Monday, October 31, 2011

Monofilament Threads

I use many different Superior Thread products in my longarm quilting.  Monofilament is clear thread.  Monofilament thread can be the best choice for some stitch-in-the ditch applications.  For example:  When there are many color changes and it would be hard to select a thread to blend into the background.  The question that comes up - is this safe to use?  Will it hold up?  This is an article written by Bob Purcell, Superior Threads.   

EDUCATION: Monofilament threads I recently received an e-mail asking if invisible monofilament thread is iron safe.  She had heard that it melts if ironed.  That is a commonly asked question and most likely due to hearing sad stories of monofilament threads melting and damaging a sewing project.  Here is the truth.

There are two main types of monofilament threads: nylon and polyester.  Traditionally, most monofilament thread has been nylon.  Nylon is strong but it has some negative properties for sewing thread.  It tends to go brittle over time, discolors (yellows), and has low heat tolerance.  Nylon melts at approximately 400 degrees F. Although most irons do not have a numerical temperature setting, many irons can melt nylon when set at medium or high heat.

The preferred material for monofilament thread is polyester.  Polyester does not discolor, go brittle, or have a low melting point.  Polyester melts at the 480 to 510 degree Fahrenheit range and most irons stay well below this temperature up to the medium heat setting.

Superior Threads offers MonoPoly.  Monofilament invisible thread is 100% polyester, thus the name, Monofilament Polyester.
Another caution:  Watch out for monofilament threads labeled as 100% Polyamide. That may lead us to believe it is polyester but polyamide is the chemical word for nylon. Dishonest labeling? No. Misleading? Yes.

Be safe and stay with polyester when using monofilament threads.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Garbage Picking

My first experience garbage picking!  I passed a house that had all their "garbage" piled up and a sign that said FREE.  It was all the unsold garage sale items and a lot JUNK.  I stopped because I thought I spotted a good basket, but instead I found these.

 There are some small chips.  I think I'll try to make pin-cushions out of them.  I've seen them before made out of unusual objects.  Another project!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Elephant Quilt

Marinda made this elephant quilt!  I love it.  Too bad the pics are a bit blurry.  Have to get it back to take more.  Three fabrics - a stunning quilt!  (Okay the border is number four, but you could do it in three!)

 I quilted free-hand ferns.

 Tall grass in the border.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Basket Quilt

Here is the large basket quilt, pieced by Betty Ann.  I love quilting these 30's fabrics - so cheerful. 
The inner white border was the perfect place to quilt a feather.   
 The outer border was quilted with lines - it frames the quilt.  Also, the fabric is busy so you don't need anything fancy.  After I posted these pictures, I noticed the yellow border needed quilting.  It's only 1-1/2 inches wide, so I put a little ribbon on it.  It just needed a little something.   

 I quilted a small leaf and loop in the sashing between rows. 
 There's a butterfly in there somewhere...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Spring Fling

I love getting these quilts in from Janet K.  Her mother was an excellent quilter and her piecing is perfect.  Here is a cute spring pattern.  I used very simple line quilting and mixed up the background quilting for variety. 

This will make a cute wall hanging! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Feathered Stars by Marsha McCloskey

Our guild had Marsha McCloskey as guest lecturer in October.  She is known for Feathered Stars and has been quilting since 1979. 
Did you know there are two different kinds of Feathered Stars - Grid Based and Radial.   Grid based looks like the Ohio Star.  Radial stars are when the points are evenly spaced, like le moyne stars.   Here is her sampler - all grid based stars with different centers.

She doesn't enter her quilts into quilt shows, but others who have used the feather star as center medallion, have won ribbons.  Sh brought along a few more quilts.  She loves to use toile fabrics and uses large scale chintz for borders.   
 This one is a radial feathered star - see the difference?  They are based on Le Moyne Stars. 

 She said this is the most difficult feathered star to make, so make it large.  (Below)
 Triple Feathered Star (below)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Applique Quilting Secrets

Recently, I quilted two basket quilts for the same customer.  This one is a table topper.  Cute idea for left over blocks.  Hopefully when you look at this quilt, you really notice the baskets.  They just pop off the quilt.   
There are a couple secrets to making your applique really POP.  SID (stitch-in-the-ditch) and dense quilting is needed.  Here is my approach.
First SID (stitch-in-the-ditch) all the applique and block itself.  If you skip this step, all the pieced will look like a big BLOB on the quilt.  SID makes each piece stand out - crisp and sharp.  Next I added a feather design in each of the four corners.
Not bad... looking good. But when you add the extra quilting, it really makes those baskets sing!
Try it on your next applique quilting project.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Halloween Towel

Here's a quick project I found on the internet.  It's really quick and easy.  It's a Halloween towel, with little witch legs peaking out of the bottom.  Place the towel over a kitchen cabinet or an oven rail or bath towel rack. 
 The instructions can be found by clicking on this link.
I made a couple adjustments.  I used fabric instead of ribbon and tulle.  The fabric "ribbon" (purple in picture above) should be cut 2 1/2 inch wide by width of towel inches plus 1-inch, to turn ends under.  I also turned the ends on the fabric before making the ruffle.  I used needle and thread to baste and create the ruffle.

Here's my version...
It makes a cute gift!