I had been trying all of the different needles I have on hand to piece these hexagon blocks — betweens, straw, sharp, milliner — you name it, I tried it. I finally settled on using a Richard Hemming & Son large eye “Sharp” needle in size 9, but still wasn’t happy with the feel of it all. I wasn’t able to get the stitches as small as I had wanted, I was having a lot of trouble getting the needle to easily hit both drawn sewing lines at the same time and it felt like I was stitching with something as wide as a spaghetti noodle and it felt just about as dull as a noodle too. I’ve used these needles in the past with no problem, so it’s possible the real problem is that I’m hand piecing batik fabric which is fairly tightly woven. Regardless, it wasn’t working as well as I needed it to, so I started looking for a solution.
When Catherine and I were going to the different quilt shops, I finally remembered to ask one of the ladies at Quilters Connection about hand piecing needles. She showed me the Hiroshima needles they had recently been able to start carrying. The sized 10 Milliners looked long and thin, which was what I was looking for, but I didn’t think my needle threader would be able to thread its small eye. She demonstrated that it would work with the thread I’m using and that they were very sharp and smooth — which I do think is the reason for the high price. So, I gambled and got two boxes. These needles are pretty expensive! You only get 6 needles for $8.50 compared to less than $5 for about 20 for most other brands.
I tried them last night to sew that last seam on block three. It was amazing! I was getting much smaller stitches with less effort, the needle is about the width of the line I’ve marked to sew on and I was hitting it easily, plus the needles are sharp enough that they have no problem getting through the tight threads of the batik fabric. I am happy with the needles! I think they are worth every penny. I didn’t explore the different types of needles made by Hiroshima, but I already feel that I’ll need them. Can’t wait to head back to Dallas.