Hello! It's so nice to see you again. I hope you are having a great week and are making time to work on your quilt projects. Notice I said "making time" instead of "finding time"? That's because you and I know that finding time for our hobbies and projects just doesn't normally happen. I promise that if you will be committed to setting aside time each week to work on your quilt projects, then you'll happily see measurable progress plus growth in your quilting skills!
Speaking of skill growth, I am reminded that when I began quilting, I knew very little about this week's topic on how to choose the right needle and thread for piecing my quilts by machine. I mean it's just needle and thread, right? So, what's all the fuss about? It's amazing how a little knowledge can open doors to being more successful at life's endeavors. Benjamin Franklin said, "An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest."
If you haven't had an opportunity to read last week's post "Begin Quilting: How to Decide on the Right Size Quilt to Make," then use the highlighted link to hop on over and discover some very useful information on how to decide on which quilt size is right for your project. Now, let's discover a little more knowledge about needle and thread in order to make an investment in our quilting skills.
A Few Points to Ponder about Needles
Anatomy of a Sewing Machine Needle
Sewing machine needles are specifically designed for use in domestic and industrial machines and come in several different types depending on the fiber or thickness of materials that are to be sewn. Below is a diagram of a sewing machine needle with all the parts labeled. On closer inspection, you'll see there's definitely more to a needle than meets the "eye" (sorry, I couldn't resist).
Machine needles come packaged by type and contain either all the same size or mixed sizes. When searching for needle types, be sure to check the package label for needles marked especially for quilting. Quilting needles are slim, tapered, and have a slightly rounded tip.
Quilting needles range in these sizes.
An amazing and interesting blog on sewing machine needles is found on SCHMETZ's website. Their article, "All About Needles" is loaded with information and charts about needle size, design, and even how they are engineered! Click on the highlighted text to visit their site.
Tips About Thread
Needle and thread go together like peanut butter and jelly and work best when they are properly paired. Let me say here that the quality of the thread you choose is important.
Good quality thread is a worthwhile investment for your quilting projects. Think of all the time, effort, blood, sweat, and tears (you get the picture) that goes into a quilt. It is worth a little extra expense to have long-lasting durability for your quilt projects. I always try to purchase thread when it is on sale because it's a great opportunity to stock up, especially on neutral colors.
The thread weight you choose will depend on whether you are piecing quilt blocks together, machine quilting the layers of a quilt sandwich, or hand quilting.
Here are a few great web resources for further research on thread weights and types:
No doubt there are tons of information on the web and in print about needles and thread. I've only touched on some of that information to help you to begin quilting. Hopefully, you now have more answers to help your quilting projects come together more smoothly.
Thank you so much for reading; please let me know if I can be of any help along your quilting journey. Best wishes!
I often have people ask me about how to decide on the right quilt size for their needs. The truth is, people can use quilts for many different purposes, not just to cover a bed. A quilt size can range from doll quilts to California King sized quilts and every size in between. And, while a bed cover is a legitimate purpose for a quilt, there can be so many more varied reasons for different quilt sizes.
Of course, bed quilts are designed to fit a specific mattress size and can vary quite a bit depending on how far you want the quilt to drop over the sides. Even a baby quilt can vary in size depending on whether or not it will be used for a crib quilt, a floor quilt for baby to lie on, or even a cozy car seat quilt. As you can see, the options are almost as endless as the imagination!
The purpose of my blog is to reach out to new or beginning quilters. Please don't feel confused or overwhelmed... I'm here to cheer you on and provide information that will help you succeed! My goal is to make all of this information easy on the brain. I promise to divide all of this information down into a clear and enjoyable experience. Ready? Read on!
First, decide on the purpose for your quilt:
Will it cover the back of the couch, drape over a bed, hang on the wall, or be given as a baby gift, etc.? Once you decide how your quilt will be used, then you can decide on what size it should be.
Second, let's talk about size:
I can say with certainty that if you do an internet search on standard quilt sizes, you will get a variety of measurements. That's OK because there is some very useful information out there. Just remember that in the end, it's your quilt, and you get to decide the size that fits your needs. Having said that, let's talk about some general guidelines that will help you in successfully choosing the right size quilt.
Interestingly, one of the most popular requests for quilts sizes I receive is for "lap" quilts or "throw" size quilts. Lap quilts serve many different purposes. This size is perfect for folding over the back of a couch for those Sunday afternoon naps or snuggling up with during movie nights. Lap quilts are generally perfect for one person at a time. Lap quilts also make wonderful gifts, such as memory quilts. Please keep in mind that a lap quilt can vary in size by several inches depending on preference.
*Standard Mattress Sizes:
The chart below shows six standard mattress sizes; however, please keep in mind that sizes may vary by manufacturer.
The graphic below shows how to measure for three finished sizes: Coverlet, Comforter, and Bedspread. A coverlet is measured just below the mattress, a comforter is measured just below the box spring, and a bedspread is measured to the floor.
A note about measuring: If possible, measure the bed with the sheets or other bedding that will be used along with the quilt.
A note about length: If you plan to have the quilt run the length of the bed from head to foot, you may want to add the desired length for the drop at the foot of the bed as well as 10" -12" for the pillow tuck. The quilt below was made with extra length for a foot drop and a pillow tuck.
One more important note: You may want to add a few inches to the width and length of your quilt in order to accommodate for shrinkage due to batting loft, machine quilting, and washing. There are some variables here, and I have read that anywhere from 2" to 6" extra is appropriate.
Finally, let's do the math... you've got this!
Here is an easy formula to determine the quilt size that is just right for a particular bed:
Well, there you have some basics of the what, why, and how of deciding on the right quilt size for your needs! To be sure, there is technical information that I didn't include here, but my purpose was to encourage you as a beginning quilter and give information that will get you started. I hope you will have many happy quilting days ahead. Please let me know if I can help in any way as you go along your quilting journey.