Saturday, April 05, 2014

Showing off and some thoughts on thread...

It's been a busy few months.  I have forgotten to take photos of some of the quilting I've been doing,  but here are some for inspiration.   My list of quilts to make keeps growing and growing! I'm doomed!
   I am always in awe of people's work.  
This quilt is one for husband.  I can't show much of it, but I can show off my quilting.   I'm in love with the texture and the effect I made on the white fabric. 
Thread:  Wonderfil MasterQuilter in White
Batting:  Hobbs 80/20 
Freehand quilting

My client gave me free range of what to quilt on her quilts.  This can be very difficult, especially when one doesn't know the client's taste.   
Pantograph -  Keukenhof
Thread - Aurifil Variegated purple/pink
Batting:  Warm and Natural
 Freehand 3's and e's create a swirl/spiral/filigree effect.  
Thread:   Superior Magnifico in blue
Batting:  Warm and Natural

 Freehand Playing around  - continuous curves and some fill work
Thread: Superior Magnifico
Batting :  Warm and Natural
 Freehand scroll/filigree style 
Thread: Glide gold
Batting:  Warm and Natural
 A beautiful modern pattern with a mix of modern and traditional colours
Freehand 3's and e's 
Thread - Glide Gold 
Batting - Warm and Natural
A simple modern design with fresh colours in blues, greens and orange
 Freehand basic meander
Thread - Superior 4069 green
Batting - Hobbs 80/20
Backing - Minky
The texture of this minky backing was outstanding.  It was a high quality minky fabric with no stretch to it, and was amazing to quilt with.   This minky was so soft, I didn't want to give the quilt back.  
I will be purchasing some -  my client purchased it from

I like to list my thread usage as I go along for my reference.  I'm still trying to narrow down the threads I like,  but so far my favourites (in no particular order) are  Aurifil 40 poly,  Superior Magnifico and So Fine, and Wonderfil's Master Quilter. and Glide.   
I have clients that prefer matte finish and some that prefer the show or sheen of a thread (and some that don't care at all), therefore my preference for a bunch of brands.

Here are my millions of thoughts  (mine and only mine...I am NO expert)  on each one:

Aurifil polyester -  only 10 colours (variegated) to work with in the larger cone.   It quilts like butter,  the variegated threads look stunning in the stitching lines, but only 10 colours.  Jewelry for a quilt! No breakage, shredding or lint issues, ever.  Tension is always perfect. 

Superior Magnifico - Poly thread with a shine.  Beautiful colours and a large selection to choose from.    Quilts up beautifully with no shredding or lint.   No heavy thread buildup with dense quilting.  Shinier thread and smooth finish.  When I use this, it really does feel like a superior thread.  

Superior So Fine -  look of a matte traditional cotton in a poly thread.  Strong,  no shredding and very little tension issues.   Great thread...I'm not totally sold yet using it on dense quilting.   It gives a linty looking buildup that I can't describe other than it looks like a cotton thread buildup.     I'm used to the look of the MasterQuilter and Magnifico which looks a little cleaner with thread buildup.   Can't think of how else to describe it.   Maybe I should do a sample showing the difference between the two! 

Wonderfil MasterQuilter -  I love this thread.  It looks like cotton, in a poly form.  But it is slightly less dull looking than the SoFine, without it having any sheen.  It is very smooth.  I really love working with this thread.  I just wish they had more colours in their selection.   Good selection of colours, but not as expansive as say,  Superior or Glide threads.  This can be a problem sometimes when trying to match the 'right' red, like I did recently and had to switch to a different brand.  

Glide thread -  a shiny 40wt poly thread.  Very affordable.   Beautiful and huge selection of colours - dare I say too many?  (I know, I said not enough in one paragraph - too many in this one)   This is a lovely thread to work with.  My only complaint is that I find it does shred somewhat and untwist when I snip  my threads, or have to rethread my needle.   A tiny complaint, nothing huge but enough to notice the difference between Magnifico and Glide.  This thread is beautiful when it quilts up,  it does have a slightly less smooth look than Superior Magnifico.  I'm thinking it is the 'twist' of the thread that shows.      

Again, these are just my thoughts to write down so I can reference later.   I like to look back and see how my tastes and preferences  have evolved over time.  

Monday, March 31, 2014

Asian Inspired Quilt

Just finished quilting this beauty for someone...
Center panel,  applique and gorgeous borders, meticulously put together by my client.

 I quilted the centre panel to give it texture.

