Saturday, January 16, 2016

Gloves for hand quilting

Living in the Northeast means dealing with dry hands every winter! Even more unforgiving is that my hands are in water all day, washing the brushes in my classroom, or just washing the winter germs off my fingers when my classes are over. Dry hands mean the top corners of my fingers crack and bleed. I try to put on lotion, honest I do, (just ask Norm how I feel about lotion!!) but even with coconut oil and tubes of lotion in every room, this is an awful fact of winter hands. As an artist, my hands have to work. With bandaids covering my cracked finger tips, they don't always work.

So lately I've been obsessed with gloves. Lotion and then gloves. Mittens work better to keep me warm and I have two pair that I drive to school with before the heat starts working in the car. Then there's the walking-the-dog gloves that grasp dog leashes and hold poopy bags. Of course, there's the fancy gloves from Coach that I got as a holiday gift and my cute red gloves, just because. Gloves are important. They protect my hands.

That brings me to quilting. I recently discovered the beauty of Perle cotton for hand stitching. I've been going back to my finished quilts and adding hand stitches to them. (When is a project ever really done?) The Perle cotton adds more contrast and I just love the look of the stitches on the fabric.

One line is hand quilting thread, the other is Perle cotton.
Corner of the border with Perle cotton stitching. So pretty!

The stitched line border shows up so much more with the Perle cotton than the regular hand quilting thread. So it was a no-brainer to change my border on this quilt to Perle cotton stitching.

But... here come the gloves... I sometimes have trouble pulling my needle with the heavier weight cotton through the fabric. And as I get better at stitching and can load up my needle with more than just one stitch, it is really hard for me to pull the needle and thread through.

As a good student of all things creative, I watched hours of videos on free motion quilting (before deciding that hand stitching was really my thing) and of course bought the gloves they told me to buy for this purpose. The gloves have rubber finger tips that grip the fabric as you move it around under the needle of the sewing machine.


So I grabbed my unused machine quilting gloves the other day and tried them with this hand quilting project. They worked brilliantly!! Not only did the rubbery tips of the gloves grasp the needle better for pulling the cotton through the fabric, but the tip of my middle finger had just enough thickness to act as thimble, pushing the needle through!

Now we just have to invent a pair of quilting gloves with lotion! Coconut oil gloves? Hmmm... Aloe vera gloves!

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