Oh dear, it comes around again.

Yes, the shops are starting to fill up with Christmas decorations, the catalogues are full of gift suggestions, and my calendar is filling up with end of year celebrations. I know I should be very happy to get so many invitations out  and have people to buy gifts for – but IT HAS COME AROUND TOO QUICKLY!!!!!!
Looking in the Always Quilting shop I discovered some ideas for Kris Kringles or gift making. Re the latter – I had better get sewing quickly if I want to make a quilt! but some of the other ideas are done much quicker – or don’t involve any sewing at all.
My ideas list:

A “quick” cushion??

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Perhaps a table runner – or one table mat??
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A Christmas Stocking??IMG_0006
For those with more time on their hands than me, a lovely Christmas quilt
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Can always give a card (for someone else to make!)
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For a special friend, a collection of thread??IMG_0011
A quilt label??IMG_0013
And always appreciated – more Christmas fabric and some gorgeous Brillo thread!!IMG_0008

You can check out the Always Quilting online store for more ideas. I hope you can find something special for your gift buying.

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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Brillo Workout!

Here is a short video about the Aurifil Metallic Thread, Brillo that I used in my Christmas-present-in-minutes blog post. I wanted to show you how reliably this thread performs without altering my machine settings.

I know many of you will adjust your machine’s tension and use a special Metallic or Embroidery needle with metallic thread. The metallic and embroidery needles (available from www.alwaysquilting.com.au) have a deeper cut away in the scarf at the back of the needle and a bigger eye. This keeps the thread from becoming overheated whilst stitching.

With all these particular instructions in mind, I wanted to use Brillo without changing a thing! Brilliant results!

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“. 

Lana flowers make a neat trimming

Last Saturday I was guest speaker at the Sea Breeze Quilter’s  meeting. The day was wet & blustery outside but it was still a great day as we were snug, and busy, inside at the Altona Meadows library.

As usual I rattled on about thread, why cotton thread works so well for patchwork and why Aurifil thread is nice to use and of course I always mention the other textile art threads in the Aurifil range when I give one of my trunk show talks.

Doris crocheted these beautiful medallions with 2 strands of Lana & 1 strand of Brillo

I must have inspired Doris G. to go home that night and start crocheting with the Lana thread, because the next day I received this wonderful photo above.

Doris had purchased a spool of  variegated pink 8005, a solid pink 8442 & spool of Brillo 800 which she worked together with a fine crochet hook.

I had warned her that miniature crochet with Lana was addictive, and she said it was great fun, and that she would be making more when she worked out a project to use the flower motifs.

Seeing these pretty motifs set me thinking and I had to start writing a list of hand crafted Christmas ideas:

  • Make them into snowflakes …just imagine them made up in shades of  silver and white, hanging on the Christmas tree
  • Stack several together to make a brooch
  • Attach fittings to individual motifs to make earings
  • Stitch several to the ends of a scarf to create a designer look

Back in August I posted some photos of the brooch and necklet  that I had made crocheting with Cotton Mako 12 and I think similar designs could be made with Lana.

If you want to make your own Lana motifs you can download a free crochet pattern from the panel on the left.  Lana & Cotton Mako’ 12 are available for purchase from the Always Quilting online store

So what do you think?

Do you have any clever ideas for using miniature crochet motifs?

We would love to hear your ideas for using crochet motifs so please add a comment.

Christmas Cheating

I suppose my blog this month should be titled “Christmas Cheater Panel”  as I am showing some quilting I did on a panel I was given.
As I was in a hurry to complete the panel as well as  make some Christmas gifts for my patchwork friends, I did a minimum amount of quilting on the panel.

I also think that the Christmas decorations are only up for such a short period, it is not ‘worth’ the effort in going overboard with the quilting. The beauty and pattern of the panel is the important thing – enhanced by the quilting.

My panel with some Brillo quilting on it.

I used the Brillo – the Aurifil metallic thread to quilt around the letters of the panel, and on some of the other pictures. The spools of Brillo are made of wood, and in themselves an attractive item.  I used a topstitch or metallic needle and took my time quilting – feed dogs down and free motion.
On the other ‘illustrations’, I used some Ne 28 or Ne 50 Cotton to outline some of the details.

Some more of the quilting on the panel

Soon – too soon to me – I will be putting up the Christmas quilts, wall hangings and decorations – and hurriedly completing gifts for my friends.

How to have fun playing with variegated thread.

This month, our feature thread from the Aurifil range is not really a thread, more like a dyeing technique, as we are talking about variegated colours.  You will find a good variety of variegated threads in the Cotton Mako’, Lana & Aurilux ranges. 

A glorious collection of variegated threads form Aurifil

 There are some multi-colour variegations, but mostly the variegations consist of one colour that runs from light to dark, and back, along the strand of thread so even the Brillo threads could be mistaken for variegated colours as the metallic thread glitters light & dark.

The self variegated threads create beautiful water colour effects when used for thread painting, a topic that I will discuss later this month.

These Brillo threads could be mistaken for variegated colours as the metallic thread sparkles light & dark

 Late last year we featured our crochet projects using the Lana thread. When we did this it set me thinking about what would happen if we crocheted with the Cotton Mako’ 12, which is a similar thickness to the Lana thread.

 I had great fun crocheting these flowers with 2 & 3 strands of a variegated Cotton Mako’ 12  (colour 4647). I beaded them and stitched them to cord before combining them with tassels and a strand of beads to make a necklace (not my own idea, as I used a necklace that I had previously purchased as the inspiration)

I crocheted these flowers using a variegated colour in Cotton Mako' 12

I also turned one flower into a brooch by stitching it on to a large button back. Such simple projects, but they get compliments every time I wear them.

If you want to have fun making your own crochet flowers you will find our crochet instructions in the download box to the left of the screen and you can purchase Aurifil threads from our online store.

 

December First! IS Your Advent Calendar Ready to Go?

I like everything about Christmas. I like the smells, the music, the gatherings and the decorations. I took a class in 1999 and produced one of my favourite decorations. This Advent wall hanging has 24 trees with 3-D trunks!

Favourite Advent Calendar

Over the past few years the little pockets have enjoyed a variety of treats. Finding tempting items that actually fit into these tiny pockets has always been a joyful, if sometimes difficult, endeavor.
I think I have finally found the perfect treat. The small spools of Aurifil in all the different thread weights, including the metallic Brillo, fit so well! Can you think of a more delightful way to enjoy all the days BEFORE Christmas?

A SPOOL A DAY KEEPS THE ‘BAH HUM BUGS’ AWAY!!

Counting down the sleeps 'til Christmas