Joint Venture with Karen Miller: Mystery Quilt Along – Part 4

Jan 7: Announcement post
Jan 21:  Planning, basting, batting, etc
Jan 28:  Stabilization quilting or just to catch up
***Feb 4, Feb 11: Inside center panel
Feb 25: Top and Bottom Rectangles
March 4: Top and Bottom Squares
March 11: Left and Right Side panels
Mach 18: Narrow Sashing
March 25: Outside (wider) Border
April 1: Binding & Hanging

***

Hello Friends, here we are again on our Quilt-Along Monday!  There’s not a new installment because Karen and I know the hustles and bustles of life all too well, and sometimes we just can’t get to quilting like we would like.  The panel center is a relatively large area, so, we though we would give folks a couple week to get that done before we move on to the subsequent sections.  If you missed my post last week on quilting the panel center, here is the link again!

Now, some of you might still be gathering your supplies.  That’s okay — jump in when you are able to. Click HERE where Karen keeps a list of shops where you can purchase the supplies.

2019c

I have heard positive responses from many regarding my book.  THANK YOU!

You may order my book from:

Connecting Threads

Fox Chapel Publishing

Amazon

or email me for signed copies!

I will be using Aurifli 50 wt threads from my Subtle Strings collection.  You may read more about the collection here, and here.  You may order your collection here for $99.99 (regularly selling for $140)!  The collection is IN STOCK again as of this morning!!!

Meanwhile, you may also order the collection HERE and HERE.

My Subtle Strings colors are specially selected to achieve a subtle contrast effect in the quilting.  That is to say, we get to quilt with pretty colors on our quilts, but the colors aren’t really visible from afar and are not competing with the overall look of the quilt, until one looks at the quilting close up.  These colors are also perfect for piecing, machine or hand applique — definitely my go-to!  Why limit yourself to using only beige and light brown, or white?!

subtle1-1

subtle2

So far, here are the Subtle Strings colors I used for the different sections!  It’s a great time to experiment with subtle colors in quilting!  I hope you like subtle contrast quilting as much as I have!  Where the spool is indicates the area quilted with the color.

Since we are on a downtime installment-wise, I thought I would chat with you briefly on quilting results and personality!  One observation that has been consistent from all the free-motion domestic machine quilting classes I have taught is that different quilters will quilt differently the one motif that is being presented.  For example, we would be working on pebbles (pages 50-51), and students will end up with different shapes or sizes for their pebbles.

I always remind my students how our quilting looks is like how our signature looks!  And that solves the mystery why we often end up with different looks when we quilt one motif.  And you know what, THAT is perfectly fine!  Your quilting reflects and celebrates you!!!

Of course, quilting adds personality to a quilt.  If a quilt is quilted with puppies and bone treats, you know that it is a lighthearted quilt, versus a quilt quilted with 1/4″ cross hatches and feather plumes.  I encourage you to find ways to add personalities to the panel as you quilt it.  I quilted “grass” to the face of one of the sheep — to give him (I think of it’s a him!) a  mischievous personality.  Doesn’t he look like he KNEW BETTER than to chew with this mouth open?!

So, let’s try to analyze my personality from how I have quilted the panel center.

#1.  I tend to be OCD on things — especially when it comes to feather quilting.  I see anything and everything as excuses to quilt feathers.

#2.  I can at times major on the minor — from the way I like to keep my quilting dense.

#3.  I like movement with the curves and swirls — I like things to be non-static.

Anything you can deduce about my personality from the quilting?  NOSY and VERY CURIOUS mind would like to know! :)

I hope you are having the time of your life working on this piece.  I know I have!  See you again next Monday, but not before you check out Karen’s post for today!  Click HERE to go to Karen’s blog.

Advertisements

Joint Venture with Karen Miller: Mystery Quilt Along – Part 3

 

Jan 7: Announcement post
Jan 21:  Planning, basting, batting, etc
Jan 28:  Stabilization quilting or just to catch up
***Feb 4, Feb 11: Inside center panel
Feb 25: Top and Bottom Rectangles
March 4: Top and Bottom Squares
March 11: Left and Right Side panels
Mach 18: Narrow Sashing
March 25: Outside (wider) Border
April 1: Binding & Hanging

***

Hello Friends, Happy Monday!  I hope your week got off a great start, and that those of you who lived in last week’s extreme cold have thawed out nicely, and are ready to do some quilting on your machine.

