A Boost from a Friend!

Wanda of ExuberantColor.com

For I Have A Notion™! from Wanda of ExuberantColor.com. Wanda is a friend both online and in real life, and she is also a quilter. No surprise there I’m sure.

Meet Wanda

You may already know Wanda through her blog ExuberantColor.com, or her Colorwash 360 class and quilts. For the record Wanda blogs daily. Mostly about quilting, but she includes some birds, critters, food, plants, friends, and family are thrown into the mix too. However, most days it is about quilting. What she is working on, how she does it, sometimes her inspiration, and always fabric and color! I drop by nearly every day to see what she is working on.

Wanda of ExuberantColor.com at the opening of her one-woman show at the  Ciel Gallery in Charlotte NC
Wanda Hanson at the opening of her one-woman show at the  Ciel Gallery in Charlotte NC
Wanda of ExuberantColor.com teaching her Colorwash360 class
Wanda teaching her Colorwash360 class.

Recently, one of us posted a comment to the other, (I can’t remember which one), about the Richard Hemmings #10 Milliners needles and how it is our favorite needle for hand stitching down quilt bindings. I also know some hand stitchers that prefer this needle for ‘needle turn applique’ as well. Anyway, we also continued with a discussion about some other things we like for particular sewing tasks that are more difficult to find.

Richard Hemmings #10 Milliners Needles

Wanda mentioned in our conversation, that a couple of items she prefers are difficult to find, and is often asked by her readers where they can be found. Aside from the Milliners Needles, we talked about John James Long Darning Needles and Mettler White thread for basting.

What Makes Them Must Haves?

Wanda likes the John James Long Darning Needles for hand basting her quilts for quilting on the domestic machine. The long darning needles allow for making large stitches with less hand fatigue than with smaller shorter needles. Wand also uses a different stitch for her basting, which helps keep the sandwich from moving while quilting.

Wanda also likes the Mettler White Thread for basting because it breaks easily when pulled. A big benefit, if it was caught in the quilting stitches. Wanda has written several posts on hand basting a quilt; this post, and this post, and several more are listed under ‘Basting’ in the Labels on the right side of the page.

So THANK YOU, Wanda, for the boost and for all the quilters that have visited I Have A Notion from the link on Wanda’s post! If you have not visited Wanda before you are in for a treat at www.ExuberantColor.com


A New Favorite Ruler

Rulers are a particular thing!

We all have a favorite ruler for each type of cut. Long and thin, small and square, colored lines, solid lines, dotted or dashed. Some for long cuts, the width of fabric or strips and some for cutting squares and/or triangles or for squaring up a block.

The Long Cut rulers in my collection

selection of long cut rulers

I havea favorite ruler for long straigh cuts and most of them are 6″ wide, by either 12″ or 24″. My favorite has been from Olfa. Best features, frosted with thin lines, (solid, dashed and hashed) and angles (15°, 30°, 45°, 60° and 90°) for measuring and cutting. Worst it slips when using across the width of fabric if you are not careful. The others are still around, because I have found non-cutting jobs for them.

Square rulers in my collection

selection of square rulers

Like most quilters, I have a favorite ruler in my collection of square rulers too. The collection of square rulers is considerably larger than the long ruler collection. I have sizes from 12 1/2″ down to 3 1/2″ and one of them I have 3 of the exact same ruler! I use most of them for cutting squares or squaring up. None of them give an angle other than a diagonal line from one corner to the opposite corner (45°) and all of them have a tendency to slip, again if not careful. If I had 3 in the same size, would that be the favorite? Nope, the favorite is the 8 1/2″ square. A good size for most smaller sizes and great for squaring up 4″-8″ blocks.

The *NEW* Favorite Ruler is

from Quilters Select. I borrowed a friends to try out and couldn’t wait to have my own. Why why why?

