Thread

Well it’s time to write another blog post and this week I don’t have that much to say. I am working on two projects, one which I just finished however I can’t show either of them as yet. I can tell you about one of them on Monday, after the quilt has been presented.

So if you work from home, have not much going on except projects that you can’t share then what do you write about?

So I guess I will talk about THREAD! Now quilters are known to have a good size fabric stash, although there are quilters out there that actually don’t have a stash they actually only buy fabric for one project at a time and they don’t even save the scraps (more scraps for me) however some of us have a stash of wonderful threads as well.

Thread, it comes very thin right up to very thick thread that you have to couch down or use in the bobbin. It comes sparkly, shiny or invisible. For anyone who loves to embellish their quilts, quilt quilts or do fibre art it is another item to collect. So for me as well as having a fabric stash and book stash I have a fairly extensive thread stash as well.

Here is a small sampling of some of my many different types of thread I have in my stash  um ‘collection’. I have mentioned in my previous posts I really like to use Superior Threads King Tut thread on quilts that don’t have a really defined block and have lots of different fabrics in them. The King Tut is a thicker thread (40 wt) that is usually variegated so it is a fun thread to use for those types of quilt tops. My ‘collection’ includes one spool of every colour, oh except the newest ones I still have to get those.

When I used to teach Beginner machine quilting I soon realized that although there is a lot of information on the internet regarding thread and thread types, there is still a lot of misunderstandings about thread. Isn’t thread something to sew seams with, isn’t it just all the same? Well, no actually there is a lot of differences in thread.

For instance, I piece my quilts with Aurifil thread in a 50 wt cotton in a neutral colour. Now a lot of quilters use Mettler thread and it says the same thing, 50 wt cotton on the spool. Since it says the same thing you would think it would sew up the same wouldn’t you? Not so, the Aurifil is actually thinner. I tried to get a picture to prove it but couldn’t get a good enough one so you will have to compare it for yourself. When you are trying to get that perfect 1/4 inch seam the Aurifil thread is better suited for that as it takes up less space in the seam allowance.

This applies to threads for the actual quilting, not all threads are created equal. Wonderfil has some luscious looking threads however I find that their metallic thread can be prone to twisting up on itself. This means the thread breaks every few inches and on a longarm it can be frustrating and disastrous.  On the other hand I have used Superior Threads Metallic threads for quilting on both my domestic and longarm machines with no issues whatsoever. Once I had a spool of metallic thread from Superior that was wound on the spool incorrectly and it wouldn’t come off properly. I sent a picture of the issue to Superior Threads in Utah and they sent me a brand new spool free of charge and an apology. I have to say I love Superior Threads for the thread, customer service and education (value) they provide on their website, but that is another story.

Regarding the above Wonderfil threads has a thread called Silco which is a 35 wt cotton thread in variegated colours. I do own several spools of this thread however, I find the tension slips on it. I find this when I quilt on both my domestic machine and on the longarm. You can be quilting along fine and then suddenly you have these loops. I simply don’t find that happening on other brands of threads I use.

That all said I have used Wonderfil DecoBob a 80 wt polyester (very thin thread) and the 100 wt polyester Invisafil thread on all my machines without any issues whatsoever.

As you may have noticed by now I am partial to Superior Threads and own a lot of their thread but I do have another favourite which I absolutely love to quilt with and that is Fil-Tec Glide thread! It really does ‘glide’ through the machine and is simply a beautiful thread to work with. Unfortunately it is another thread I have to mail order so I only have a few colours of it.

When I want the quilting to be more subtle and play more of a background role I chose either the Aurifil 50 wt cotton or the Superior Threads Sew Fine 50 wt Polyester thread in a colour that blends.  I have a spool in every colour of the Sew Fine 50. Got to love the thread of the month clubs especially as when I joined there was free shipping to Canada. Not sure if that deal is still going on as I don’t belong to the clubs anymore.

Thread-5

Well it turns out I had more to say about thread than I thought and I haven’t really even touched the surface so I guess now I will have something to write about next week while I continue working on the project I can’t show.

My soul is fed by needle and thread.

