Tuesday Treats: One Aurifil size does NOT have to fit all!

I love reading about how people use Aurifil in their quilts and there are some beautiful quilts (& blogs) out there.

However I have noticed that just about everyone has been blogging about how they have used Cotton Mako’ 50, regardless of the stitching they have been doing.

Here at Always Quilting this makes us feel sad that people are missing out on so much fun by not using the full Cotton Mako range.

There a four thread weights in the Aurifil cotton Mako' range.

There are four thread weights in the Aurifil cotton Mako’ range.

There are four thread weights in the Cotton Mako’ range, so Aurifil has a thread weight perfectly suited to every one of your quilt (textile) projects.

All you have to do, to choose the most suitable thread weight for your current project, is to think about the finished appearance you want for the project.

Cotton Mako' 40 is my favourite "all purpose" thread for piecing and quilting.

Cotton Mako’ 40 (on the green spool base) is my favourite “all purpose” thread for piecing and quilting.

Cotton Mako’ 40 is my favourite “go to” thread for general piecing, and machine quilting, so this is the thread weight that I am featuring here.

Cotton Mako’ 40 is a nice fine thread so it is an ideal choice for patchwork piecing.

Patchwork blocks will end up the exact size as the fine thread prevents seam fold  “creep”  when the seams are pressed to one side.

Machine piecing with Cotton Mako' 40 gives "spot on" block sizing.

Machine piecing with Cotton Mako’ 40 gives “spot on” block sizing.

Hand piecers will also enjoy using Cotton Mako’ 40. The smooth thread slips through the fabric ease.

Hand piecing with Cotton Mako' 40

Hand piecing with Cotton Mako’ 40

I also love using Cotton Mako’ 40 for my machine quilting.

Cotton Mako' 40 gives good results for ditch stitching and cross hatching

Cotton Mako’ 40 gives good results for ditch stitching and cross hatching

Motif  quilting looks good with Cotton Mako’ 40. The thread creates nice texture and has enough presence to look good when stitching a feature design

Cotton Mako' 40 works well when stitching motifs

Cotton Mako’ 40 works well when stitching motifs

or  feathers.

I  love stitching feathers in open spaces!

I love stitching feathers in open spaces!

and more feathers.

Cotton Mako' creates beautiful texture

Cotton Mako’ 40 creates beautiful texture

Cotton Mako’ 40 works equally well when stitching all over background designs,

Background flowers with an echo

Background flowers with an echo

or pantograph designs.

A simple ribbon meander looks good when stitchied with a variegated Cotton Mako' 40

A simple ribbon meander looks good when stitched with a variegated Cotton Mako’ 40

Cotton Mako’ 40 is also fine enough to stitch a close background fill around applique.

Cotton mako' 40 works for both close and open background quilting.

Cotton mako’ 40 works for both close and open background quilting.

However, as with all the threads in the Aurifil range, don’t let yourself be restricted to one crafting method.

A Criswell lace motif stitches out with impact.

A Criswell lace motif stitches out with impact.

Stunning results can be achieved when machine embroidering with Cotton Mako’ 40

Machine embroidery fill stitched out with Cotton mako' 40

Machine embroidery fill stitched out with Cotton Mako’ 40

Machine embroidery lace, made with Cotton Mako’ looks just so right.

Just beautiful

Make your own beautiful lace.

So I encourage you to think beyond Cotton Mako’ 50 for your next project. Start by trying Cotton mako’ 40 and see what you think.

Watch this space for more information about the other three Cotton Mako’ thread weights.

They all have their place in my sewing room so I plan to feature each one in the future

In the meantime, remember that all you have to do to choose the most suitable thread weight for your next project, is to think about the finished appearance that you want for the project.

Visit our online store to see the full 252 colours in the Cotton Mako’ range.

PS: We would welcome your comments and feedback.

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Weddings and Aurifil

Well, there is a connection!!

On a very, very hot day in  March (our southern hemisphere summer was extended this year) , there was a wedding celebration in my family.

A very beautiful wedding dress waiting to be worn

A very beautiful wedding dress waiting to be worn

I needed to co-ordinate my mother of the bride (HOW I LOVE WRITING THAT!!) silk dress and jacket with the tie (yet to be purchased) for the father of the bride.

Flowers for bride and bridesmaids just waiting to be used

Flowers for bride and bridesmaids just waiting to be used

I didn’t want to take my ‘ensemble’ with me as I shopped, and the said father of the bride was ‘allowing ‘ me (i.e. I told him I would find something) to make the tie purchase on his behalf.

Now, this is where the spool of AURIFIL comes into this little story!!

Aurifil thread and coathanger

I chose one of the colours from my dress that matched up with an Aurifil spool colour.  The “Official Aurifil Colour” is medium red – but I prefer to call it a more interesting title of “marvellous MELON”!  Once the selection was made, I put the spool in my handbag, and I could easily take it with me as I looked for ties in the menswear departments at the shops.

Despite some difficulties in finding this colour in ties, as most these days seem to be more sombre – or striped (and I didn’t want to choose one honouring a football team), I finally located one. Oh happy wedding day!!