I decided on a clamshell/sashiko grass style quilting for the background. I used a gold coloured thread  by Superior Magnifico.  I marked the clamshell using a stencil and pounce chalk.
I lightly quilted the appliqué.

 Rope style quilting on the inner and outer borders.

I'm always in awe of the type of quilts that come in to my studio.  It makes me a little sad however, because my list of quilts to make keeps growing!!!  Ha!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Something different to quilt - Hawaiian style

I got this fabulous project last month.   It was made up of Hawaiian style appliqué cushion covers (taken apart and sewn back together again)


My quilter was not fussy about the style of quilting.   We decided on a basic meander, and I went over everything, including the appliqué because the fabric was worn in some places and the appliqué was fragile in other places.
 I first received the quilt top in its 'flimsy' state, I was a little unsure about the project.                   
And then,  as I started quilting away, and the loft of the batting started showing the dimension of the quilting.

I fell in love                                                               

And didn't want to give it back. 
 It is such a happy happy quilt.   The colours just sing together!   
And I'm so glad I got to work on it!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Longarm Quilting - a baby quilt

Client J is having a baby!   I'm so thrilled for her, and I was especially touched that she wanted me to quilt her baby quilt for her.  

 Her quilt was pieced with oranges, whites and aquas 

 I did a lot of straight line ruler work on this quilt -  stitched all the chevrons along the seams, and then many parallel lines.   You would think that quilting a straight line with a ruler is easy.   Nope.   This one was a bit more challenging because I was making the lines on a 45 degree angle to the quilting frame.   I'm still trying to find some ways so that my machine ruler base doesn't 'catch' on the quilt or the ruler won't slip slightly.  So, I'm not perfect, but I did find myself obsessing over some wobbles here and there.
Figure 8's,  curves,  pebbles (large and small) spirals, and u-turns can be found throughout the quilt.

I extended the pattern of the chevron into the borders...

I love the back as it really shows the texture...

I will always say this, but I am so thankful that people trust me to try things out on their quilts.  I may not be perfect at it yet, but I know these experiences really takes me to the next level.
And I really appreciate that.

Monday, February 03, 2014

New Cutting and Pressing Table DIY

I've been using a great second hand table for my cutting table over the past year.   It is an older adjustable height table from Ikea -  (back when Ikea furniture lasted forever)  I've loved it, but I also needed a new pressing surface.  My ironing board just wasn't cutting it anymore, especially with some of the large tops I've been getting.  It was always wobbly, and just skimpy on pressing surface space.  So,  I thought I would make a larger top for my Ikea table.    

You've seen these tutorials everywhere.  I bought a 1" sheet of plywood and had it cut to 37" x 60" .  I chose that measurement to fit my cutting mat on one end, and pressing surface on the other end.    I placed a layer of 'insulator' batting, and then stapled a layer of 100% cotton batting.   Then, I chose an Ikea fabric I had on hand for my cover.  I haven't secured the plywood top to the table.  It is heavy enough that it is secure, and I like the option of removing it if I ever need to.   

Now my ironing board is gone, and even though my table is larger,  the lack of an ironing board has opened up the space in the studio.     

I've been contemplating this upgrade for awhile and wish i had done it sooner.   So easy and quick!

Also at Home Depot -  I found acrylic/plexiglass sheets for 13.95  -  a great way to audition your quilting designs on a quilt top.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Denim Quilt

I had a request from someone to make a quilt out of denim, a very special anniversary gift for her husband made out of his and her jeans.

 I was given a whole bunch of pairs of jeans in various shades of indigo....
 and was able to somehow, luckily make it look really really cool.

 Various shades of denim,  quilting cotton centre squares and background
I machine quilted on my APQS Millennium  in an overall watery meander,  gentle and easy especially for the thick intersections and seams. 
And backed it with a punchy red solid.
Quilt measures 63 x 80

 Pattern was chosen by client -Atkinson Designs -Dealer's Choice- High Five  

I admit, this wasn't my favourite when I first saw the pattern, but as I started putting it together it really grew on me.   And now...I love it.  And it looks very good in my house.  Maybe she will forget about picking it up?  

*note - denim is heavy to work with, and this lap sized quilt is heavy.   I do not recommend making anything larger than a lap size in denim...but maybe your shoulders and arms are stronger than mine! 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Are you a tosser? Part 2

Awhile back, I had posted about my habit of tossing threads to the floor as I work.  Well,  I'm happy to report that I haven't changed and I don't plan to.  (except when I'm teaching on someone else' s machine. Why is it that my conscientious behaviour works in this situation, and not my own?)

