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.
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 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.
Isn’t this just too cute. I love the fun fabrics used in this one.
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.
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!!
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.
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.
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!
I finished another client quilt. This client’s quilt was a sheer joy to work on. I have never seen such beautiful piecing. My quilting group teases me about how precise and clean the back of my quilt tops are but this client literally put me to shame. I didn’t take a picture of her seams but should have. Actually I have another one of her quilt tops downstairs so I will take a picture of that one later so you can see what I mean.
Isn’t this beautiful. It is such a simple design but the colours in the batiks just make it sing. The client asked for an allover meander style. I went one step further (with her permission) and added a leaf design as leafs were a predominant theme in the batiks and quilted an all over loop and leaf design with some curls thrown in.
Here is a closer look at the quilting design. I think the curves of the loops and leaves really soften up this very linear design. As in the last quilt I quilted I used Superior Threads King Tut thread on the top. I used colour 913 Jewel of the Nile as it has all of the colours represented in the quilt in the thread. I used Bottom Line in the bobbin colour 608 Periwinkle as she had a light purple backing which I just realized I forgot to take a photo of. I really loved how this turned out.
I found a list of quilting quotes which I really like so I will end this post with one of them.
A day patched with quilting seldom unravels.
I just finished quilting a quilt for a customer. It was a fun quilt to do. I believe the quilt is to be a wedding present and the couple requested red and green. My customer used a variation of the yellow brink road pattern and I think the quilt turned out to be beautiful. My customer wanted an allover design quilted on it and I thought it could really do with leaves as there are many nature fabrics used in the quilt top. The border is a green forest and there are many fun fabrics included throughout the quilt.
I personally love using Superior Threads King Tut line of variegated threads for these types of quilt tops. There is so much going on in the quilt top design that the thread is able to move and blend with the different fabrics but still be visible without getting lost in all of the different fabrics. On this quilt I used 987 English Ivy on the top and for the bobbin I used Superior Threads Bottom Line 613 Sage.
I don’t do a lot of pantograph quilting designs as I do prefer to work from the front of my machine. On this quilt I used a variation of a design from the book Meandering Magic by Suzanne Earley. I first saw her demonstrate this technique on QNN video a few years back now. Even though I took my inspiration from the book the quilting always ends up looking different. I love that about free hand quilting. Everyone has their own signature style just like everyone has their own unique handwriting.
Here is a look at the quilt top, I couldn’t get it all in as it was raining today and so I had to take the pictures inside.
You can’t really see the quilting in this photo however it does show off the design of the quilt top nicely.
This picture shows the quilting better. I am really happy with the way it turned out and I am hoping my customer will be too.
I have heard Angela Walters say in the craftsy classes I have taken of hers that if you make a few mistakes or some bobbles that are OK but not perfect when you get the quilt off of the frame you will never notice them. I have found this to be so true. When you are working on just 10 inches at a time you are so aware of every stitch that is just not quite as perfect as you would like. Once you get the quilt off of the frame and you look at the overall effect it always amazes me of how wonderful it always turns out.
My client choose an Ikea fabric for the back and I think it is budgies. It looks really cool though and you could almost use this as a two sided quilt if you so chose.
Well on to the next quilt which will be leaves again but this time quilted in purple. I haven’t decided whether I want that one as meander quilting such as above or something a little looser like a leaf with a loop de loop. I will figure it out once the quilt top is on the frame.
Meanwhile happy quilting!