When I first started to learn to quilt, I used Lynne Edwards’s book The Sampler Quilt Book as it reads like a course in quiltmaking. At the beginning was a very useful section detailing which notions and materials to use. However, I never could quite get the hang of using the size 9 ‘betweens’ quilting needle that she recommended. For hand quilting, you are meant to use a rocking motion to add as many small running stitches through all three layers of the quilt sandwich as possible before pulling through the needle. This makes the quilting process quicker as it means you can stitch multiple stitches each time. But the short quilting needles which were recommended make this really difficult, at least for a beginner like me.
When I went on a hand-quilting course at The Quilter’s Den in Warwick, the lady running the course used a different type of needle – a straw needle – which was long and thin and bendy. These needles are used to make hats but they also made hand quilting so much easier and more enjoyable for me. I will never go back!