I’ve talked in a previous post about the wools you can choose and the types of threads that are available. Before I share an easy (and free!) project for wool applique, there are a few additional useful tools to collect, including scissors, freezer paper, and needles. These are not absolutely required, but they’ll make your projects just a little easier to work on.
I prefer to use scissors with a serrated edge, with either a 4″ or 6″ cutting edge for different sizes of pieces. While they can’t be sharpened, they sure do a great job gripping the wool as you cut so it doesn’t slide out from under your blades, which makes cutting that much more accurate, and easier to boot. You can do pretty much everything you need with the 6″ serrated snips. I use the ones by Havel’s, below:
Needles and Thread Conditioner
There are several different types of needles available that can work for the applique part of your project. In general, you’ll want something that has a decent sized eye to get those thicker threads through, and you will want something that is comfortable to hold. I recommend starting with chenille needles, anywhere from a size #22 to a #26. John James and other companies make these, and I carry a set of sizes 18-24 by as well. Get what you like (and change them out when they get dull. As far as expense, needles are cheap!) You can also try straw needles (generally sizes 1#10 and #11) and milliners needles, keeping an eye on the eye: you want something that your threads can pass through.
I don’t know what this stuff is, except for a hunk of magic in a blue box. Before you begin stitching, you pull your threads through it and get a light coating and, magically, your thread now glides through any fabric and the amount of knotting you get is significantly reduced. Works wonderfully for hand embroidery and quilting and ESPECIALLY for binding. The box on the right is the one I’ve been using for a dozen or so projects now, and it lasts forever.
whatever pins work for you, seriously. I have small applique pins, and these are great because they don’t catch as much on stuff. However, what I do most often is simply put a line of white school glue where I want my applique and heat set it in place. No pins, and it stays put. Don’t put it where you will be stitching, or use so much of it that your work gets stiff ! Just enough to keep it from moving around on you.
In my time trying to find all of this notion stuff in one place, it hasn’t always been easy. To that end, I’ve put together a beginner kit for wool applique that contains all of the above (and at a slight discount because they’re bundled!) in my etsy shop.
Next week, I will share an easy free project that hits all the points (ha! get it? points!) and instructions on how to prepare and cut out your applique pieces accurately and cleanly. See you next week!