My favorite thread weight: The Value of Coral

What is your favorite thread weight? When I was asked this question recently, my first thought was 12wt Aurifil because it is my favorite when I want the thread to take center stage. However, it only took a moment to realize that my favorite thread weight is the one I go to most consistently and incorporate into virtually every project.  This go-to thread is 50 wt Aurifil, and I have two drawers dedicated to storing it in my studio space.

I recently quilted The Value of Coral using five colors of thread, and the weight of the thread creates depth, texture and interest without overshadowing the optical illusion created in the piecing of this design. Matching thread color to fabric was very important to maintain consistency in the design, and Aurifil has a huge number of colors to choose from for this very purpose.  Fortunately, I already had what I needed in one of those drawers.  For this project, I used:

  • Red (2250)
  • Salmon (2225)
  • Bright Pink (2425)
  • Light Beige (2310)
  • Eggplant (4225)

This design came about as a way to showcase the 2019 Pantone Color of the Year, Living Coral.  The four main colors are value gradients based around the coral.  The darkest color is a deep violet that recedes into the background.  I like to incorporate these rich violets into designs that need a shadow.  In real life, shadows often have a violet cast to them, so it works well as a shadow in quilt design as well.

If you are interested in reading more about the design of this quilt, check out this post!

Quilt Stats

Title:  The Value of Coral

Size: 56″x 70″

Techniques:  Traditional Piecing

Quilting:  Ruler work quilting on an A-1 longarm

Fabric:  Five solids from assorted manufacturers

Batting:  Double batted with Hobbs Tuscany Wool and Hobbs 80/20 Cotton/Poly blend

Thread: Quilted with 50wt Aurifil in five colors

Binding:  Tula Pink stripes cut on the bias, machine stitched to the front, hand finished on the back

 

Festive Baubles

Purchase the Festive Baubles Pattern Here!

Learn more about the 2020 Quilt Along Here!

I made a Christmas quilt this year, and I only missed finishing it for Christmas by two days! Maybe I’ll just consider it 364 days early for next year!  Festive Baubles is a reinterpretation of the Baubles quilt I made a few years ago.  A lot of people really loved this quilt, and wanted a pattern for it.  The initial version had areas of the construction that were too challenging for the result, so I set out to create a design that has a similar aesthetic with a more user friendly construction.  The pattern isn’t complete yet, but I’m hoping to do a Christmas in July sew along in 2020!  UPDATE: The pattern is now available through Dabble and Stitch, and we are doing a quilt along starting October 5, 2020!

There are six different foundation paper pieced blocks in the design.  Three of these designs have two color versions in the finished quilt, which gives us nine blocks total.

Block one has two color versions with a classic “round” shape and a center design of squares.  Foundation paper piecing is a great way to create the illusion of curves while only stitching straight lines!

Block two also has two color versions, and the central design is created with triangles.

Block three moves away from the round shape to create an elongated ornament.

Block four is the final block with two color versions.

Block five is the last elongated block design.

The final block also has the most detail with a star formed in the center of the bauble.

For the quilting, I decided to use organic feather motifs.  I like the juxtaposition of bright, shiny ornaments against the natural shape of a tree, and I thought that organic quilting would set off these baubles nicely.  The background fabric is a Ruby Star print that is mostly green with turquoise starbursts.  For the background quilting I selected 50wt Aurifil 2810 (Turquoise) to coordinate with the turquoise part of the print.

The ornaments are quilted with 50wt Aurifil 2225 (Salmon), and the “strings” the ornaments appear to hang from are quilted lines of Aurifil 2600 (Dove) with 12wt on the top and 50wt in the bobbin.  This line of quilting was the last thing added to the quilt prior to trimming and binding the edges.