Now, some of you might still be gathering your supplies.  That’s okay — jump in when you are able to. Click HERE where Karen keeps a list of shops where you can purchase the supplies.

2019c

I have heard positive responses from many regarding my book.  THANK YOU!

You may order my book from:

Connecting Threads

Fox Chapel Publishing

Amazon

or email me for signed copies!

I will be using Aurifli 50 wt threads from my Subtle Strings collection.  You may read more about the collection here, and here.  You may order your collection here for $99.99 (regularly selling for $140)!  I saw that some of you have bought up the stock available on Pumpkinvine Corner.  But don’t worry, more has been ordered according to the website.

Meanwhile, you may also order the collection HERE and HERE.

My Subtle Strings colors are specially selected to achieve a subtle contrast effect in the quilting.  That is to say, we get to quilt with pretty colors on our quilts, but the colors aren’t really visible from afar and are not competing with the overall look of the quilt, until one looks at the quilting close up.  These colors are also perfect for piecing, machine or hand applique — definitely my go-to!  Why limit yourself to using only beige and light brown, or white?!

subtle1-1

subtle2

BEFORE WE START, here are the Subtle Strings colors I used for the different sections!  It’s a great time to experiment with subtle colors in quilting!  I hope you like subtle contrast quilting as much as I have!  Where the spool is indicates the area quilted with the color.

FOR TODAY’S INSTALLMENT:

#1,  If you have a needle down function on your machine, USE IT!  That way, when you have to turn your quilt, your needle won’t lose its spot if you have to turn your quilt.

#2.  It’s also time to shelf the walking foot for a little bit!  For the rest of the quilting, I foresee myself only using my free-motion quilting foot.  The far left foot attachment is the one I use, in fact, the ONLY one.

I like to use the open-toe foot because I can see better, and therefore decide where to go from one spot to the next when I am quilting.

#3.  I started off doing outline stitching and some on the sheep — just to warm-up a little.  Here I am showing you a few options.  References from my book: pages 30, 35, 50.

Outline quilting around the fluff – and continue with the echo inside the sheep.

Outline quilting around the fluff and tuft above the head.

Outline quilting in oval shape around sheep.

Outline quilting with swirls in the body.

Outline quilting, and then echo closely a few times around the body.

Outline quilting, and a few pebbles in the body to give a bit of texture.

And you know how quilting adds personality to one’s quilt, I added a bit of a personality to one of the sheep.  CLEARLY, he forgot what his mother has told him NOT to chew with his mouth open!!!

#4.  I then worked on the sky.  I outline quilted and then echoed around the clouds several times.  

Then, I quilted swirls with long tail (like a bean sprout almost).  This is a variation stemmed from the basic swirl in page 35 in my book.

#5.  Next I divided the grass into sections.

Section 1.  I quilted pebbles (page 50) and sand dunes (page 33) in this section.  I love the sand dunes because it’s like echoing without having to worry about the equal distance between the echoes.  It is much more freeing and forgiving.

Section 2.  More sand dunes in this one, except I added pebbles in between the pebbles.  And that’s another reason I like sand dunes because you can add bits and bobs in between the echoes.

Section 3.  This section is quilted with horizontal and vertical lines (not necessarily straight) that make a wavy cross hatch (page 72).  I then go back and fill in alternate boxes with closely quilted lines to make a basketweave effect.  Spot the pink quilting? You can also see the occasional grass sprouting on a couple of the empty squares.  Feel free to add any accents to your liking!

Section 4.  I have to admit, I couldn’t help myself with the feather quilting!  I quilted the foreground of the panel center with feathers.  Once you are comfortable doodling feathers (pages 54-59), you could mark your feathers on the quilt itself and quilt by following the line…. OR you may mark the spines of the feather plume as a guide on your quilt, and free-hand quilt your feathers (page 79).

I was so proud of my students in my De-mystifying Feather Quilting Class last week at Road to CA, who were able to free-hand quilt their feathers, having NO prior feather quilting experience, and AFTER learning the basics of feather quilting well.

AND THERE YOU HAVE IT, for today’s installment!  You noticed how the colors I used in the quilting don’t jump out at you?  That’s the beauty of subtle contrast in quilting!

