Needle turn appliqué project: the Rin Quilt

Some progress to share on this quilt I’ve been working on using needle turn appliqué (also called Hawaiian need turn appliqué). This is the Rin Quilt pattern by Carolyn Friedlander and as you can see I’ve done it up in corals and mint because I want to use this specifically as a wall hanging for Christmas. I had hoped to include it in the holiday sewing project round up last month but did not make it in time. Now I have a top ready to go, with plenty of time for quilting before next Christmas comes around.

(Flash forward to me next year on Christmas Eve, frantically finishing a binding at midnight, ha ha!)

rin needle turn applique quilt

I love this quilting technique because it’s machine-free. Unless you choose to machine baste, which I actually did this time around, and I think it improved my results. So you can sit and sew all cozy, watching movies on the couch. I’m so into handwork projects lately that I plan to get right back to my Kingfisher EPP now that this quilt top is finished!

Back to the Rin Quilt pattern: the large block sizes make this a very fun project to work on. You may work on a single block for a while, but once you’ve got a few down you’ll see your quilt come together quickly.

Tools for needle turn appliqué

There are a couple of tools/notions that Carolyn recommends and now that I’ve tried them, I swear by them.

The first is a pair of Kai scissors. I believe the Kai 5100 is what I have. They are incredibly sharp, and for slicing through layers of fabric with accuracy, they are indispensable.

The second is a lightweight thread. The Aurifil 80wt Cotton Thread Set for appliqué is what I’ve been using. Of course you just need a spool or two, but I’ve found the set curated by Carolyn has the perfect mix of colours. This is the third needle turn quilt I’ve started, each with a different palette, and I haven’t been at a loss for the right colour once.

(Both the scissors and the thread are available on her site.)

How to get started

If you’re intimidated, don’t be! My suggestion would be to start with a pattern with lots of big convex curves. They are strangely easy to get right. Inner/concave needle turn applique points and curves are notoriously more difficult to master. (I’m definitely still working on it.) But just like anything else you’ll improve with practice. The Rin Quilt pattern provides lots of opportunity for this, with throw, wall, full, and king size quilt versions included, as well as a 20” square sham.