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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Wednesday Wonder: Song Birds sing with Aurifil

Yesterday, I went out for the day with my patchwork friendship group so I ran out of time to prepare a ‘Tuesday Treat” this week, but all is not lost as it has given me an opportunity to share a “Wednesday Wonder” with you.

This delightful design, by Anita Goodesign has been stitched with Aurilux

This delightful design, by Anita Goodesign has been stitched with Aurilux

The photo was sent to me by one of our customers, a machine embroiderer, who took advantage of our Aurilux sale earlier in the year. She has asked not to be named, but said this in the email that accompanied the photo:

Here is my finished Aurilux project. The designs are from the Anita Goodesign collection called song birds, I am very happy with it , the threads are wonderful.

Ps you are welcome to post the photo but please don’t use my name

When we were discussing her order, she sent the photo below to show part of the project:

A close up of one of the birds in the design.

A close up of one of the birds in the design.

When she sent this photo she said:

……. I really like the  Aurilux threads and have been contemplating buying the full set for a while now  as my few colours are a bit limiting I also noticed your wonderful new cotton mako chest they look very smart  wish there was one for the Aurilux. Here is my latest project using Aurilux, it has so much more texture than if done on other threads.

It is a real treat for us to see the work that people stitch with the Aurifil threads.

If you would like to see your project featured in a future “Wednesday Wonder” send us an email with a good quality photo, and some information about the project and threads used.

We would love to hear from you.

Space Maker Sale

You know the old saying that you accumulate possessions to fill the available space … well I think that the space must have shrunk as we have way more stock than can possibly fit in the space.

So we are having a
Space Maker Sale
at our online store with a great offer
save 50% off the price
for Aurilux thread.

Aurilux satin finished polyester (216 colours in the range)

Aurilux satin finished polyester (216 colours in the range)

Here on the blog, we seem to talk about the Cotton Mako’ & Lana threads all the time, but we have tended to overlook the Aurilux  threads .

It is a very sad comment on my passion for traditional patchwork which means that I  spend very little time doing machine embroidery, either digitized or free motion.

All my beautiful examples of Aurilux machine embroidery have been stitched by other people.

This pretty butterfly was designed & stitched in Aurilux by Janice Heitbaum

This pretty butterfly was designed & stitched in Aurilux by Janice Heitbaum

However, my preference for patchwork does mean that I can happily confirm that the Aurilux (polyester) is great for machine quilting when you want to add a touch of glitz to the project.

It is a machine embroidery thread, and therefore has a similar breaking strength to a cotton thread that you would usually choose for machine quilting, making it “safe” to use single lines of stitching.

Unlike Rayon, which can break when it is wet, polyester threads are colourfast and have a good wet strength so they will stand up well to any laundering that a quilt may need, making Aurilux polyester thread a good choice to add a highlight to your quilting.

Free motion quilting with variegated threads on black fabrics can be very effective.

Free motion quilting with variegated threads on black fabrics can be very effective.

Aurilux also creates a neat machine stitched edge for applique. try it for both blanket stitch and satin stitch and you will be very happy with the results.

Just a tempting taste of all the beautiful colours in the Aurilux range

Just a tempting taste of all the beautiful colours in the Aurilux range

So pop over to the online store to stock up on some well priced Aurilux threads to jazz up your next project.

For more ideas for stitching with Aurilux:

Jazz up a T-shirt with Aurilux

Glitz up for Spring

Making Coasters with Aurilux

Using Aurilux to embellish an art piece

Another beautiful quilt embroidered with Aurifil threads

Wow! I’ve received a set of photos, and a story about a first quilt, from another one of our customers.

Remember earlier in the month when I wrote about Juliet’s quilt, I asked for more feedback about the quilts that you have made with Aurifil threads.

Well, Strella responded with this great story, and set of photos.

The centre of Strella’s embroidered quilt

Strella is a dedicate machine embroiderer but this is the first time that she has used embroidered blocks to make a quilt.

She said that the inspiration to start came from the Royal Reflections designs by Lyn Kenny.