Happy Quilting

 

 

 

Saying Goodbye

Last night we had a sad event. The Victoria Quilting community said good bye to Linda Refuse who was the owner of Satin Moon Quilted Garden Shop here in Victoria BC. Linda passed away unexpectedly on June 7, 2016. She was originally from Alberta her brothers held a small memorial for her there last week. Linda’s friend Jennifer decided we quilters should also celebrate Linda’s life as a friend, quilter and as a larger part of the Victoria quilters scene. In honour of  Linda she decided to organize a tea party with everything decorated in Linda’s favourite colour PINK!

I had the pleasure of working with Linda at the Satin Moon shop three years ago. I had been laid off from my Telecom Analyst position of 15 years and decided to take the summer off (I had been working steady since I was barely 18 years old). Since I was given 18 months severance and I had savings it was a good opportunity for me to regroup. I had two friends who already worked for the shop and I was asked if I wanted to work one day a week there. I was delighted, it got me out of the house and able to play with fabric… my favourite thing.  I discovered I really enjoyed working at the shop and helping the customers choose their fabrics for a project or just check out the projects in progress. I was still working there part time when I received the news I had cancer. Linda was incredibly sweet and since I was unable to continue to look for full time work during that time I remained working part-time at Satin Moon until I was too sick to do so. (I am all better now).

The tea party to honour Linda was a great idea. It was well attended and I’m sure Linda would have loved it. Jennifer even set up a table just for Linda so I’m sure she was there in spirit.

I have included two pictures of the room getting set up in preparation for the event. It always amazes me how you can take a plain room and make it festive my adding tablecloths, flowers and food. One of the pictures has a very badly lit Susan McGregor setting out the cupcakes she brought. Susan also worked with Linda at Satin Moon.

It was a great idea thanks so much Jennifer for organizing this.

Friends are like fabric-you can never have enough!

 

 

Playful I Spy Baby Quilt

Happy Canada Day! We have had such beautiful weather here in Victoria and today it decided to try to rain. Wouldn’t you know it! The day that everyone is supposed to be outside picnicking and celebrating. Oh well, that’s the way it goes sometimes.

I just finished quilting a really cute and playful I Spy baby quilt for a client. When the client made the quilt she didn’t have a recipient in mind but as it so happens life has now provided a home for the quilt and I’m sure that whomever gets this quilt will be overjoyed.

Donna Baby Quilt-1

Isn’t this just too cute. I love the fun fabrics used in this one.

Donna Baby Quilt-2

Here is a better look at some of the fabrics. For a quilting design I chose a loop-de-loop with a star as some of the fabrics had stars in it and other fabrics, like the honey bee fabric, had loops so it seemed a good choice. Beside it’s fun and I thought in keeping with the nature of the quilt itself.

I find I always question the thread colour on quilts like this though do you? You don’t want to use an invisible thread on a baby quilt or I should say I don’t want to use one yet you have a very strong contrast in values playing out that you have to work with. In this case that wonderful medium green playing along side all of those different playful fabrics some darker than the green and some a lot lighter.

I tried a lot of different choices and now as I am writing this I realize I should have photographed those choices to show you the different ones I tried so I will have to remember to do this next time. I’m still learning with this blogging thing. Anyhow, I tried lots of different choices, I tried a thread that would blend with 80% of the different prints but was WAY too light for the green borders etc. In the end I decided that I would stick with a variegated King Tut thread from Superior Threads. The King Tut is thicker than some of the choices I tried but I love it for baby quilts as it is a fun thread that keeps with the playful theme of some of these types of quilts. I found that 923 Fahl Green was the best match and I decided the thread should really blend with the borders and sashing because the whole idea (at least in my mind, hopefully the client will agree with me) the blocks should be the ones that stood out. The Fahl Green is a nice medium green and I found that it did in fact blend nicely with the majority of the different fabrics and seemed to play nice with the fabrics it contrasted with without taking over the show too much. I used Superior Threads Bottom Line 645 Bright Green in the bobbin. You can’t really see the stitching in the back as the print is so busy. You can’t tell from this photo but the print is a really fun cat print.

Donna Baby Quilt-3

I mentioned on a previous post how neat and precise the seams are on the back of this particular clients quilt. I have included a picture here. The back of the quilt top is almost as beautiful as the front!!

Donna Baby Quilt-6

Well back to sewing my strips onto the brink quilt I have in progress. Only 8 more strips to sew on before I can show you the finished quilt top.

Quilting is sharing yourself with other. Don’t you just love this quote.

