Miniature Versions.

Quilters are always making quilts for others, sometimes for loved family members and dear friends, sometimes for charitable causes, and sometimes as commissions. A couple of years ago I made a quilt for a young family member who was facing some traumatic experiences.

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To read the full story go to Made with Love (Nov 2013)

Much love went into the quilt’s construction and after the quilt was with its new owner I decided to make a miniature version for myself. Not only does the mini quilt help to decorate a spot in my quilting studio, but it also serves to remind me of the person who received the full-size version.

Another sewing month

While some of my work colleagues have been on holiday this month to warmer climes,  I’ve had to put up with cold Melbourne weather with only the occasional breaks in cold Melbourne temperatures.

However, my garden did tell me spring is on the way with bulbs coming up

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and when out walking, the park showed me this

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enough for the hay fever sufferers reach for their tissues and medications.

So, I haven’t got much to show for this month’s blog – other than some sewing.  My colleagues, will of course, have blog entries from all sorts of travel locations in the following weeks!  (sense a little envy here on my part?!).

First up is my work on the Quilter’s Newsletter Christmas Quilt (as reported on in my blog post last month).  I only have to make 20 of these little charmers – and that should be done in a week before the next download pattern comes available. No pressure here!Christmas QuiltThen I’ve been sewing a challenge quilt – can’t show much of that, except for the fabrics which were purchased in July and the deadline to get this one done is November:Challenge QuiltI’ve tried to do some more on my  ” Birdsville” by Wendy Williams:WW Birdsand help make blocks for a raffle for next year:

Raffle quiltand make a block for the guild’s retreat I attend each October with the theme “Step back in time” :

Retreat Block

In between times, I have completed a ‘modern’ baby quilt for a yet to be born first baby.  I can’t show the finished item yet, as it is a ‘surprise’ for the mum (and dad) to be:

Present

I have brought out the tiny hexagons for another airing at the wholesale trade fair in November.  We are organising our display for the Aurifil booth:

Quilt Market

And finally, I have started my Christmas sewing (yes, it isn’t that long to go when you make gifts):

Christmas sewing

All in all, I think I have done a little bit of work this month – but the pile of unfinished items still seems to grow!

Inspiration Islands.

At the New Zealand Quilt Symposium in January 2015, I had the privilege of listening to a lunchtime lecture  by Sheena Norquay from the United Kingdom.  Sheena’s  talk was for 45 minutes, and it was inspiring.  I could have listened for another hour at least as her photos (80 or more) and the information imparted was fascinating.  The lecture was titled ” Quilts and the Orkney Influence“.

From symposium catalogue it says

”  the lecture shows how the landscape, seas, skies and wildlife of the Orkney Islands, where Sheena was born, has influenced her work. Sheena finds Orkney’s colour palette and special quality of light very inspiring, as well as its rich Viking heritage; in particular, Norse myths and legends which she often incorporates into her pictorial quilts”. 

The talk gave me an insight into how living in such a remote location can influence your quilting – both in design of a quilt and the quilting designs.  It made me think about the Australian and New Zealand landscapes and the colour choices I would make.

I must admit I had never heard of Sheena Norquay until at the shop, I came across some of her thread selections.  We have in stock her Autumn Selection in Ne 50 (Kit Art box 1300m) and small box (200m) plus her Seascape Selection in 1300m and 200m boxes.

Recently we ordered another thread box “Linen and Lace” – a mixture of linen threads,  floss, Lana wool and cotton mako Ne 12.  I am very tempted to buy it for myself! (email us if you want more information about this collection)

Aurifil Pack

Very very nice colours inside!

Inside Aurifil Pack

When the Symposium catalogue arrived, I noticed that Sheena was one of the tutors, and I had hoped that I could do a class with her when I put in my preferences for tutor selection.  Sadly I couldn’t get into a class (but was very happy with the tutors I did learn from!) and  I did get to see some of her work close up though  (sorry about the photo – it was hard to stand back far enough to take a distance photo – plus the two quilts were long and narrow).

