Lucy Boston--Patchwork of the Crosses, quilts

I love circles but after awhile the silk thread that I use to applique drives me nuts!!  It is so thin my needle keeps coming unthreaded causing me to stop and rethread the needle – any suggestions that you all use?  I could switch to my thin Gutermann which is a little thicker but then I have to keep switching colors more than I do with the silk which I mainly just switch between 3 colors a gray, copper and white.  They seem to blend in well.

I got one border done yesterday and today I hope to attach the white sashing on one end and then attach that side to the quilt and we will see how it looks!  I never got around to it yesterday as after our brief spell of winter weather it turned nice and sunny yesterday and up to 55 at least – we were back outside in the afternoon working on the brush and wood that we had gotten started on Saturday.



Patchwork of the Crosses is coming along too – I continue to try to work on it almost every evening.


Turtles from a couple days ago at the trails – they were sunning themselves – this was when it was close to 70 degrees.


This I took yesterday from my phone and it is a little out of focus but I noticed when I was walking over to the area we were working on our firewood at that we have little leaf buds even though we had snow on Sunday and it got down to about 26 degrees!  So nice to see these they are so very welcome it will be green before you know it!!


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19 comments… add one
  • hannele Mar 18, 2014

    Check out this link:
    It should help with threading your needle with silk thread – I haven’t tried it but it does make sense. I love the circles you added to the border!

  • Celia Mar 18, 2014

    Karen, love your border with the circles and tiny buttons! I use silk thread all the time and knot the thread onto the needle eye. You only need a tiny knot and as the silk is so fine, it glides easily through the fabric and doesn’t slip out of the needle eye. Hope this helps.
    Celia in England

  • Thimbleanna Mar 18, 2014

    Your circles are looking wonderful. I feel your pain about the needle unthreading. I love to use silk thread for applique too, but that unthreading drives me nuts!

  • Kathleen C Mar 18, 2014

    I also love silk thread for applique because it’s so fine and I need so few colors. Mine doesn’t come unthreaded often, but my problem is that it breaks or shreds while I’m sewing. Could the thin, sharp eye of the needle be cutting the thread? Yesterday I also switched to Guterman, but like you, it means having more colors on hand. I’ll check out ‘hannele’ link to the video (above).

  • Nedra Mar 18, 2014

    I like to use Bottom Line by Superior Threads for hand applique. It’s a poly, but works well. They also have a Kimono Silk, which has been quite popular too. Sometimes I even use a cotton Masterpiece. But, I don’t applique as much anymore :)

  • kaholly Mar 18, 2014

    Love that border you are working on!!

  • Elaine Mar 18, 2014

    I love silk for appliqué, I tie a very small quilter’s knot at the eye, it stops the silk slipping out.

  • Charlotte Mar 18, 2014

    I hate having my needles come unthreaded! And what makes it worse? Trying to thread the needle in the end with no eye! Happens a lot :)

  • Kathy ... aka Nana Mar 18, 2014

    When I took a needle-turn applique class a couple of years ago, the only thing that stuck with me was how to “lock” the needle on the silk thread. After threading the needle, pull the thread through so there’s a tail of about 3-4″. Take that tail end and thread it back through the eye of the needle so that you have a loop. Pass the needle through the loop and pull tight. You should be able to end up with a threaded needle with a tail of ~2-3″ and your needle shouldn’t unthread.

  • Rebecca Grace Mar 18, 2014

    I’ve heard both Celia’s and Kathy/Nana’s tips for silk thread before. I only used silk thread once, for a multicolor fabric that I couldn’t match well enough, and the constant unthreading was driving me nuts. I had to switch back to cotton thread because my kids were starting to repeat the profanity that shot out of my mouth every time the needle came unthreaded!

  • Coffee and Crumpets Mar 18, 2014

    Hi Karen, thank you for stopping by my site and sharing your story. I really appreciate and your story gives me strength and the knowledge that I am not alone. I also think your quilts are just beautiful! I used to do a lot of crafts and sewing but the repetition of the motions just was too much for my joints. I don’t do much sewing now.

  • Sandy (aka Stitches) Mar 18, 2014

    Watch the YouTube video that Hannele that shows a good way to make a knot at the eye of the needle. I knot mine at the eye end but do it a differently and I don’t think I can explain it here. But I did find another method on the Quilt Show and here it is:
    (Here is another way to keep your needle threaded when using silk thread. I found this in “Perfect Hand Applique” by Liuxin Newman. Thread your needle and knot the far end as usual. Hold the short end of the thread (about 1-2 inches) between the thumb and index fingers of your non-sewing hand. Pierce the thread with the needle tip about 1 inch from the end. Let the short end of the thread make a half loop and pierce the thread again with the needle. Make another half loop and pierce again. You should now have what looks like an ‘S’ or squiggle of thread on the needle. Gently slide the loops of thread down the needle, over the eye and on to the long piece of the thread. Gently pull the long end of the thread to position the loops at the eye of the needle. No way will this slip off or hang in the finest fabric). I haven’t tried this method but it sounds like it would work pretty good too. Good luck and let us know how you do…

  • CJ Mar 18, 2014

    The border looks wonderful! I have silk thread but have yet to use it (I bought it for that appliqué I keep swearing I’m going to do) so I can’t offer any tips.

    Sure is windy today, but beautiful out!

  • Glenda Australia Mar 18, 2014

    Karen your border looks great, I also love circles of any size and use them a lot in my quilts. Luikin’s method works but is fiddly to do each time but it gets quicker with time, try the knot first, I have used it but I don’t like the feel of that little tug on my silk fabrics so I put up with my thread coming out now and then, I must admit it does not come out as much as it used to, I use number 11 long milliners needle and the eye is very small. Lovely to see spring is coming for you the first buds always give one such joy. Cheers Glenda

  • Glenda Australia Mar 18, 2014

    I forgot to say that Luikin’s book is well worth having in your library, she shares so many tips on getting those fine points and beautiful finish to appliqué I bought my book when I first started working with silks and I have bless her help so much over the years. Her appliqué has to be seen to believe she works with such tiny tiny pieces of fabric. Cheers Glenda

  • Deana Mar 19, 2014

    My goodness! Your hand quilting is beautiful! I have not done that in awhile. Also, your border is gorgeous! I am going to link to it for future reference.

  • Mary L Mar 19, 2014

    Have been on vacation and not catching all your posts. I LOVE the border you are using on the Granny Square quilt.

  • Esther Aliu Mar 20, 2014

    Oh yes I know what you mean about those circles! At least yours are nice and large, and they’re looking great too

  • Debra Mar 22, 2014

    I use YLI silk thread and I double knot it. It is easy and still glides through the fabric.

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