It might look like it is a lot to quilt the panel center, but wait, you actually get to quilt the panel center over the next three weeks!  I will still check in the next two Mondays.  The next installment isn’t till Feb 25.

I timed myself.  The panel center took me about 4 1/2″ hours of solid quilting.  But it’s all good fun.

However, if all this is overwhelming to you. Tackle one section at a time.  Even if you have to mark on your quilt before you quilt with a washable fabric marker, it is ALRIGHT!  I use either a Frixion Pen or this blue marker.

***

Remember, BABY STEPS!

NOW, I wonder what Karen has done …. remember, it’s ALL a mystery between the two of us!!!  I am heading on to her blog to see what she has been up to.  Click HERE to go to Karen’s blog.

See you next week!

Joint Venture with Karen Miller: Mystery Quilt Along – Part 2

Jan 7: Announcement post
Jan 21:  Planning, basting, batting, etc
***Jan 28:  Stabilization quilting or just to catch up
Feb 4, Feb 11: Inside center panel
Feb 25: Top and Bottom Rectangles
March 4: Top and Bottom Squares
March 11: Left and Right Side panels
Mach 18: Narrow Sashing
March 25: Outside (wider) Border
April 1: Binding & Hanging

***

Hello Friends, I just spent a better of last week at Road to CA show.  It was a fun show making new friends, and sharing the love of domestic machine and feather quilting with my new friends!

I even met some who already heard about our Mystery Quilt Along, and for those heard about it from me at the show, they were excited.  So, today is another minimally demanding day for those who already sandwiched their quilt.  Some might just now be getting their supplies in the mail.  All’s good — you just catch up whenever you are able.  If you are just now joining, click on the previous dates above for more information.

Now, I have heard that certain shops sold out of the panel, click HERE where Karen keeps a list of shops where you can purchase the supplies.

2019c

You may order my book from:

Connecting Threads

Fox Chapel Publishing

Amazon

or email me for signed copies!

I will be using Aurifli 50 wt threads from my Subtle Strings collection.  You may read more about the collection here, and here.  You may order your collection here for $99.99 (regularly selling for $140)!

subtle1-1

subtle2

FOR TODAY’S INSTALLMENT:

#1,  If you have a needle down function on your machine, USE IT!  That way, when you have to turn your quilt, your needle won’t lose its spot if you have to turn your quilt.

#2.  We are stitching straight lines.  So, you have the option of using your walking foot, or  your dual feed foot.  Both feet ensure all layers are moved at the same time!  Please note that your walking or dual feed foot might not look exactly as what I have.  If you have any doubt, please reach out to your local machine dealer for help.  I learn so much from my machine dealer.

 

 

Today, we are going to stabilize our quilt sandwich.  I try to stabilize, but not over-stabilize, my quilt sandwich by first stitching down the edge of the quilt.  I stitch very close to the edge of quilt top just to anchor my quilt top so I don’t have to deal with “loose leaves” so to speak with the quilt top, batting and quilt back.  It’s totally fine if you don’t catch all of the fabric edge.

If you have a needle down function on your machine, USE IT!  That way, when you have to turn your quilt, your needle won’t lose its spot if you have to turn your quilt.

One of my tips I share in my book Stitching Pathways is instead of using the quilting foot as a guide, watch your needle to see where it lands to ensure accurate stitching.  A student of mine told me in one of the classes I taught at Road to CA this past week, that tip was the game changer for her.  So, in order for you to practice that, we will stitching around the large center of the panel where the dotted boundary is.  Try to stitch slow, and keep your eye to the needle.

So the previous image also illustrate a very important point — if you see any basting pins that are too close to your needle ensemble, go ahead and remove the pin before you stitch.  That will keep the pin from catching the needle ensemble and produce poor quality stitches.  Generally, I leave my stitching area about 3″ around and all all sides my needle clear  of any obstacles (basting pins).  So in real, before I quilt any further, I would go ahead and remove that basting pin.

So there you have it, for today!  

qal13

Now a quick note on starting and stopping…. I like to pull up my bobbin thread before I start.  You can do that by rotating the hand wheel, and tugging on the top thread.  Once you have the bobbin thread up, you will have two thread tails on the quilt top.  I hold on to the tails, and take a few small stitches (if it’s with feed dog, I just reduce the stitch length) before I quilt normal.  To stop, I will reduce the stitch length of my stitches as well.  This time, I will only have the top thread on top.  So, after those mini stitches, I will have my needle up, pull my quilt sandwich out from the needle, and cut off enough top and bottom thread to have tails, and then, I bury all the tails into the quilt batting.

