A Quilt A Month – YES!!!

It seems as though the bloggers at “Always Quilting” are working with hexagons. I did not realise Judy was going to post about her hexagon quilt this month, so readers of our blog will get a double dose of working with hexagons!
I have put the final stitches into my mini quilt today – to stitch on the binding. I had given myself the challenge of completing three quilts in three months after being given three different Moda mini charm  packs. As well as having bragging rights in completing the quilts, I also had something to write about on this blog!!
This range of fabrics from Moda is called Three Sisters Lario, and is a much more gentle colour palette than what I would normally choose.  It is good to work outside your favourite colour preference, though having written that, I think I use quite a variety of colours and patterns in fabrics when quilting.

Paper Piecing
I needed to make the mini quilt a certain size (to fit on my wire quilt frame) and realised the squares, if made into hexagons would not be large enough to cover the area. So I appliqued them to a background fabric.

Fabric Background

Not, any background fabric, but one of my ‘sacred’, ‘never to be used’, ‘only to look at’, or for special occasions.  I had to be brave, and the fabric worked with the colours of the charm squares – and needed to be used up.
I had paper pieced the hexagons, using a Ne 40 weight (green spool) in cream. I know some people use the finer Ne 50 (orange spool) but I prefer the Ne 40.

I quilted  with Ne 28 (grey spool) 5007 and ditch stitched around each hexagon, as I wanted them to stand out on the background fabric.

When trying to find a ‘location’ for a final photo, I realised that the colours in the quilt matched with a beautiful Gien French plate I own.


Thanks Judy for my gift, and making me think about using some fabrics I would not have chosen for myself. I have enjoyed the challenge of making three completely different quilts in three months.


Tuesday Treats-The Hexagon Bug Has Bitten

I fought the Hexagons as long as I could.

When knitsnquilts wrote about her lovely Quilt-As-You-Go hexagons back in July,

I was tempted to join the ‘hexi-harem’ then, but I fought the urge. But then, I began seeing hexagons EVERYWHERE.

Patchwork Papers from Busy Fingers

Patchwork Papers from Busy Fingers

It seemed the little, pretty, multi-sided papers were all around me.

If I wasn’t seeing paper hexagons, I was seeing them tiled on walls and floors and THEN

in that Swedish furniture store that uses hexagon shaped tools to fit hexagon hardware!

Hexagons Everywhere

Hexagons Everywhere

Back to that in a moment…..

My stitching friendship group had produced two beautiful versions of Anne Sommerlad’s Hanazono quilt. This quilt is made of 25 blocks, each using hexagons as flowers. After getting this pattern, I began to ‘see’ hexagons in every piece of fabric I owned.

Fabric for Block 1

Fabric for Block 1

Fabric for Block 2

Fabric for Block 2

So far I have finished 2 blocks.

Aurifil Cotton Mako 50wt for joining hexagons and applique

Aurifil Cotton Mako 50wt for joining hexagons and appliqué

I am doing the appliqué and joining of hexagons with the fine Aurifil Mako 50wt thread.

Aurifil Cotton Mako 12 wt for embroidery

Aurifil Cotton Mako 12 wt for embroidery

I am doing the embroidered stems with gorgeous Aurifil Mako 12wt thread.

Block 1 with thread and fabric

Block 1 with thread and fabric

Block 2 finished

Block 2 finished

And then I saw this in that Swedish Furniture Store.

It will be displayed in my sewing room…

where time always flies….’cause I’m having fun!

Piecing Hexagons without Needle and Thread
Piecing Hexagons without Needle and Thread          
Time to Stitch my Hexagons

Time to Stitch my Hexagons

Follow our Blog to keep up with all the great projects my colleagues work on…… as I convince them all to become members of the ‘Hexagon Harem’.

Quilt Labels

Each time I complete a quilt, I am challenged by the addition of a suitable label.

My favourite labels are created using a design element from the quilt top.  For example….

Qulit labels 001

This is the quilt for which I made this label.

july to sept 2009 002And this is the particular block which inspired it.

Qulit labels 002

For my Christmas Galaxy quilt, I used a star block as my label.

Spring 2013 027Qulit labels

When writing on a quilt label, I usually use a Pigma or Zig Millenium pen.  The Always Quilting online store has these available in a range of colours. http://www.alwaysquilting.com.au/index.php?act=viewCat&catId=139

If I wish to use a particular style of lettering, I will type up my text on the computer using a font I like.  I select the appropriate size, print it out and then trace the text onto my quilt label over a lightbox. This was how I made the label below….