Sheena Norquay

The tutors exhibition had this wonderful piece of work on display – the detail in the quilting is amazing. I want to run my hand over the stones – they look so realistic.  The colours merge from one piece to the other.

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and another (just lower down on the same quilt). Look at the little birds.

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Thank you Sheena for your inspiring words and making me research the islands you love so much.

Not the perfect match

Jenny and I were delighted to see the February issue of Australia’s “Homespun” magazine in the shop this week.  It is always a good read, with lots of projects to do and plenty of articles about patchwork and sewing plus great advertisements  to drool over.

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Several of our customers had mentioned that they were going to be selling the Homespun Block of the Month “China Blue” in their patchwork shops, and some had mentioned they would like some suitable Aurifil thread packs that would also work with the fabrics.

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We knew that Kathy Doughty (from Material Obsession), one of the designers of this block of the month  was an Aurifil stockist, and we noted that Kathy recommends, in the materials list, Aurifil 50 in a neutral colour like 2900.

This got us thinking.  What other colours could we use to make up a small pack of threads for this amazing BOM and to go with the fabulous Kaffe Fassett  fabrics?   Always Quilting has a small range of Kaffe Fassett fabrics, so we selected a few, and matched them up with our thread selection.  This was a very difficult task as Aurifil has 270 colours to choose from!!

My spool of Aurifil Ne 50 in  colour 2900

My spool of Aurifil Ne 50 in colour 2900 looks good

2564 works well with these assorted mauves

2564 works well with these assorted mauves

We also realised that you don’t need the perfect colour match for your applique.

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The citrus  fabric colours can be appliqued with a soft green/grey or even a soft blush pink

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Although Kathy has recommended 2900 for this first part of China Blue,  you may be interested in these other colours as well:  2564, 2846, 6724, 6727, 6723 (the last three numbers are part of the gorgeous new colours available in the Aurifil range).

Our selection of threads

Our selection of threads

We will be looking forward to seeing what the coming months bring us with this exciting BOM from Homespun, designed by the fabulous Kaffe Fassett and Kathy Doughty (and the design team from Material Obsession).

Happy Valentines Day

Let us share some of our favourite things with you.

Five-Valentines

I searched our previous Valentine postings to re-visit things that we had shared in the past.

valentine-cookiesCan’t go past a good biscuit snack but re-visit our 2012 blog for some great ideas for drawing heart-shaped quilting designs. In that same month JudySewforth shared work on her freemotion quilting of feathers and heart designs

Don't you just love our Aurifil heart?

Don’t you just love our Aurifil heart?

So Happy Valentine’s Day!

To make it an extra special day this year
visit our online store to find great specials on
all things heart related

Round Robin Round-up

At the beginning of 2014 the members of the Always Thread team set themselves a challenge, in the form of a round robin quilt project. We wanted this to be a small wall-hanging sized quilt, and one with a very modern feel. To see how we set up the specifications for our challenge go to http://alwaysquilting.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/taking-the-round-robin-into-the-21st-century/

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The original four blocks using colours determined by the colour wheel.

 

At various stages in the year we have blogged about our progress and posted photos. To track our progress you can visit http://alwaysquilting.wordpress.com/2014/04/19/round-robin-round-two/ , http://alwaysquilting.wordpress.com/2014/07/25/round-robin-bl…e-21st-century/ , http://alwaysquilting.wordpress.com/2014/08/22/quilting-the-2…-c-round-robin/, and http://alwaysquilting.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/twenty-first-c…-quilting-plan/

At our final handover day the four quilts looked like this…..

Always Quilting Round Robin 2014 Heather and Denise….. and this.

Always Quilting Round Robin 2014 Jenny and Judy

Ladybirdee added both machine and handquilting to her quilt, using two different weights of Aurifil thread. (Ne 40 and 12 respectively).

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A combination of hand and machine quilting.

A view from the back shows her extensive quilting.

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Back view.