To get us ready for next week — when we get to the actual quilting part, WOOHOO — you might do some practice quilting on a practice piece using my Stitching Pathways book, specifically the motifs covered in pages 30, 32, 33, 50 and 52.  I think I am going to add a bit of feathering in there too.  Feathers are covered in pages 55-66.  

In today’s baby step, we stabilized our quilt for stress-free quilting on the machine later.

NOW, I wonder what Karen has done …. remember, it’s ALL a mystery between the two of us!!!  I am heading on to her blog to see what she has been up to.  Click HERE to go to Karen’s blog.

I CAN’T WAIT TO SHARE WITH YOU NEXT WEEK HOW I AM QUILTING THE PANEL CENTER NEXT WEEK — SEE YOU NEXT MONDAY!

Joint Venture with Karen Miller: Mystery Quilt Along – Part 1

Jan 7: Announcement post
***Jan 21:  Planning, basting, batting, etc
Jan 28:  Stabilization quilting or just to catch up
Feb 4, Feb 11: Inside center panel
Feb 25: Top and Bottom Rectangles
March 4: Top and Bottom Squares
March 11: Left and Right Side panels
Mach 18: Narrow Sashing
March 25: Outside (wider) Border
April 1: Binding & Hanging

***

Hello Friends, today is the day we start working on our Free-motion Quilt Along!  We are so happy to hear about the warm responses indicating you will be participating.  Again, this is low-maintenance stress free!  If you haven’t already joined us on this sheepish adventure and are thinking about it, I say, “Just do it!”  Click on the announcement post above if you aren’t sure about the details.

Now, I have heard that certain shops sold out of the panel, click HERE where Karen keeps a list of shops where you can purchase the supplies.

2019c

So, today I will share with you my tips on planning, pinning and basting.

#1.  I first starch-press my fabric pieces – panel and backing fabric piece.  You don’t have to use starch if you’d rather not.  I find that starch helps keep the fabrics nice and stiff for the pinning process so that I don’t end up with unexpected slack.

#2.  I am not doing anything to the panel.  I then trim my backing fabric to be about 1.5-2″ larger than the panel itself.  Then, I cut the batting piece to the size of the backing fabric piece.  The reason I don’t like to cut the backing or batting pieces larger than that is because I don’t like to deal with too much excess with the quilt sandwich.  I have had cases where I had too much excess on the backing piece,, and I would accidentally quilt the excess to the back of the quilt in the process of scrunching and pushing the quilt sandwich through that little throat of my machine.

#3.  This is a light-hearted and really cute panel.  So, I decided to add a little something fun to the quilting scheme.  Besides quilting the free-motion quilting motifs, I am going to quilt the word BAA along the left and right wide borders.

To fit the mood, I just scribbled the letters A and B about 4″ in height onto a piece of paper.  This piece of paper from Miss Baby’s stationery drawer has seen better days.  But I am a frugal Mom.  My daughter will never use that piece of paper, so I get to do the honor!  I did darkened the letters with a Sharpie.

Then, I just slipped the piece of paper under the panel, and use a Frixion pen to mark the letters onto the panel.  I am SO excited about these letters!

ALWAYS mark before you start pinning!

#4.  And let the pinning party begin.  A quilt sandwich is made of quilt backing piece (wrong side up), then batting piece, then panel (right side up).

a.  So, before actually pinning, it’s a good idea to tape down the backing piece with painters tape to make sure the fabric is taut all around.  This should take care of any slack as well as any puckering that might happen otherwise during the quilting process.

b.  Then smooth your batting piece down on the backing fabric before placing the panel.

c.  Starting from the panel center, pin outward in all directions with nickle-plated safety pins about 2″ apart until your quilt sandwich is securely basted and more than likely covered with pins.

d.  Pat yourself on the back — you have done well!

***

For my quilt, I am using the Hobbs Silk Tuscany batting.

And I will be using all the colors from my Subtle String Aurifil 50wt collection to quilt this piece.  You may purchase the threads HERE (a $140 value offered right now at $99.99).

subtle2

subtle1-1

This panel piece is perfect for us to try out the subtle contrast quilting concept that I so love!  Basically, I got tired to being relegated to only using gray, beige or white threads for quilting while there are so many other beautiful threads out there.  So, I began using pastel colored threads to quilt my quilts for a subtly colored effect.  I have been more than pleased!