Qulit labels 003….which goes with this quilt.

blog photos Xmas @ knitsnquilts 011

Sometimes I will use a photo in a label, especially if a quilt is made to celebrate a special event or occasion.

This quilt was made especially to go in our caravan when we travelled around the eastern half of Australia in 2008.Qulit labels 005

Here is the label.

Qulit labels 006Sadly, we no longer have our caravan.  But whenever I look at the quilt label, and see the photo which was taken in outback Queensland, I am reminded of the fun we had during our 15 weeks on the road.

Here is a quilt I made for my sister to celebrate a significant birthday.

NZ Dec2010 013

On its label I used a photo of my sister and myself playing together in the backyard as children, and a more recent photo of the two of us.

NZ Dec2010 016

However, a word of caution if you are planning to wash a quilt label made in this way.  If there is  any loose dye from the fabrics in the wash water, it tends to be absorbed by the printable fabric. Be guided by the manufacturer’s instructions.  Remove the label before laundering if in doubt!

Another option for labeling quilts is to purchase a ready-made label. These are available in many styles, in black and white and in colour, for general purposes and for special occasions.  The Always Quilting online store has dozens to choose from which you can view here. http://www.alwaysquilting.com.au/index.php?page=2&act=viewCat&catId=114

You will notice that some of the labels are suitable for colouring in, enabling you to create a label which matches the colour scheme of your quilt. If you choose this option, you may wish to check out the range of Fabrico pens. http://www.alwaysquilting.com.au/index.php?page=0&act=viewCat&catId=114

Whether you are writing on a quilt label or colouring in, I suggest you use a piece of freezer paper,  ironed onto the back of the label, while you work.  This acts as a stabiliser and provides a firm surface on which to work.

What is your favourite quilt labeling method?  We’d love to hear your inspirational ideas!

Tuesday Treats: "Little green threads"

Or should that have been little green men?

Aurifil cotton Mako' spools formatted in a four lead clover

I am a day ahead for a change as St Patrick’s day was too good an opportunity to miss when I had a photo to share of my favourite threads.

I’ve often talked about how Aurifil’s Cotton Mako’ 40 thread weight is my “go to” thread for general sewing, patchwork & quilting.

I think of it as the “all purpose” thread in my collection as I like the fact that it has a little more body than Cotton Mako’ 50, while still being fine enough to stitch a spot on 1/4″ seam when piecing and have ditch stitching lines disappear into the seam line when quilting.

I know lots of people use, & blog, about the Cotton Mako’ 50 threads and I often wonder if this is because they think the Mako’ 40 is a thicker thread, like many of the other 4o weight threads on the market.

With this in mind, we conducted a test at our last staff meeting.

It was a very subjective test, but a comparison test none the less, using as many other threads that we could scrounge up in our sewing rooms.

Comparing the Aurifil Cotton Mako' threads with other threads on the market.

With some of the threads it was immediately easy to see that, although they were designated a size “40”, they were different and often much thicker and, or, rougher than our Cotton Mako’ 40.

Others required a blind (eyes closed) touchy feely assessment to see if each of us could feel the difference between different threads when we didn’t know what we were touching.

In each case we came back to the fact that when handling Cotton Mako’ 40 it  was

  • smooth
  • fine &
  • strong

When talking to groups I always say that, like women’s dress sizes, there is not a single definitive international standard measuring system for thread.

Rather there are many different ways to express thread measurements,  so measurements within a brand relate to each other but do not relate directly to measurements in another brand.

Not very helpful when you first start choosing threads but you quickly learn to choose threads by feel, choosing the ones that give you the result you want for your stitching.


As I said earlier, for me the all purpose general sewing , patchwork & quilting thread is Cotton Mako’ 40.

And the reason why St Patrick’s day was the perfect opportunity for my shout out about Cotton Mako’ 40?

Cotton Mako’ 40  is the thread weight that is packaged on the green spool spindles.

PS:  I could resist including a photo of the green hair bow worn by one of the entertainers at a street parade this month.

Tuesday Treats: Monday in disguise

Monday public holidays always throw my week into colourful chaos.

Some of the Aurifil orders picked ready to be packed

Not that I don’t enjoy a day at home, or out at an exhibition, free from work but ….

it does mean that the Aurifil orders from the weekend, that we would normally have picked and posted on a Monday, are still waiting for us on a Tuesday.