The quilt was quite sometime in the making as Strella says:

I was intending to embroider some blocks for a quilt on my Pfaff 2140, in its big Grand Hoop but then I got a Pfaff Creative Vision in January 2008 and an even bigger Grand Dream Hoop. Wow, I won’t need so many blocks if they are bigger!

Strella found that she couldn’t resist playing with the embroidery designs. She wrote:

I created some blocks in Embird software for my GDH and sewed them out. However, each time I test sewed a block I decided I wanted to change something about it. May be it was to have the quilt line as a triple stitch instead of single running stitch, or change the colour combination. I could not decide on the colours for ages. Then I wanted a colour change within the circles. Where would my final decisions end?

Sounds familiar doesn’t it, when can a patchwork quilt maker ever resist modify and tweaking the design?

The bottom corner of Marlene’s quilt

Strella’s colour inspiration came from a fat quarter of a Jinny Beyer border fabric that she had purchased at a Quilt show in Melbourne the year before. As always happens, when you decide that you have found the perfect fabric in your stash you never have enough meterage for the job, but a very good friend helped her track down more on the internet.

So that was colour scheme sorted, especially as she had some satin-backed shantung in a light coffee to use as the background for the embroidery.

Strella said:

I had put the central blocks together and decided then to do the borders down each side to make it wider. I discarded the first border attempt after getting the hang of long lengths of stabilizer and basting in the hoop first.

The beautiful border designs

As often happens, what had started out to be a pair of single quilts ended up being a beautiful queen size quilt, as the embroidery & patchwork layout developed over time.

And of course the finishing touch to every quilt is the label.

An embroidered label, the perfect finish to a beautiful quilt

I have been lucky enough to watch the progress of this quilt over the years. Strella has been a regular visitor in the store to purchase Aurifil thread for the embroidery and piecing, and recently to even purchase the backing fabric.  So although I know very little about the machine embroidery techniques used, I can appreciate the beauty of this quilt when seen in real life.

Don’t forget that we love seeing work that you have completed with Aurifil threads.

So please send us good quality photos, and a brief story, so that we can share your project here with readers of our blog.

Free Motion Quilting Challenge Update

When ever I sign up for a Block of the Month OR a Design of the Month I become acutely aware of the how quickly time passes. It seems like I have just written about my FMQ accomplishments under the tutelage of Ann Fahl ….THAT was MARCH!!

The April FMQ tutor was Don Linn. Don has an interesting way of designing and marking quilt patterns onto the fabric. Once you have chosen your design, it is traced onto tulle. The tulle is placed onto your block and the design is transfered with a temporary marking tool. I used a Sewline pencil with green lead for my heart block. Don’s design wasn’t suitable for my heart block so I used one of Sue Patten‘s designs from her Quilting Possibilities book.

New Pattern Marking Techniques

Once the design was marked onto my block I had the new experience of staying on the marked line with my needle. I found this a bit awkward and the results are not as balanced as I would have liked. I filled the big gaps with “pebbles”.

Not wanting to lag behind again on this ‘monthly’ challenge, I completed the May FMQ challenge the day it appeared on Insights From SewCalGal‘s blog! The tutor for May is Leah Day. Leah’s tutorial video is very informative and she presents it in two parts. Several tools are recommended by Leah including the Supreme Slider and Quilting Gloves. One of Leah’s suggestions is to free motion stitch the straight lines as well as the design lines. She uses polyester thread in the top of the machine and in the bobbin. I may try this in the future on another project with Aurilux, but I want to keep the thread in this project consistent.

Part 2 of the tutorial presented  several options. I have used the first option as I think the design suited my crazy patch heart.  The heart was outlined with free motion quilting and then the large meandering was completed. I can honestly say I felt comfortable doing this so progress is being made. The secondary design is a smaller , winding meandering, filling in the larger foundation stitch.

Step 1Step 2

I will humble myself again…the back of the quilt shows my free motion, outline stitching of the heart block. There are a few wobbles and jumps but I am learning heaps. I really like the Supreme Glider and I think I can get used to the gloves. I am certainly feeling braver !

The back of the block

Christmas Present in Minutes

These cute coasters only take minutes to make. I found this fabulous video  http://www.youtube.com/user/clothworksfab and in a matter of minutes I had a finished present ready to wrap.