Alrightie, FRIENDS!  I call it a smashing success if you have done this part.  Remember, successful machine quilting is made of baby steps.  In college, I was taught to set up the equations right for engineering calculations.  In today’s baby step, we set up the quilt sandwich correctly for stress-free quilting on the machine later.

NOW, I wonder what Karen has done …. remember, it’s ALL a mystery between the two of us!!!  I am heading on to her blog to see what she has been up to.  Click HERE to go to Karen’s blog.

WINNER of Annie’s Machine Quilting Class of Choice & DISCOUNT KEYCODE

Hello Friends, the winner of my Annie’s Machine Quilting Class of Choice Giveaway is: Gloria Cotten!  An email is sent to you to inform you someone at Annie’s will be in touch!

pathways1

flower

I really wish I could give each of you a free class, but that’s out of my hands. :(  Thank you to all of you for entering the giveaway.  You know where to find me should you have a free-motion-quilting question you have while you are attempting to quilt your own quilts.

MEANWHILE, ANNIE’S IS OFFERING A 20% DISCOUNT FOR MY BLOG FOLLOWER between now and November 14, 2016 – ENTER KEYCODE: SHEPQLT

I hope this offer will be advantageous to you!  Again, here are my 5 domestic machine quilting classes offered with Annie’s.

#1. Learn to Machine Quilt – click here for more information.

#2.  Machine Quilting Level 2 – click here for more information.

#3.  Learn to Machine Quilt Pieced Blocks – click here for more information.

#4.  Learn to Machine Quilt With Stencils & Templates – click here for more information.

#5.  Learn Modern Straight Line Machine Quilting – click here for more information.

And I will be back soon with details about my domestic machine quilting book, due out in March 2017!

***

Meanwhile, if you haven’t tried using Aurifil’s Mako 50 wt to machine quilt, I highly recommend it!!  It took me two or three stops at the Aurifil booth at Fall Market to “meet myself”. :)  They had a wall display with quilters’ thoughts on their threads.  I was surprised to find a quote from me!!!!

aurifil-booth

GIVEAWAY: My Annie’s Domestic Machine Quilting Class of your choice

Hello Friends, I am tired and groggy, but I went to Houston and got back safely.  It was a whirlwind of a trip.  I will share more about that later.  One of the major reasons I went to Houston is to present my upcoming book Stitching Pathways – a compilation of my Thread Talk posts in a book format and more.   The following pictures show snippets of the book projects that I have been working on to include in the Stitching Pathways book.

flower

pathways

pathways1

pathways2

pathways4

pathways5

rainbow-star

SO, to celebrate domestic machine quilting, Annie’s has generously sponsored a giveaway of any one of my 5 online machine quilting classes of your choice!

#1. Learn to Machine Quilt – click here for more information.

#2.  Machine Quilting Level 2 – click here for more information.

#3.  Learn to Machine Quilt Pieced Blocks – click here for more information.

#4.  Learn to Machine Quilt With Stencils & Templates – click here for more information.

#5.  Learn Modern Straight Line Machine Quilting – click here for more information.

TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY – Between now and coming Sunday (November 6th), leave in the comment section which class you would like, and I will pick a winner to announce on Monday (November 7th).

Happy Monday, and Happy Week!

Saturday Salutation!

Hello Friends, I hope you have been well.  We are at the library doing homework, reading, and drawing for Miss Baby, and catching up with work and thoughts gathering for me.  Things are a bit crazy at the moment, but I thought I would send you a bit of quilty flowery goodness on this wet and chilly Saturday at my end.

flower

I shall catch up with you later!!!  Have a great rest of your weekend.  Hugs to you!

Thread Talk From My Sewing Machine #70

thread-talk1

Happy Friday, Friends!  I feel like this week has gone by so quickly.  I promised you I would share with you a secret or two about my way of machine quilting earlier this week based on my recently completed Thread Journey quilt. Click here if you would like to see more pictures of the quilted finished product.

morning-pictures3

So, you know how sometimes chefs keep things simple by using simple ingredients in their cooking, but they learn to use those ingredients well?  My quilting philosophy is kind of like that too.  I generally do not use more than three quilting elements within a section when I quilt.  Hopefully you will see what I mean by the pictures I am showing you…

In the quilt center – feathers + pebbles for background (2 elements):

Aug11e

Aug11m

… and very occasionally, a bean sprout or two (so 2 1/2 elements) – you can see the bean sprouts sticking out amongst the pebbles in the top portion of the picture below.