Quilt Stats

Title:  Festive Baubles

Size: 53″x 62.5″

Techniques:  Foundation Paper Piecing, traditional piecing

Quilting:  Free Motion quilting on an A-1 longarm

Fabric:  Background print is Ruby Star Society, other assorted prints from my fabric stash

Batting:  Hobbs Tuscany Wool and Hobbs 80/20 Cotton/Poly blend

Thread: Quilted with 50wt Aurifil in three colors, and 12 wt Aurifil in Dove

Binding:  Bias binding made with Tula Pink stripe, machine stitched to the front, hand finished on the back

I am excited to be participating in this year’s 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge hosted by Cheryl Sleboda of Muppin.com, and I hope you will have the chance to check out some of the other awesome blogs that are participating this month.

Spoonflower Panels

For a couple years I had received requests to teach my plaid matchstick technique, but I was hesitant because I was afraid the class would end up being more about piecing the quilt top than the quilting technique. Earlier this year it occurred to me that there was an easy solution to this issue- Spoonflower.  Spoonflower is a company that prints fabric, among other items, on demand.  I designed a mini quilt panel that fits on a fat quarter of fabric, and printed it in two different color ways for my classes.

The blue and green panel is intended to be quilted with Aurifil 2525 (Dusty Blue Violet), Aurifil 6737 (Shamrock Green), and white. I recommend using either 12wt or 28wt on top and 50wt in the same color in the bobbin. The blue and green matchstick panel can be purchased here.

The pink and orange panel in intended to be quilted with Aurifil 2530 (Blossom Pink), Aurifil 2145 (Yellow Orange), and white. I recommend using either 12wt or 28wt on top and 50wt in the same color in the bobbin. The pink and orange matchstick panel can be purchased here.

I also developed a panel to use for the intermediate free motion quilting class I occasionally teach at one of my local quilt shops.

I recommend quilting this panel with 50wt Aurifil 2810 (Turquoise). Any of these panels are great for mini quilts, table toppers, or pillows.  You can purchase the free motion panel here.

These panels worked out so well, I just had to try a repeating design.  Here is my first printed repeat design:

There are endless possibilities with this type of printing, and I can’t wait to explore them more in the coming year!

I am excited to be participating in this year’s 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge hosted by Cheryl Sleboda of Muppin.com, and I hope you will have the chance to check out some of the other awesome blogs that are participating this month.

Entries for QuiltCon 2020

The QuiltCon show entry deadline was earlier this week, and, as always, it seemed to sneak up on me.  This year I decided to aim for five entries, which is the maximum number of quilts that one person can have accepted to the show. I managed to get four entered in October, but one (there is always one) didn’t get entered until the last day.

My first entry is the only quilt that I have ever re-submitted.  Resonance was rejected from QuiltCon 2019, but I love this quilt, so I thought I would give it one more chance. It is entered in the Applique category.

This year we had 450 characters for the description of each quilt.  This is the description I submitted with Resonance:

Resonance uses colorful quilting thread to create a sense of outward movement and reverberation from central points.Thread that coordinates with each fabric creates a blending sensation as the quilting merges the appliquéd circles with each other and the background.This quilt was my first 100 day project that ran from New Year’s Day 2018 to my birthday, which fell on the 100th day of the year.

You can read more about Resonance here.

This year, the special challenge category was stripes.  All of my remaining entries could arguably be entered in this category, but I like to spread my entries out in different areas.  Stripe Club is the quilt I selected to enter in the American Patchwork and Quilting Stripes Quilt Challenge, and this was also the quilt that got submitted on the final day!

Submitted description:

All solid fabrics are cut and pieced into the stripes forming the basis for this semi-improvisational design.Stripes of various widths, and as small as 1/8 inch, were stitched together to create a piece of fabric before being cut and assembled into the blocks that make up the quilt top.The circular blocks were devised as stand alone units and placed on a design wall to develop the overall composition with the addition of more striped units.

You can read more about Stripe Club here.

34x34x34 is entered in the Negative Space category.

Submitted description:

This quilt is an exploration of randomness in the design process.An arbitrary line drawn on a sheet of graph paper was 34 squares long, and that determined the repeating numbers for the quilt.On a 34 x 34 square grid, I placed 34 colorful squares.The placement was determined by using a random number generator to decide the coordinates.Six colors were each assigned a number and a game die was rolled to select the colors for each square.