I was a little bit worried about how my vacuum would like this habit.  I finally came across something that works...
Voila,  your $1.00 toilet brush.   

It's clean of course!   I picked this guy up from the dollar store.  It works like a charm!  So I 'sweep' this brush over my carpeted area and pick up all of the tossed threads - Aurifil, Wonderfil, Glide, Superior, Guterman.  It doesn't play favourites!  It doesn't get every single one of them, but it does the majority.  And my vacuum is grateful.  

And I found another use for it:  

My design wall -  it's been a disaster.   I've tried vacuuming it, and the vacuum doesn't pick up the threads without sucking up the flannel.   I've tried the sticky lint roller - which works somewhat but not that great and I hate wasting all of that paper!  
Look at the after: 

Amazing right!? 

A great little tool for you tossers working on carpet.   

You're welcome!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Moda Bake Shop - Maritime Baby Quilt

I have a new tutorial featured over at Moda Bake Shop.   It's called Maritime Baby Quilt, and is just that -  a nautical themed baby sized quilt, using Hearty Good Wishes line by Moda.

It pieces together fairly quickly with just one block

 I quilted this with some u-turns, pebbles and ruler work.  I stitched in the ditch the smaller patches in the centre of the blacks to create a bit of dimension.

 I like the texture the quilting creates on the backing!

Monday, December 30, 2013

APQS expert in training

Over the holidays I had a bit of time to 'play' with the kids and this one especially was keen on trying Millie.  He knew exactly which fabrics he wanted to use, and how he wanted them assembled.
He was an expert from the start. Relaxed, focussed, and he knew what and where he was going to run those stitches.

I was equally impressed with how he caught on to using the controls of the machine. I was not allowed to help. So we practiced saying, toggle blue, toggle green..and away he went. 
He chose the colour - Aurifil 50wt in a turquoise blue. 
As I opened the drawer of thread, he gasped at all the colours and zoomed directly to the colour he wanted. No second guessing at all. 
I know right?  Like mother like son....thread candy!  Can you imagine his reaction in the Aurifil Warehouse?  

And even though it looks like someone scribbled the design...he really thought about filling the space and keeping the curves nice and rounded and flowy.

I made his little sample piece into a zipper pouch for his handheld device. 
I am so not a garment, bag, pouch sewer. 
at all. 
such a project reminds me of this always. 
And now I get reminders of my inept pouch making skills every time I see it. LOL

I did the same project with my other son. It is remarkable at how different this experience went. 
How he had no interest in being part of the camera action. 
How he had little patience and was indecisive of fabric and thread colour.

And how with his experience, I learned that my mag wheel adjustment from a few months ago is slightly incorrect - when the cutter is activated, it catches and jams on the needle - meaning, I need to re do my mag wheel adjustment and possibly retime my machine again. ARGHGHGHGHGH!

Totally not his fault, he just pushed the cutter button and the cutter jammed because of the needle positioning (my fault -mag wheel adjustment)

All for the love of my kids, right? 

And you thought my story had a happy ending!!!!

Happy New Year!  

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Peace and Joy...

Santa is coming!  I can finally relax and enjoy like this munchkin does...

I had a busy few weeks finishing up Christmas quilts and last minute gifts for clients....
This one was just a buttery soft flannel yardage, batting, and minkee batting that someone was making as a snuggle blanket for the kids.   So soft,  a perfect quick gift for someone!  Free hand loops, swirls, stars and hearts.
A beginner quilter made this lovely quilt for her daughter as a gift -  with minkee backing.   Minkee on anything just makes it so much more luxurious!      Freehand loops, snowflakes, swirls and holly leaves.
minkee backing....stitching patterns turn out so well with this fabric!
A sweet quick baby gift -  do you remember these Richard Scary books from the 70's  or am I the only one that remembers searching for the 'gold bug'  on each page!?
hands and hearts pantograph....
Finally, if you are looking for a last minute gift idea for yourself or a fellow quilter, these snips are amazing.  (famore cutlery,  aurifil poly thread) Plus,  they are rainbow finished metallic.  Super cool!

Wishing you all a lot of love, happiness and rest during this holiday season.   Spend lots of time doing nothing, being lazy,  slowing down, and enjoying the extra moments of nothingness that the rest of the year doesn't always bring us.