Aug11h

Next, we have feathers + pebbles + sprouts in the Ohio Star inner border (3 elements):

August18g

August18i

Gray Sashing: feathers + pebbles (2 elements):

morning-pictures5

sept15d

Outer border: feathers (with occasional variations of sprout or pebbled spines) + echoing (2 elements):

sept15e

sept15h

sept15j

I keep my motifs simple and few in dense quilting because:

#1.  It is easier for the viewers to concentrate on certain elements of the quilting, then a whole bunch of motifs.

#2.  It affords me the opportunity to keep quilting the same thing, and thus able to work in the practice I need to master different motifs.  I don’t ever do practice pieces – because I always practice better on the real deal.

#3.  When a large expanse of quilting area is limited to 2-3 motifs, that also allows me to slip in trying out new ideas without being too noticeable.  That way, I can decide whether I like those new motifs or not. :)  There are quite a few moments of trying out new things in Thread Journey that I can’t even tell existed because how the major motifs I have selected have dominated the quilting area.

So basically,  I have quilted the entire Thread Journey quilt with feathers, echoing and pebbles, and nothing else that’s fancy. :)  See what I mean? Keep it simple, and use the simple to your advantage!!

I hope my sharing has helped you… it’s not just using the simple motifs, but rather it is a matter of using the simple well.

Have a great weekend – till next time!

Thread Journey: Done!!!

banner1

Friends, my Aurifil Thread Journey quilt is finished!!!!  I shall again let the pictures do most of the talking today. First we had the un-quilted, but constructed many week ago…

July13i

After about 52 hours of just quilting alone at the machine, we have the finished product!

morning-pictures1

morning-pictures2

morning-pictures3

morning-pictures5

sept15b

sept15c

I quilted the entire quilt with colors from my Aurifil’s Subtle Strings collection.  You may read more about the collection here, and exactly why those shades are chosen.  You may also order the thread collection from heresubtle1-1

subtle2

And you will see how the Subtle Strings colors meet in the following close-up pictures.

sept15d

sept15e

sept15g

sept15h

sept15i

sept15j

sept15k

And here is a quick look at what the back looks like.

sept15n

That’s it for my Thread Journey 2.0!  It’s been such a fun journey for me being able to quilt to my little heart’s content on this one.  You may find the instructions on how to construct the quilt, as well as quilting suggestions here.

Come back tomorrow for the announcement of the giveaway winner of Windham’s Maribel FQ bundle.  Have a lovely rest of your week!

Project Sneak Peek: Packages

Hello Friends, how are you all doing this Wednesday?  I hope you are well.  I am excited to show you this free-motion quilted Christmas motif I quilted on my most recently completed quilt!

IMG_4122

The best machine quilting advice I can give anyone is to keep quilting because you WILL get better. :)  That’s all for now.  I have to get back to work…  Hugs to you all!

Thread Talk From My Sewing Machine #69

thread-talk1

Hello Friends, I hope you are doing well.  Things have been a little chaotic over here… probably an understatement, haha!  But we are doing well.   Despite the beautiful cherry blossoms we saw last week, we are waiting for the slightly warmer weather to keep getting warmer. :)

blossoms

Last week, I stitched out a Mandala design using my Subtle Strings threads.  This Mandala design was stitched out as part of QuiltShopGal’s Bee Creative Charity Project.  Click here to read more.  QuiltShopGal also showed my pencil sketch schematic of this stitched Mandala in her post. You are free to use it as an inspiration for your quilting.

SubtleStrings-Large-Outside

SubtleStrings-Large-Inside

Sometimes, a little subtlety goes a long way, yes?  To illustrate how subtle the colors of my Subtle Strings thread spools are, I contrast them against a solid black background.  The flower center is stitched with Aurifil 40wt threads in the bright and loud shades in order to give contrast to the colors and the 50wt threads I had chosen for Subtle Strings.  All 12 Subtle Strings colors are stitched in the 12 outer petals.

