Threads for EPP
Anyway, this thread is amazing - it allows you to create hand-stitches that are virtually invisible and I've been sewing with it for several weeks now and I haven't had a single strand snap, which is refreshing after the frequent thread changes I was getting up to with my old thread. I thought you might like to see the difference in finish it can give. In the two images below, I used Superior's Bottom Line thread in a very pale silver (colour no. 623). The only sign of the stitches is the little pull in the fabric, where I've pulled it taut, rather than the actual stitch. It's a 60 weight thread, lint-free and feels like silk when it glides through the fabric.
This morning, I took these photos of old projects I've worked on, for the purpose of illustrating this post. It's an odd thing, because while I love the option of being able to sew with less visibly intrusive stitches (and I really, really love being able to sew with a thread that doesn't snap repeatedly), I realised as I took these photos that I also still embrace the sign of a human hand having been there and I'm not entirely sure that I want to rid my hand-sewing of that. That's a really curious realisation for someone whose aspirations normally hover around the Made by Robots level.
This is a close up photo of the Liberty print quilt that I made for my daughter a while ago (it also shows some of my first ever hand-quilting stitches, as well as the English paper piecing stitches). The quilt has now been washed a few times and so the cottons have shrunk, straining the stitches a little, as well as warping the once clean lines of the piecing. The quilt now looks more like something akin to those fragile pieces from the V&A Quilts 1700 - 2010 exhibition, where the visible stitches in the antique quilts made my heart ache slightly. One of the things on my 'Life's To-Do List' (as opposed to the weekly, or even annual list) was the give my daughter a hand-made quilt; if the stitches weren't visible I'm not sure I would have actually created a quilt that served the purpose I wanted (that being to leave a visible sign of care and comfort in a medium that feels like a second voice: hand quilt-making).
This no longer looks as neat as it did when I first sewed it together, but I love what it's becoming. Here's a photo of when it was a work in progress a few summers ago.
Either way, I can see a place for both types of thread. I think there are some projects where you might want your sewing to feel personal and very much an extension of yourself, and others where you want your work to have a finish that's more crisp and precise. The two photos at the top of the post show snippets of an English paper pieced cushion I'm making for a magazine, where I'm happy for the finish to be less personal. I also think it would be the thread I'd use if I was working on a framed EPP project for the wall, so I thought I'd share the different thread options and the finishes they give in case you have times when you too aspire for less visible stitches and don't already know about The Bottom Line thread.
I'm going to look into whether Superior make a thread for times when I want my stitches to be a little more visible, but without the dreaded thread-snapping problem (I use their King Tut thread for hand-quilting and it's excellent, so they seem to be becoming my go-to thread brand). I'd love to hear about what finish you aspire to with your own sewing: whether you feel attempting to sew too perfectly irons out the soul of a hand-made piece; or whether you view perfectionism as a sign of skill that makes you love your work - or that of others - even more; when you EPP do you see your visible stitches as part of the intrinsic appeal and 'tactileness' of the piece; or do you attempt to sew, elf-like, enjoying the challenge of attempting to leave only the slightest sign of your handiwork?