I’ve been adding a few new supplies to the shop – things I’ve been testing out for a few months now and I’m finally ready to commit to.
Did you know that I actually use every single thing I sell in my shop? It’s true!
First, I adored the Bears in the Hills project, but found I wasn’t 100% satisfied with some of the tools I was using for applique and embroidery on felt.
The DMC perle cotton thread was nice quality – but turned out to be ridiculously difficult for me to source consistently. I started talking to the folks at Wonderfil and ended up trying (and loving!) several of their threads.
Let’s start with Razzle. These are shiny rayon threads (#8 weight) that look dreamy stitched on wool. Just take a peek!
I fell in love with this thread, and I’m already looking forward to using it in my next felt project. You can get Razzle thread here. I’ll be adding more colors if you all like it as much as I do. 🙂
One of the drawbacks to that smooth and shiny rayon thread is that almost as soon as you start to use it, your spool can quickly look like this.
The folks at Wonderfil have solved that problem with handy little reusable wraps.
I’ll be making a video soon to show you how they work, but in the meantime, you can get them right along with the Razzle thread. Trust me. You want them.
When I stitched the face on this cat, I decided I didn’t want to use the shiny rayon thread.
I wanted something with a matte texture that would “match” the wool felt better. For that I discovered Eleganza. It’s 5 wt. (even thicker than the Razzle – perfect for faces) cotton thread. You can get it here.
When I was working on that cat applique, I wanted to test out a better solution for the initial whipstitch applique holding all the pieces in place. The whipstitching on the Bears in the Hills was a little more visible than I like.
How’s this for invisible?
It’s exactly what I wanted! Nearly invisible whipstitching so all your attention is on the fancy embroidered stitching!
I used Invisafil thread. Folks – this is 100 wt. thread. That’s crazy fine! I felt like a fairy stitching with spiderweb silk! You can get the Invisafil thread here.
Superfine thread calls for a superfine needle. The needle actually makes a visible hole in felt, so you want to keep it as close as possible to the actual size of the thread. I found some #11 straw needles that work really well.
I also needed to find some better big needles for the thicker thread. For most stitching, a #1 embroidery needle worked just fine. But if you look closely you can see that the sides of the eye on an embroidery needle bulge out a little bit. That’s not a problem for backstitching and running stitches – but if you’re doing any wrapped stitches (like French knots) it can be hard to draw the slightly bulging eye of the needle through your wraps. That’s when a milliners needle comes in handy. The thickness is uniform all the way down the needle (including the eye) so there’s no trouble sliding them through your wraps – but they are longer than regular embroidery needles, which can make them a little unwieldy. I use an embroidery needle for straight stitches, lazy daisies, etc. and switch to the milliners needle just for French knots. I do enough of them that the second needle is a worthwhile investment. Your mileage will vary.
You can find both the tiny straw needles and the big milliners needles here, with all the other needles for handwork. I also added some additional notes to that listing to make it more clear which needles I use for what.
Remember when I hurt my hand/wrist earlier this year? It’s still giving me some problems – especially when I stitch with thicker threads. Specifically, I have trouble gripping the needle tight enough between my thumb and forefinger to pull the folded thread at the eye through the fabric. I don’t want to stop using thick thread – I love it too much! So I tried a few different things to help get a better grip without relying on my muscles/joints so much. These little Grip-It dots were the winner.
They stick on your finger and thumb and give me just enough extra grippiness so I don’t have to pinch the needle quite so hard. (That means I can stitch for longer.) You can get them here.
Happy stitching! Coming soon – the free pattern for the fancy embellished felt frame you see around that cat. 🙂