquilting 2O years ago, and at that time the most beautiful quilting was supposed to be the most tiny possible. I quilted this way for years. So recently when I wanted to make sashiko embroidery I had difficulties to make big stitches!

CathieJ said...

I love that large stitching. It is looking great. I agree that you need to use the red thread on that blue fabric. So much better.

Cathy said...

I really like the big stitch quilting look. And it feels so good to be getting back to hand work again.

Nita said...

I tried it on a child's donation quilt that I made. I used contrasting perle. I thought it looked like basting when I was finished. After doing the entire quilt, I left it as is, but am not sure if I will do it again, although I do love the look in pictures on blogs. Maybe my stitches were simply too big. How many do you do to the inch? I think I was probaby doing two or three. Maybe 4 or 6 would be better?

Julierose said...

I've done big stitching on two big quilts and I used perle cotton--won't do that again! Waaay too hard on my hands. But I like your red contrasting thread a whole lot. If you are gonna big stitch I feel it should show up! hugs, Julierose

Diane Kelsey said...

The quilting looks great in a contrast colour. The thread is now on my shopping list, hopefully I will be able to get some at the Knitting and Stitching show in London this week.

Design Originals by KC said...

Doing some big stitch quilting with Perle cotton instead of your Aurifil... lol! My hands are sore though ! Keep up all your great artwork :) Kathi

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

I tried pearl cotton to stitch spider webs once, but, it was horrible. I'll never do that again. I switched to my normal, hand quilting thread, and the spiderwebs were easy and look nice. Oh well.

Angie said...

I have yet to try big stitch quilting, but I'm definitely ready to give it a try. Thanks for the tip about using Aurifil #12 - I love Aurifil thread, so that's a perfect excuse to try a new weight!

Kitten said...

Your big stitches look like my best stitches...LOVE what you're doing!
Debbie
===^..^===

Kate said...

It's been a long time since I did any hand stitching. Those red stitches look great.

Janet O. said...

I love the flashy red big stitch. Like you, I spent a lot of time getting tiny stitches. Now it is hard for me to make the same motion and keep consistently even big stitches, but I love the look!

margaret said...

Interesting reading about your hand quilting. I used finca perle 16 which is slightly finer than the 12 and it worked well, had eco friendly wadding and that was a delight to hand quilt. I have another quilt I was gong to try machine quilt but Heidi the bernina is playing up so will do it by hand, was going to use a variety of colours depending on the colour of the block but after reading that you are using all red I think I will work with one colour too, will make life much easier! Also plan to do bigger stitches as they will show better and will be much quicker to do.