I decided to embellish one of the fabric pieces using Aurifil Brillo Metallic Thread and a variety of my fancy stitches on my sewing machine.

The Aurifil Brillo Adds some BLING!

Brilliant Brillo

I then decided to use my ‘Christmas Red’ Aurilux and created some holiday swirls.

Aurilux makes my swirls glisten

I have used Aurifil Ne-50wt thread in the bobbin with the Brillo AND the Aurilux.  This combination makes sewing these fancy stitches tangle free!

Christmas presents finished in a flash
If you had fun making these coasters, you might enjoy using the embroidery stitches on your machine to transform a plain cotton sheet set into a special gift.  
Find out more about how to use decorative stitches at “Sew4home“. 

Doors and Doorways

On the blog this month we  have been focusing on Aurilux threads  and so I  decided to use them for my art group project of “Doors and Doorways”.  I hadn’t had much practice with Aurilux, and like most quilters tend to ‘stick to’ sewing with the Aurifil Cotton Mako with cotton fabrics.   Of course there is no reason why I can’t use Aurilux to quilt with, as the sheen is lovely and the selection of colours fabulous.  I did a practice sample first to sort out the tension, and I put in a new sewing machine needle as well.  I always do this when I am about to quilt a new design.

Aurilux threads used in my project

For my Doors project I drew up my design in pencil and coloured in some areas using fabric pastels.  It was the first time I had tried them, and not only are they easy to use they can be blended easily giving even more colours.  Next I quilted the outlines of the door and brick surrounds using the threads.

Our art group encourages us to extend ourselves and try new techniques – so I  decided to add some names for doors on the bottom of the quilt, and some loosely cut out ivy leaves at the top.

Different words for 'doors and doorways'

To complete the quilt I put some ‘tendrils’ of
tapestry wools and other yarns from my stash.

I am looking forward to seeing what the other members of our group make using the theme, and I will be trying Aurilux again on my quilts.

Jazz Up A T-Shirt with Aurilux

Do you have a favourite shirt you love to wear but it needs a little ‘pick me up’?  Well, you can jazz it up with some simple designs and some Aurilux thread.

A simple line design to fit the area on my garment

I drew a sketch of the outline of the shirt front I wanted to embellish to make sure my design would fit the space. The design is easily altered by moving or eliminating any of the scrolled tendrils.

When I was happy with the design I traced the design onto a water soluble embroidery stabilizer . The online shop, www.alwaysquilting.com.au , offers several options, depending on the fabric content of your garment. The embroidery stabilizer is then tacked to the garment and I simply stitch on the lines through all the layers.

Stitch through the water soluble embroidery stabilizer and your garment

When you have finished the design follow the manufacturers directions to removed the embroidery stabilizer.

The Aurilux has a lovely sheen

 You can use a purchased garment or incorporate Aurilux into a garment you are constructing.

I love my ‘new’ shirt. I think the matching thread (pictured with my ensemble) adds an elegant touch to what was once, an ordinary t-shirt.

Aurilux colours are a perfect match (No, I did NOT 'wear' the spool... very big grin)

My embroidery design is available as a free download.
Browse the list of patterns on the left hand side of the screen to find the design.
Enjoy!

Let’s glitz up for Spring with Aurilux

As a “dyed in the wool cotton thread on cotton fabric” patchworker I don’t often talk about our Aurilux, the satin finished, polyester embroidery thread but in the past week something happened that made me look at the Aurilux threads with new eyes.

Just a small selection of thepretty variegated colours in the Aurilux range

We  had two textile artists in the shop who took one look at the rich glossy Aurilux  colours and went into raptures about where, and how, they could use the threads in their next projects.

Their reaction made me realise that it wasn’t fair to keep this lovely thread a secret, and Spring is the perfect time to start adding some glitz to our life (and work)

These pretty butterflies were embroidered several years ago by my friend Janice

Aurilux gives beautiful results when used for embroidery and it is also a great thread for quilting, when you are looking to add a touch of  light to a design.

You can read more about the Aurilux thread here on the blog or you can go directly to our online store to make a purchase.

So, as the gardens start to blossom for spring, there is no better time to start planning your own pretty spring project.