March 12, 2010

Needleturn with Daphne: TOOLS OF THE TRADE

Posted in People of Satin Moon, Techniques and Materials tagged , at 5:38 am by satinmoon

Exquisite applique begins with good tools and practice .

Really. Just like that .

Good   light , portable and adjustable  sets the stage to success.

Gold Eye needles are the hands down favourite .

Black gold needles are the newest available.

Reportedly “the needle is 30% less friction-resistant than conventional hand-sewing needles due to its  polishing   and ultra-thin black plating for anti-rust resistance and   astonishing smoothness .”

Gold Eye Clover is one of Daphne’s favourites.

She recommends a size 9 or 10 to begin.

Her very favourite is size 11, Gold N Glide  John James .

An equal number of quilters, like teacher Susan Mc, Myrna and Nancy

prefer the length and flexibility of straw needles.

YLI 100 wt silk thread is the #1 choice.

It does not tangle easily and just melts into the fabric

It comes in an amaziong array of colours, special collection , variageted and sparkle.

But Daphne assured us you really only need a pale grey , gently minty colour 224,

and black if you are working on a black background.

Many are in stock and all can be special  ordered .

Critical are scissor with a super sharp point

so you know EXACTLY where the cutting action ends,  you don’t want to  cut a stitch.

Daphne recommends you identify  them and only use them for applique .

Nancy recommends the Clover  – serrated  4″ blade because the

serrated edges on these scissors grab silk and cotton fabric

and won’t allow it to slip away when cutting.

Designer Shania  Sunga find theses Fiskars are best for long fine shapes of feathers and fur .

Teacher   and  designer Susan Teece finds these reverse action scissors necessary

for preventing hand fatigue  when snipping  curves .

Heirloom Stitches bias press bars where a big hit.

I did make  perfect stems and vines , that  curved smoothly and lay flat.
The 14″ long bars are  flexible, heat-resistant nylon with a great taped end for easy intsertion.

Because they are nylon they do not get hot.

Daphne noted the added benefit that they are easy to store ,

and take along in a zip lock bag!

We debated freezer paper. Is  lighter or heavier, sticker or easier release better?

To begin, Reynolds is easily available and can be laminated together for a thicker template .

I prefer the quilters quality .

Heirloom Stitches also makes top quality, heat resistant  template plastic.

It is perfect for lazar printers too!

Gridded plastic and

thicker clear template plastics also work

as long as you do not use an iron on them!

On all , use a quick dry , permanent marker to mark your templates.

Clover pencils  or

Water soluble pen are the choices for marking the top of your fabric applique shapes.

Dritz  pins were small , easy to handle and the sharpest of all we sampled .A new hit with Daphne,

They were definitely the class favourite for pinning shapes onto the background .

Though Daphne prefers pins, some of us like a little help from Roxanne.

Ready to try.found  some great tutorials...

concave curves


But I am so glad I had Daphne helping me!



  1. Kelly Aley said,

    What is the pattern that you featured on your blog? I love the bright colors and their contrast with the background fabric.

    • satinmoon said,

      Kelly, I think that the one you love is by Canadian Aie Rossman from Calgary Alberta . Her book Affairs of the Heart: Applique Masterpiece is what you want.Aie used to have a website but it no longer seems to be working.

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