Christmas Greetings

Christmas

from all of us at Always Quilting.  We have now ‘shut the shop’ and will be on a holiday until January 13, 2014.  Some of us are travelling far away from home, while others are just staying put.  We are all hoping that the temperatures won’t be as hot as 39  degrees, like we had this week, but knowing the fickle Melbourne climate, the weather is very changeable and we could be looking for our warm clothes by the time the new year arrives!

Christmas Star

We have planned some exciting projects to share with you in 2014 and we are working on them over the holiday period (well – some of us are – in between eating Christmas leftovers!).

We wish all our blog readers a very Happy Christmas, and a safe and healthy year ahead.  May the New Year bring time for completion of ‘old’ projects and some time to start some new ones – all using Aurifil threads of course!!

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Tuesday Treats: One Aurifil size does NOT have to fit all (part 3)

I’ve already written about Cotton Mako’ 40 & Cotton Mako 28 so now it is time to feature Cotton Mako’ 12

A selection of Cotton Mako' 12 threads

A selection of Cotton Mako’ 12 threads

This is the thickest thread in the Cotton Mako’ range.

Cotton Mako' 12 is the thickest thread in the range

Cotton Mako’ 12 is the thickest thread in the range

It works beautifully as a substitute for traditional hand embroidery stranded floss or pearl threads as:

  • It does not require splitting and re-aligning before use
  • The threads do not split when the stitches are formed
  • The thread has a smoother twist when compared to a pearl thread so it is easy to pull through the fabric
Zoe Clifton's beautiful embroidery design stitched in Cotton Mako' 12

Zoe Clifton’s beautiful embroidery design stitched in Cotton Mako’ 12

Try it for stress free modern hand quilting

Cushions using Cotton Mako' Ne 12 for the hand stitching detail

Cushions using Cotton Mako’ Ne 12 for the hand stitching detail

or for bold machine quilting

Bold machine quilting looks good when stitched in Cotton Mako' 12

Bold machine quilting looks good when stitched in Cotton Mako’ 12

Cotton Mako’ 12 also gives great results when used for crochet

Try your hand at crocheting with Cotton Mako' 12

Try your hand at crocheting with Cotton Mako’ 12

or Punchneedle embroidery

Punchneedle embroidery with Cotton Mako' 12

More Cotton Mako’ 12 delights to be found on these pages:

Christmas@knitsnquilts

Each year, at this time, we bring out our collection of Christmas decorations.  It is always enjoyable, taking off the wrapping and being re-acquainted with the items, some of which have been part of family traditions for many years, others of which have been recently made or purchased.  It’s a bit like an annual reunion!!

Allow me to take you on a tour of some of my Christmas decorations.

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The Advent wreath.

The first to go up is the Advent wreath, which marks the four weeks prior to Christmas.

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Our oldest nativity.

We have a number of nativity sets. This is the oldest (sorry about the flash reflection). The clothing is actually real fabric dipped in some kind of starching solution. Poor Joseph gets a bit “tipsy” each year and has to be supported with Blutak!

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A newer, more glitzy nativity.

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A simple Peruvian nativity.

Parts of our house have a blue carpet, so a number of years ago, we added blue decorations to our collection.

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Blue and silver Christmas tree decorations.

Although the blue tree lights were on when I took this photo, they don’t really show up here.  What does show up however(big sigh) is the lack of tree skirt.  One is in the making, and I am currently quilting it using Aurifil Cotton Mako 12, but I suspect is in danger of becoming a new year’s resolution(again)!!

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More blue decorating.

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My Heartwood Creek angel by Jim Shore….blue of course!

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Patchwork table centrepiece.

You may recognise this one, made for last Christmas using a Marg Low pattern.

Newly made in 2012.

And the latest piece, purchased just yesterday!

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My latest decoration purchased yesterday.

A number of years ago, pre-patchwork , I made Christmas wreaths.

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Wreath about 30cm diameter.

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Smaller wreath. This one is about 15cm diameter.

My daughter-in-law’s mother is a talented cook and makes many Gingerbread houses each year.

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A pleasure to look at and to eat!

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Hand appliqued and hand quilted runner.

And of course, no home is completely decorated without quilts!

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Friendship quilt.

The blocks in this quilt were made by members of Launceston Patchworkers and Quilters in 1998 when I was a member of that group.  Each year all members are asked to make a block.  The blocks are arranged into groups of 9 and anyone who has not already received blocks goes into a draw to receive a set.  The recipient then has to make her quilt.  The hardest part for me was to choose a sashing fabric which worked with all the blocks.

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Moda pattern and fabrics.

This large hand appliqued quilt hangs over the stair railing.  This is one of my favourite applique patterns.

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“Christmas Galaxy” quilt.

Thank you for visiting!

May your Christmas be a happy and safe one and just a bit “stitchy”!

Tuesday Treats: A Stunning doll for Christmas

One of the great treats that comes from being a guest speaker, taking the Aurifil thread products story  to Guild meetings, is the opportunity to see the members’ show & tell.

I love seeing the wide range of patchwork, and  textile talent, that the members share with each other at their meetings, and each guild is always different.

This incredible doll, made by Barbara Strickland, was a highlight at the show & tell at the  Point Nepean Patchwork Guild meeting in October.