Quilters Select Long Cut Rulers
Quilters Select Long Cut Ruler
  • they don’t slip or move when cutting
  • frosted so the fabric print doesn’t get in the way of finding a line or a fabric edge
  • have very thin incremental lines (1/8, 1/4, 1/2 & 3/4), for more precision in sub cuts
  • can use any side for measuring or cutting, incremental inch lines have stacked numbers, can be read from right to left or left to right
  • the Long Cut rulers have 3 different angle degrees, 30°, 45° and 60° on the ruler and in 2 places on the Square rulers

Quilters Select Square Rulers

Of course the non-slip is the best feature and almost makes the rotating cutting mat obsolete! See how in this ‘the trick” video, at about the 50-second mark. Although all the information leading up to “the trick” is pretty good too and you don’t just have to take my word for it.

Interested? You can find a selection of the Long rulers in sizes 6×24 inch, 6×12 inch, 3×12inch, and 3x18 inch. The Square rulers in sizes 18×18 inch, 12.5×12.5 inch, 8.5×8.5 inch, and the 5×5 inch.

Do you have a favorite go-to ruler for cutting? Which one and why?

More later!!! Beth

Titanium Sewing Machine Needles

The Titanium Sewing Machine Needle is the best needle you can use in your sewing machine. It doesn’t matter what machine you use, if your needle is old and dull your stitches will suffer.

Why a Titanium Needle?

A regular needle, chrome or nickel plating over steel, is rated to last 5-8 sewing hours. A Titanium needle may last 20 to 40 sewing hours. Of course the type and thickness of fabrics will vary the amount of sewing hours.

a package of Organ Brand Needles
A package of Organ Needles

What makes the Titanium Sewing Machine Needle So Great?

A Titanium Needle has a very very thin coating of Titanium Nitride applied during manufacturing that makes a gold color. By nature Titanium is heat resistant and almost non-stick. The applied Titanium helps the needle point hold its shape and dimensions for a much longer time.

A photo of the gold Titanium Needle
Gold Color of the Titanium Needle (Embroidery 80/12 shown)

Which Needle should I use?

The Titanium Top Stitch needle is a great daily sewing machine needle for piecing and general sewing. It is also capable of Free-Motion Thread Work and Free-Motion Quilting. The Top Stitch needle has a slightly deeper groove for the thread to ride in while moving through the fabric. They eye is also larger reducing the friction when the thread passes through the eye of the needle. Did you know the thread may pass through the needles eye more than 33 times before becoming a stitch? It all depends of course on the stitch length.

A Titanium Embroidery Needle is another great needle especially if you like to use some of the thicker or more finicky threads. The Titanium Embroidery needle has a large groove and a much larger and rounder eye than the Titanium Top Stitch needle to help reduce the friction on the thread even more. 

How do I choose the Needle size?

When a  choosing a Titanium Sewing Machine Needle match the needle to the thread, not the needle to the fabric. The needle size tells you how big the shaft is, the bigger the number the bigger the needle. A fine thread 60 weight you would use a smaller needle like a 75/11 ; a thicker thread like a 40 weight a larger needle such as a 90/14.

needle in a sewing machine
The gold Titanium Needle. makes threading a little easier with a larger eye

I Have a Notion carries the Titanium Top Stitch Needles in the 80/12, 90/14 and 100/16 sizes as well as the Titanium Embroidery Needles in the 80/12 and 90/14 sizes.

I Have A Notion is reviving the “Needle Exchange” Program!!!

How does the “Needle Exchange Program” work?

Do you want to try a Titanium Needle?  Send the current needle in your  sewing machine to I Have a Notion, (the mailing address is on the Policy Page, left hand column). Pin the needle to a short note which includes what you know or remember about the needle (type and size). Also please share a bit about you and a little about your sewing style, the projects, thread and fabrics you usually sew with; and include self addressed stamped envelope to I Have a Notion.

What is your favorite needle and tell us why you like it…

Until Later-Beth