Okay, this is serious! Yarn tied quilts have been bad-mouthed. I have heard it repeatedly. I have even saw someone roll their eyes. “Oh, she used yarn?” with eyes widening and disgust on their face.
I cannot for the life of me figure out where the disdain comes from. I don’t know if it’s a poor man’s version of quilting or just something else. I can’t figure it out. If you do know the answer, please take the time to share it with me, so I can be let in on the secret!
But even if I’m in on the secret, there’s no way I could shame along with you. I love it too much!
If you’ve never seen a quilt tied with yarn, check this baby out, this picture actually started all my love and feels for the technique. How could you look at that picture and not LOVE (completely and desperately) what you are looking at?
So forget the yarn tie shaming you’ve heard and let’s dive into this.
What’s it for?
If you’ve never heard of a tied quilt before (check out this board) let’s discuss why its there first.
Ties are a type of “quilting”. You could use them in place of quilting (more common). Or like me, just put them on top for looks and extra texture.
The tie goes through all layers of your quilt and holds the quilt together, just like machine or hand quilting.
If you remember when I was making the Anthologie quilt during the Bari J Quilt Along, I tied the quilt in several places with embroidery floss. You can see that video here. I used embroidery floss not because I wanted to, but because for the life of me I could not get the yarn to work.
I was irritated as I could possibly be. If you’ve touched a quilt with floss ties and touched a quilt with yarn ties, you can feel the difference. You can also SEE the difference. There’s no hiding the big and bulkiness of yarn.
Yarn is thick and it frays, all things great for texture and bad for needles.
But I’ve got tricks for you now, techniques that will make you not pull your hair out or throw your teacup into the wall (not saying I did that, but I wanted to).
Here’s what you need:
- yarn – Use what you want. I used acrylic yarn. Stay away from the big and chunky yarn section. Cotton yarn is fabulous too!
- a chenille needle – I like these from DMC, but any chenille needle will do. I used a size 20. A chenille needle has a very large eye and a sharp point. If you have a needle that has the same features that may work. The smaller the number (the bigger the needle) that you can find the better, as this will making pulling through all three quilt layers easier. THIS NEEDLE IS CRUCIAL to make tying a quilt a pleasant experience. Don’t skip this supply!
- 2 thimbles – one is for your index finger, one for your thumb. I used this one and this one.
- Snips – These are my absolute favorite from Havel’s. I need another pair because I like to use these for all my hand work.
- a tiny scrap of notebook paper
- a basted quilt
Eek! In this video I tell you that you need a leather needle. It was a slip of the tongue. You need a CHENILLE needle. Sorry about that!
- Make sure your tiny slip of paper will fit through your needle when folded in half long ways.
- Take your yarn, uncut from the skein, and fold it into your paper. Thread the needle.
- Push your needle into your quilt and back out, pull the yarn through.
- Tie the yarn twice.
- Snip your yarn to the desired length.
- Sit somewhere comfortable, take it easy and tie the day away.