Barbara-StricklandWhen Barbara gave me permission to share my photo she said that she made this doll, and all the clothes and accessories, at classes with Helen Pierce in Mornington (Victoria).

You can see that the St Nicholas doll is quite tall and his jacket, and the eggs, were beautifully beaded.

Just stunning! and a beautiful Christmas decoration.

Last But Not Least

Here we are at the end of our Block of the Month Journey.

A Modern Welcome Finished size 20x24

A Modern Welcome
Finished size 20×24

We chose our charm squares; cut and sewed; layered and quilted: and now it is time to complete the finishing touches and enjoy our creations.

Last month, after our quilting was finished, we trimmed the excess backing even with the top.

Binding cut and trimmed ready for pressing

Binding cut and trimmed ready for pressing

These pieces are carefully cut to 2 “widths and all 4 pieces (one from each side) are sewn together creating the binding. The 2” binding is pressed in half and applied in the normal way, creating a mitre at the corners. I stitch my binding down to the back of the piece by hand using Aurifil 40wt Cotton Mako. Jane Wickell has a great tutorial on making and applying bindings.

You will want to show off your new creation and a hanging sleeve can be made for easy display. Have a look at Susan Brubakers Knap’s instructions and Nancy Zieman demonstrates how to make a rod pocket for a show quilt.

The label is the last and most important item on your quilt.I have decided to use a pre-printed label.

Label for my BOM

Label for my BOM

We have some lovely quilt hangers in the shop and our labels come in many designs.

Each label has suggestions for the items to be included for future reference.

Information for a label

Information for a label

I hope you have enjoyed making your Modern Welcome BOM.

Tuesday Treats: Just Spooling Around with Aurifil

Following on from Ladybirdee’s market report we thought we would share the pattern for our “Spooling Around” quilt.

AQM-spool-quilt

All the slaves, I mean workers, at Always Quilting had a hand in the making of the spooling around quilt.

Judysew4th created the initial design in Electric Quilt in time for one of our staff meetings. We all, then had a say in modifying the blocks to end up with a quilt that is approximately 100cm x 100cm.

Once the  patterns were fine tuned, we each had the job of making a set of blocks (1 x large spool, 2 x medium size large spools & 8 x small spools) in time for the next staff meeting.

We decided we wanted a modern quilt look with the spools set in a bright white background, using the Aurifil spool colours for the bases (orange, green, grey & red) and as many “thread” colours as we fancied.

The layout for our "Spooling Around" quilt

The layout for our “Spooling Around” quilt

I got the job of  piecing the quit top and it was very satisfying to find that the blocks all fitted together perfectly …. our measurements worked!

We opted for a squarish “edge to edge” background quilting design around the four large spools, then quilted each of these separately using the thread weight that matched the spool.

After all it was a display piece for our Quilt Market stand.

The large spools have been quilted in the relevant thread weight.

The large spools have been quilted in the relevant thread weight. Cotton Mako’ 28 was used here for the spool with the grey base & spindle

Keep reading for instructions to make your own version of our quilt:

We used 4 large spool blocks, 8 medium size versions of the large spool & 32 small spool blocks for our quilt. You should make as many blocks as you need to create your own version.

Spooling Around Quilt Fabric Requirements:

Pieced with Cotton Mako’ 40
Quilted with Cotton Mako’ 40 (ditch stitching & background quilting) & Cotton Mako’ 50, Cotton Mako’ 40, Cotton Mako’ 28 & Cotton Mako’ 12 for the “thread” quilting on the spools

For one Large Spool:

Large Spool

Large Spool

Background fabric:

Cut 2 x A (2 1/2″ x 12 1/2″)
Cut 2 x B (2  1/4″ x 1 1/2″)
Cut 2 x E (1 1/2″ x 10″)

Spool Fabric:

Cut 1 x F  (2 1/2″  x 1  1/2″)
Cut 1 x D  (6″ x 1 1/2″)

Thread Fabric:

Cut 1 x C  (6″ x 10  1/2″)

For One Medium size Version of Large Spool:

Medium version of Large Spool Shape

Medium version of Large Spool Shape

Background Fabric:

Cut 2 x A (1 1/2″ x 7 1/2″)
Cut 2 x B (1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″)

Spool Fabric:

Cut 1 x B (1 1/2″ x 1 1/2′)
Cut 1 x D (3 1/2″ x 1 1/2″)

Thread Fabric:

Cut 1 x C (3 1/2″ x 5 1/2″)

For one Small Spool block:

small-spool

Background fabric:

Cut 2 x A  (4″ x 1 1/2″)
Cut 1 x B (1 1/2″ x 1″)

Spool Fabric:

Cut 2 x B (1  1/2″ x 1″)

Thread Fabric:

Cut 1 x C  (2 1/2″ x 1 1/2″)

Piecing Blocks Together:

 Two medium blocks are the same height as a single large block so the block layout is interchangeable.

These blocks can be set to the  left or right of each other

These blocks can be set to the left or right of each other

The small spools make a versatile sashing set.

Use the small spool blocks to make sashing sets

Use the small spool blocks to make sashing sets

Add borders to suit your preferred quilt size.

I hope you have fun making your own version of our Spooling Around with Aurifil quilt.