And a tie, just waiting to be worn

And a tie, just waiting to be worn

And yes, we had a wonderful time on the day – despite it reaching 38 degrees and 32 degrees around midnight.  The proud parents of the bride were appropriately ‘colour coordinated”

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Tuesday Treats: AQC Class and Workshop

Have you ever heard the saying, “My eyes were bigger than my stomach”? When the class booklet arrived last year from AQC with all the possible available classes I wanted to take them all. I had a tough time narrowing down my choices…think box of favourite chocolates.

Around the same time, Judy Neimeyer, from Quiltworx, was in town teaching several shop owners her newest quilt design. One of these shops is way too close to my house. You can see how easy it was for me to over indulge.

Yes, that’s right. I signed up for two days at the AQC AND the first installment of the Australian Glacial Star quilt to begin the next day. As the dates inched closer I began to question my judgment. I also had a friend visiting from overseas who was attending AQC as well and our time together usually involves fine food, good wine, and chats into the wee hours of the morning.

The adrenalin kicked in on the morning of AQC and I boarded the train into town toting all my class supplies; full of excitement.

by Susan Brubaker Knapp

by Susan Brubaker Knapp

My class with Susan Brubaker Knapp did not disappoint. I painted on fabric for the first time in my life and it actually looks like the picture.

First try at painting on fabric

First try at painting on fabric

Susan, an Aurifil sponsored designer, was very generous with her time and ideas and brought many samples of her beautiful work to class.

Class Samples by Susan Brubaker Knapp

Class Samples by Susan Brubaker Knapp

All this inspiration  carried me on to a local quilt shop, Palm Beach Quilting, and I began the journey into becoming a paper piecing expert.

Judy Niemeyer's paper piecing techniques

Judy Niemeyer’s paper piecing techniques

Maureen patiently taught us new techniques and introduced me to gadgets I had never seen before.

Maureen's New York Beauty

Maureen’s New York Beauty

The excitement was still driving me on to cut and sew…by the time I started home after 6 hours in class, I knew I had over indulged. I felt weary and a little light headed. I had one too many pieces of chocolate….I had ridden one too many rides at the fair. But I still knew  after a good nights’ sleep I would be back amongst my new projects and fabrics.

I have all year to rest before the next AQC and a full month to complete my homework before a new design is offered from the ‘chocolate box’…..yum….

So  jump into the deep end! Over indulge! You can never have too much when you are creating!

Tuesday Treats: AQC set up

I’ve got a good excuse for being a day late with this post!

We spent Tuesday packing Aurifil threads for delivery to retailers at the Australasian Quilt Convention. By the time I completed the deliveries today most of the stands were almost complete and it was looking exciting.

Kaye at Needles & Pins (stand 4) has got a good selection of Cotton Mako' 28, 40 & 50

Look for some beautiful applique designs at the Needles & Pins stand

You will find a good assortment of Cotton Mako’ 28 (for quilting), 40 (for patchwork piecing) & 50 (for applique) at the Needles & Pins stand.

Sue, at Miss Sampson's Drapery has a good selection of Cotton Mako' 28

Sue, at Miss Sampson’s Drapery has a good selection of Cotton Mako’ 28

Miss Sampson’s Drapery has a selection of rich dark Cotton Mako’ 28 colours that will work beautiful with the Jinny Beyer fabrics, and designs, that you will find on the stand.

Look for some great packs of Cotton Mako' 28 at the The Quilted Crow stand

Look for some great packs of Cotton Mako’ 28 at the The Quilted Crow stand

By the time I reached them, the girls at The Quilted Crow had their stand looking good.

The Quilted Crow Girls Cotton Mako' Collection "A"

The Quilted Crow Girls Cotton Mako’ Collection “A”

I dropped off  Cotton Mako’ 28, made up into Collections of colours that they had especially selected to work with their wool applique designs.

I also dropped off a Cotton Mako’ 50 display at the Elm Grove Patchwork stand, so be sure to stop by to re-stock your thread box.

As I walked through the convention centre I saw some of our other Aurifil retailers busy setting up their stands.

  • Ballarat Patchwork
  • Somerset Patchwork & Quilting
  • Millrose Quilting & Gallery

I also stopped for a chat with Lisa Walton, of Dyed & Gone to Heaven. Her new book, “Beautiful Building Block Quilts” is a must have for every patchworker’s library.

Stop by at Lisa's stand to buy a copy of her book.

Stop by at Lisa’s stand to buy a copy of her book.

There is so much to see at the Quilt Convention this weekend, so do have fun and don’t forget to visit our Aurifil retailers.

Choosing colours.

For many quilters, one of the most challenging aspects of making a quilt is choosing the colour scheme.  Today I want to share some ideas which have worked for me.

If I am making a quilt for a specific purpose/decor, I choose the feature fabric first and then use the colours within this fabric to aid my selection.  For example, when I made a “significant” birthday quilt for my sister a few years ago, I chose a fabric with green and purple because these are her favourite colours.  Then I chose other fabrics ( and Aurifil threads too!) which matched the colour palette of this fabric, being confident they would “go”.

Choosing colour blog 005

The border print used in my sister’s quilt.