She has also used pieced binding in 2 colours to add to the visual impact.

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Judysewforth also added lots of detailed quilting in a very “fun” design!! (#FUN)  Her binding is also pieced in two colours to match the outer border.

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Her backing fabric is a bit of fun too. (Sorry about the direction of this photo – WordPress is doesn’t seem to like this photo!)

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Jenny found some binding fabric to complement the colours in her quilt and used a variegated thread to machine quilt her project.

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The back view.

And as for my quilt….I could not decide how to quilt it and spent ages gazing at it without inspiration! In the end I machine stitched in the ditch to stabilise it (using Aurifil 40 weight), then added modern look hand quilting using Aurufil cotton in 12 weight. I trialled lots of colours before being happy with the apricot/orange I used (colour 2220) which doesn’t really show up very well  in the photo.

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Although this project took me very far from my comfort zone, and I engaged in a fair bit of sighing and complaining along the way, it did prove to be an intriguing exercise with interesting quilts as a result.

What about your group? Is anyone up for a challenge? We’d love to hear!

 

Aurifil and Cross-stitch.

In the 1980s and early 90s, before I was bitten by the patchwork bug, I did a lot of cross-stitch. Consequently, I have many cross-stitch patterns, and yes, a number of UFOs!!

Quite a high proportion of the patterns feature patchwork in some form…was this a portent of things to come? This is one of my completed projects from about 16 years ago. (The non-reflective glass makes the photo a bit hazy).

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Strawberries Forever by Told in a Garden Designs

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Close up of Strawberries Forever.

I still engage in some cross-stitch, but these days much of my stitching time is devoted to patchwork.

Recently however, I decided that one of the yet-to-make patterns would be ideal to hang in my new patchwork studio. It is called “Home of a Quilter”,  another pattern by Told in a Garden designs.

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Previously, all my cross-stitch work was done with stranded thread (before my enlightenment into the benefits and pleasures of working with Aurifil Threads).  For this new project however, I was keen to use Aurifil. I am stitching on 14 count Aida and I chose to work with Cotton Mako Ne 12, the thickest of the Aurifil cottons. (That’s the one on the red spool). I have done many stitchery projects with this weight thread and so felt very comfortable working with it. It glides through the fabric beautifully and yippee!  No more having to strip the individual strands of thread!

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Threads used in my current project.

 

Although my pattern does not require outline stitching, I will probably use Cotton Mako Ne 28 to highlight a few of the paler colours.

It is possible to use the finer Aurifil threads for cross-stitch too. Jenny has completed two little kit projects which use Cotton Mako Ne 28 (on the grey spool). The 28 weight thread gives a very crisp look to each stitch.

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Jenny’s “Spring”cross-stitch using 28 weight thread.

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Jenny’s “Autumn” cross-stitch, also using 28 weight thread.

These are from the Four Seasons Collection, and as the name implies, these are available in 4 different designs, one for each season. To view these in the Always Quilting online shop, go to http://www.alwaysquilting.com.au/index.php?act=viewCat&catId=231 These designs also utilise some of the variegated colours in the Aurifil range. Each kit contains 4 spools of thread and the pattern and is excellent value for money.

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Two of the “Seasons” collections: Spring (left) and Autumn (right).

If you have a pattern which lists stranded thread colours and you wish to convert them to Aurifil, you can visit http://www.brodibuta.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49:conversion&catid=36:bonus&Itemid=49 or read Jenny’s blog post http://alwaysquilting.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/how-can-you-substitute-aurifil-threads-to-use-for-all-your-embroidery-designs/

Not all stranded threads have a recommended Aurifil conversion colour, but with 270 colours in the current Aurifil range, there is sure to be something suitable.

I have been working on my current cross-stitch for just over 3 weeks and am about  a quarter of the way through it. This is the portion I have completed so far.

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Partially completed “Home of a Quilter”.

Hopefully I will have the stitching finished soon, so that this will be ready to hang in the new year…I’ll keep you posted!