You can read more about 34x34x34 here.

Forward and Back is a mini quilt that I made for a guild challenge earlier this year, and it is entered in the Small Quilts category.

Submitted description:

Two simple blocks are cut into strips and reassembled to form this small quilt.The first block was a simple circle in warm colors. The second block was made of wedges in cool colors.Combined, the two blocks evoke the feeling of a sunset over the sea.

You can read more about Forward and Back here.

My fifth and final entry for QuiltCon 2020 is Zenith.  Zenith has been to several shows in the past year, and I am so excited to enter it in QuiltCon.  I submitted it in the Improvisation category.  I have never had a quilt accepted to this category, so my fingers are crossed.

Submitted description:

Using improvisational construction, Zenith combines the 2018 Pantone color of the year, Ultra Violet, with the Kona color of the year, Tiger Lily. With these colors as a starting point, the overall palette was expanded to incorporate the hues found in a vibrant sunset. The inclusion of strong diagonal lines, triangular shapes, and a combination of hand and machine quilting further enhances the energy of the quilt.

You can read more about Zenith here.

Waiting for the jury results is always hard, but I’m very grateful that QuiltCon has a relatively short turnover time.  I will let you know the results in the next few weeks!

I am excited to be participating in this year’s 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge hosted by Cheryl Sleboda of Muppin.com, and I hope you will have the chance to check out some of the other awesome blogs that are participating this month.

Most Used Quilting Tools of 2019

Tools are the topic of the day!  Fabric (deservedly!) gets most of the attention, but good quality tools can help make it even more fun to sew! Here, in no particular order, are some of the go-to tools that help my quilts come together.

  1. Straight Stitcher longarm quilting ruler:  The groove down the center of the ruler gives you even more control while stitching, but my favorite part of this ruler is having measurements on both sides of the machine foot as you stitch.
  2. 50wt Aurifil: My go-to thread for the majority of my quilting and piecing!
  3. 12wt Aurifil: Great for hand stitching and machine quilting that you really want to pop!
  4. Spiral Eye Needle:  These are the best needles I have found for quickly burying thread tails
  5. Duo marking pens: The marking pen gives an easy to see brown line, and the eraser pen takes out the mark easily and instantly.
  6. Wool pressing bar: This is fabulous when you want to press a seam open or if you would like you seam lifted off the main pressing surface a bit.  Its a great companion to a wool pressing mat which is another favorite of mine!
  7. Clover Clips:  I love these for binding and bag making!
  8. Stiletto:  The perfect tool to guide fussy piecing or thick layers found in bag making
  9. Scissors: Spring loaded Gingher Shears are great to reduce hand fatigue when you are cutting a lot of fabric.  These small snips are very inexpensive (about $3), sharp, and lightweight.  I keep a pair with every machine and one in my purse.
  10. Rotary cutters: A Gingher rotary cutter and an Olfa
  11. Seam ripper: This one is sharp and has a fine blade.  I try to replace my seam ripper every year.
  12. Add a Quarter Plus and Add an Eighth Plus rulers: These are amazing for foundation paper piecing.  I used to do without, but now I consider them must-haves!
  13. Quilter’s Select ruler:  This brand of ruler has thin black lines that are easy to see and a coating on the back that makes them non-slip.  My cutting, which was always pretty accurate, became much more accurate when I switched to this type of ruler.  I have been gradually replacing my old rulers with these, and I currently have the 6″x24″, 3″x12″, 8.5″x8.5″, and 12.5″x12.5″.

What are your favorite tools?  Did you discover any new notions this year that you wouldn’t want to be without?

I am excited to be participating in this year’s 31 Day Blog Writing Challenge hosted by Cheryl Sleboda of Muppin.com, and I hope you will have the chance to check out some of the other awesome blogs that are participating this month.