I also baste my quilt using a water soluble thread with approx a 2 inch grid. The reasons for this are, keeping all of the pieces in place and with all the stitching from the thread painting the basting helps to keep the project flat.
I love water soluble thread, when I'm all done stitching and ready to block, all I have to do is dampen the quilt and all the basting is gone! No threads to pick!!
So before I start stitching I need to work out a plan! So I will take my pattern and highlight with a marker the areas I want to make the main features.
The first goal is to add dimension. I will use a heavy satin stitch around the main features to make the subject appear more to dimensional. However, around the eyes I narrow the stitch width to make them softer but keep them as a main feature. This really helps to bring out the personality and the soul.
I prefer to use poly threads, they are more forgiving in the final process of blocking giving a little stretch and they also have a sheen to them which reflects light making the subject look like they have a real fur coat. Glide by fil-tec is my thread of choice!! love their colors, no breaking, it's just beautiful to work with. As for needles, I use a Topstitching 90/14. Topstitching needles have a larger eye and a groove down the shaft of the needle. This allows the needle to go through all the fabric with more easy, with less stress on the thread with less breakage.
That's all for today, more to come!!