The pattern I used was by Jenny Rofe and was published in Australian Patchwork and Quilting Magazine, Volume 10, numbers 7 and 8.

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The finished quilt – actually more green than it appears in this photo.

Many fabrics actually show all the colours used in a design along the edge of the selvedge.  This can be a great tool in aiding your colour selection.  Of course you don’t have to stick exactly to these colours and sometimes they “read”  a little differently in the design when they are mixed with other colours, but I have found this is a good starting point.

Choosing colour blog 001

You can see the selvedge “colour strip” of my feature fabric, used here to choose co-ordinating fabric and thread colours.

Here is the quilt that was created from these colours  (based on a Robyn Falloon design, but modified by myself).

Choosing colour blog 002

The finished quilt.

A very useful tool to help choose co-ordinating colours which “work” together is a colour wheel.  This has a scientific basis.

A colour wheel.

A colour wheel.

Another place of colour inspiration is in home decorating books – try looking in your library.

An example of an interior design book.

An example of an interior design book.

I have found that the more you play with colour, the more aware you become of colour all around you.  The colour combinations in floral arrangements at the florists always inspire me.

Recently, while waiting for my husband at Bunnings hardware store, (I have to be patient in such situations, since he waits for me while I visit quilting stores) I went to the paint department and chose the colour scheme for my next project.  I had a rough idea in mind, so I selected small paint-colour samples and played with these (tried different combinations) until I had a palette with which I was satisfied.  There are certainly plenty of colours from which to choose and small variations in shades can make quite a big difference to the overall effect. By the time we came out of the store,  both my husband and I were satisfied customers!!  Here is my selection.

Choosing colour blog 004

Paint colour samples in my chosen colour scheme.

I put these samples in a zip-lock bag in my handbag, ready to be used whenever I visited a quiltstore.  And here are the fabrics I chose to match.

The fabric collection for my next project.

The fabric collection for my next project.

Whenever you see something with a pleasing colour combination, take a photo on your phone  and keep it on file.  I originally saw this colour scheme in a window display of beachwear in Cairns (only I was a bit slow and didn’t take a photo!)

Don’t forget that if you are feeling unsure about a colour, your quilting friends and the friendly staff at your local quiltstore will be glad to give you advice.

Most importantly of all, whatever colours you choose and whatever method you use, the resultant colour scheme must be be that you like.

We at Always Quilting would love to hear how you choose your quilt colour schemes.

Tuesday Treats: Aurifil back in stock

Have you noticed how our Tuesday Treats seem to be slipping later into the week?

Well I’ve got a good excuse this week.

Boxes & Boxes of Cotton Mako’ 40 waiting to be counted & shelved

Our latest shipment of threads arrived yesterday so I spent the day trying to make space so that we could shelve the new stock.

Then today, it was all hands on deck as we unpacked, counted and put away boxes, & boxes, and even more boxes of thread.

Unpacking day is always a strenuous day,  but it is fun as we stop to check out the new goodies in the shipment.

Just have a look at these thread packs!

The colours in this pack were chosen by Edyta Sitar

The colours in this pack were chosen by Edyta Sitar

We managed to put everything away BUT it is a very tight squeeze on the shelves at the moment

So watch this space for a Space Maker Sale later this month

Of course tomorrow, I will have to start filling the orders and packing stock in preparation for delivering all the beautiful colours to the Aurifil retailers at the Australasian Quilt Convention in Melbourne next week.

So no rest for the next few days.

A Modern Welcome-Month 2

I hope you enjoyed creating your feature block last month. There have been several beautiful interpretations of A Modern Welcome. I am looking forward to the WIP’s (works in progress) photos after the Month 5 blog post.

This month we will be making the Four Patch Blocks

You will need to make 4 Four Patch Blocks

You will need to make 4 Four Patch Blocks

The directions are available as a free PDF by clicking on the link at the end of this post.

If you are a beginner, the four patch block is a perfect starting place for patchwork. As your confidence grows, the four patch can become design challenges all on their own.

Four Patch Possibilities

Four Patch Possibilities

The 5″ charm blocks you have picked out to make your four-patch blocks are cut in half into rectangles 2 1/2″ x 5″ so there are no diagonal cuts this month. All the seams are sewn using Aurifil 40wt Cotton Mako’ with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Cotton Mako' 40 is the best choice for piecing patchwork blocks

Cotton Mako’ 40 is the best choice for piecing patchwork blocks

I have included the quilt layout on a grid this month and placed my four patch blocks in the grid with my feature block for illustration purposes. You may want to place your blocks in different positions within the grid when all your blocks have been completed after month 5.

Welcome BOM Grid with my placement for four patch blocks

Welcome BOM Grid with my placement for four patch blocks

Until next time, enjoy your patchwork.

Collect the Four Patch piecing instruction this month and start stitching. (You do not need to register or “sign in” to access the patterns using this link. Once the page opens, simply use the “More Options” arrow, to the right of each file, to preview or download that file)

There will be several chances to win some wonderful raffle prizes just by sending us photos of your WIP (Work in Progress) after Month 5 and again with photos of your finished top after Month 10!

Let the fun begin!