Happy Quilting

 

“Under the Needle” Quilters Style

Well haven’t got up to too much this past weekend. The weather has turned sunny and warm here in Victoria but other than working and sewing not much else is going on. My partner and I were invited to a pot luck by a neighbour on Saturday night. At the townhouse complex where I live there is a clubhouse that can be rented for a very reasonable rate. My neighbour is a member in a band that plays songs from the 50’s and 60’s. I helped make the banner for the band called Trilogy. It was a lot of fun singing along to all of the old songs I remembered as a child. Of course I remembered afterward that I didn’t take any pictures. There were people there who took some videos so I will see if I can’t get hold of some pictures and video to post here.

I am currently making a quilt for someone who has to undergo an operation due to cancer. It started out as a lap quilt but it kinda grew. Now I think it will be almost a bed quilt when it is done. I got my inspiration from a quilt in a book that was scrappy and used 2.5 inch strips cut into 5 inch logs. I have so many scraps so I thought this was a good idea. I didn’t totally like the design of the quilt in the book just the “brink” idea so I changed it up and started designing on my design wall.

The Light Within-1

Not sure why I didn’t stop there but I wanted more colour so I continued. Before I knew it I had to move the quilt from the design wall to the design floor. I am happy with the way the quilt is progressing but it is now pretty much queen sized. Oh well. To top it all off, even though I used many scraps I still have a ton of 2.5 inch strips left!!

I worked on it until late last night (that is about 10:00 pm for me these days) and was up early this morning trying to get things to a place where I could get the top and strips up off the floor but at the same time not lose all of the hard work I did with the colour placement.

The Light Within-2

Here is a shot of the quilt top with the brinks sewn into rows which I completed last night. As you can see there is not a lot of room to walk around this sucker so I needed it up off the floor so I could walk in my studio. As mentioned it kinda grew but I am liking how this is turning out. Not sure if the person I was making this for could use a bed quilt or if I should make another quilt that is more of a lap size. We’ll see how this turns out and how time permits. I wanted a project that was fast and easy and used up my scraps. Well, this was fairly easy, used up my scraps but fast…not so much. It takes awhile to see 33 2.5 inch rows  that are 82 inches long together even with all of the seams being offset. Thank goodness they are!!

Behind every quilter there is a huge pile of fabric!

Happy Quilting

 

Coming Up with Quilting Designs

I have a client quilt on the frame and although I know what design I will be quilting on this one as it is just an all over design it got me thinking about how I come up with different quilting designs. My fall back design for all over is a leaf pattern, leaves are easy to do and if they are not perfect that’s OK because nature doesn’t make perfect leaves either. It’s also the first quilting design I learned how to do.

When it comes to all over designs I try to take hints from the quilt itself, for instance one of my client’s quilts was green and red and had nature and leaves in a lot of the fabrics. The quilt design was simple so the meandering leaf design I came up with seemed to fit the bill.

In another quilt I did, a Bonnie Hunter mystery there was so much going on with the design and the many different fabrics I just kept with a simple all over echoed flower design. With that quilt I used a thinner thread (Superior Threads So Fine 50) as I just wanted the texture to show as the quilt was so busy as it was. When I was quilting that design I was thinking oh no not sure I like this but when I got that quilt off of the frame I really, really liked it. The quilt is now on the bed in the spare room.

As I have mentioned in previous posts I don’t do much pantograph quilting as I prefer to quilt from the front of the machine but I did piece and quilt a quilt for a client that was a cat quilt. This quilt called out for paws and I did do that as a pantograph as it would have been to hard to do this totally free hand.

Cat Quilt-1

There are other quilts though that just call out for more custom designs like a design in the blocks and another in the sashing and border. I find deciding on what to quilt in these particular quilts more difficult as the choices are so vast. I try to take some clues from the fabrics used but I will admit sometimes I have to drape those types of quilts over my stairwell and stare at them for awhile well I go looking for inspiration.

The next quilt on my list to quilt is a Judy Niemeyer Bali Wedding Quilt. I started the top a few years ago and worked on it while going through cancer treatment. I finished the top two years ago and it has been sitting in my “to be quilted” pile ever since. Time to get this one finished I think so I have been sketching out ideas on what to quilt where. I will post pictures of that process in a future post. Meanwhile here is a picture of the pattern. I bought the extra papers for this one and made my top queen size.

My latest favourite quilting quote

I’d rather be stitchin’ than in the kitchen!