Aurifil Cotton Mako' 12 spools are great for hand embroideryDon’t you just wonder how these gorgeous Cotton Mako’ 12 weight pinks and purples will be used.

Aurifil Lana wool thread, in two spool sizesWhat about these Lana wool colours?

Aurifil Cotton Mako' 50 makes invisible stitches in needle turn applique easyor this collection of small Cotton Mako’ 50 spools?

Needle turned applique maybe?

Adding an Aurifil Cotton Mako' colour chart to your order is a clever ideaThis clever customer included an Aurifil colour chart with her order of Cotton Mako’ 40 threads

This customer has taken advantage of the discount for pre-selected thread packs in this orderand this one included some of our pre-packed selections in her order of Cotton Mako’ 28

Not all the orders go out to consumers.

The starter kits for an Aurifil thread club are ready to be posted out to a shop. Luck customers!The lucky customers at this Patchwork shop are about to start receiving an Aurifil thread club.

A new shop has just ordered an assorted range of colours as a starter to introduce customers to Aurifiland once we box and pack this order for posting, it will make a great starter selection to introduce customers at a patchwork shop to the joy of working with Aurifil thread.

As often happens after a day of picking & packing orders for our online store, I went home with a head spinning with colour.

this customer ordered a colourful selection of Cotton Mako' 40 & 50 weight threads

This customer ordered a colourful selection of Cotton Mako’ 40 & 50 weight threads

Tuesday Treats: Aurifil Threads, Reproduction Quilts and Michelle Yeo

I had the best of treats last week picking thread colours with Michelle, of Michelle Yeo Designs.

Michelle uses Cotton Mako' 28 for blanket stitching when stitching Broderie Perse applique

Michelle uses Cotton Mako’ 28 for blanket stitching when stitching Broderie Perse applique

Michelle is frequently a guest tutor at patchwork retreats around the country and, when the classes are not held in a shop, she likes to have some of her favourite  threads available for students to purchase.

So Michelle & I spent the afternoon picking colours to set up some portable thread collections for her to carry to classes in this situation.

You all know how frustrating it can be to find that you need a different thread colour when you are working away from home.  Well there will now threads available when you need them.

Cotton Mako' 50 is the best choice for needle turned applique

Cotton Mako’ 50 is the best choice for needle turned applique

Michelle specializes in reproduction quilts,  inspired by quilts of the past, and the classes for her next Retreat are from her St Barnabas designs so we needed to pick threads for piecing, needle turned applique and broderie perse.

Michelle uses:

Little four packs of Cotton Mako' 50 & 40 in basic colours will work  with a variety of fabrics

Little four packs of Cotton Mako’ 50 & 40 in basic colours will work with a variety of fabrics

As Michelle often travels interstate to retreats we  had to come up with a plan to include colours in all three thread weights while still keeping the actual volume of the items to a minimum so that everything will fit into her luggage.

Changing planes several times, and flying in smaller planes, means luggage restrictions that you don’t face when you can simply pile things into a car and drive to a retreat.

Picking colours for other people, when the fabrics are sight unseen, is not the easiest of tasks.

We were like children in a lolly shop as we agonized over this & that colour before finally settling on 18 individual colours and several collections.

Yummy flower colours for broderie perse

Yummy flower colours for broderie perse

We tried to pick thread colours that will work with a range of reproduction fabrics, and colours that have a chameleon effect, reading differently depending upon the colour of the fabric with which the thread is being matched.

And variety when only that colour will do for needle turned applique.

And variety when only that colour will do for needle turned applique.

The final treat for the day was when Michelle pulled a copy of her book out of her bag to show me …. I love books and this one is just so collectable.


“Of Needle, Thimble and Thread”  is a beautiful book featuring 18 of Michelle’s original quilt designs.  The book is published by Quiltmania.  The quilts were artistically photographed in France, and there are detailed instructions, full sized patterns sheets and diagrams for each quilt featured in the book.

The production is excellent,  printed on high quality paper,  a great design layout  and Michelle says that the quilt photographs are “true to colour”.  It really is a must have book for any quilter’s library.

Follow the links on the Michelle Yeo Designs website to find out more about her classes or to purchase “Of Needle, Thimble and Thread”

It really was a day worthy of featuring in Tuesday Treats.

PS:  We enjoy helping our shops, and designers, customize threads for workshops, and events, so don’t forget to contact us next time you are doing something special.