IMG_3484

It’s interesting to me to see how the colors look SO different when wound on spools vs. when they are stitched out. In this case, when the thread is stitched out (without the effect of the collective rounds of wound thread), you might even say some of the threads are subtly similar in shades — thus the name, Subtle Strings. :)  Take a look at the corresponding colors to the stitched petals, and you will quickly see the effect of “collective vs loner”.  For example, that yellow thread doesn’t look so yellow after all.

IMG_3489

My two cents:

#1.  ALWAYS, always (!) audition the color of your threads but pulling a thread by itself and lay it against your fabrics to see if you like the thread color on your quilt, instead of laying the entire spool on the fabric for audition.  Of course that is the lazy way.  You can always actually stitch out the colors on actual fabrics if you are the very responsible kind, haha!  As for me, I tread the quickest path that gets me to the actual quilting part.

***There are logical reasons to my Subtlety (see below):

#2.  Interchangeable shades — that means I have used the similar shades of colors TOGETHER in a quilt in the situation where I ran out of one color during the quilting process, and proceeded using the one with the similar shade.  The effect is almost unnoticeable (unless inspected up close), especially with those two blue shades.

#3. The top center cream shade is my favorite neutral shade (#2130) that I use to piece AND quilt most of the time.  BUT, I have also learned that the other shades (like the light pink, lavender, light blue, gray and taupe) are suitable for piecing as well – even for light fabrics.  So, if you have threads in subtle colors laying around, use them like you would a neutral thread in your sewing!

#4.  The softer colors accentuates the texture of quilting if you want the effect of your quilting not overpowering.

The following picture shows what I call “lemonade” quilting.  The thread is the light pink quilted against a yellow fabric:

IMG_9742

#5.  I also picked those shades for hand applique purposes because those shades blend well in securing the applique pieces onto background fabrics.  I read somewhere a long time ago to no pick loud shades for hand applique.  And I have always used subtle shades for hand applique.

wip

#6.  And of course all the Subtle Strings threads are in 50wt.  The reason being, for those starting out with domestic machine quilting, I always encourage them to use the finest thread they can find.  I started out using 100wt silk (you can read more about it and see more pictures here).  As I taught domestic machine quilting, I had found that the 50wt really gives the students the best results that eventually confidence in them to continue in domestic machine quilting.  [From my personal teaching experience, it has to be the Aurifil 50wt that gives the best result!  I would hand out 50 wt threads to student who are struggling in class to have them just try the thread – they are always amazed at the difference the thread makes!]  So, the 50wt is definitely a great weight to start!

#7.  When used for quilting, I find that the 50wt masks mistakes really well, and oftentimes that is what give beginners the initial confidence to keep on quilting on their domestic machines.

#8.  The 50wt is my favorite weight for piecing.  I think that the 50wt helps with achieving precision in piecing.  I found that subtle shades of pink, green, blue or yellow work just as well color-wise as the neutrals in piecing!

My Color Burst quilt comes to mind – that quilt was completed from start to finish (finish means bound and set to the magazine editor) in 5 days.  I have to say it wouldn’t have been possible for me to do had it not been the Aurifil 50wt threads that helped me so much in achieving the precision in piecing.  Keep in mind these HST finish at 1 1/2″ square.

IMG_4736

IMG_1405

I think I finally ran out of my 2-cents on being subtle here. :)  I hope you will look and see what threads you might have to stitch them out, just to see how they would look on fabrics like I did with my Subtle Strings colors on a black. I will have more projects like that to show and share with you this year — and hope that you will make experimenting a point in your quilting journey this year!

IMG_3503

You may contact Donna at www.followthatthread.com to order your own Subtle Strings collection.  A big shout out to Quilters Newsletter for including the collection in the Staff Picks section of their latest issue (April/May 2016).  Have you see my Tartan Links quilt in that same issue?

QN Subtle Strings

Alrightie — Friends, I am going to have a date with my Aurifil 50wt threads as I have to get a quilt top pieced and shipped out tomorrow.  I hope you have a most lovely weekend!  Quilty hugs to you – whether you are a quilter or not.

Tuesday Tidbits & Thread Talk From My Sewing Machine #68

Hello Friends – we had snow yesterday, and now the snow should be melting away.  I saw SUN — SUN is good!!! Yesterday, I chatted with Pat Sloan about precuts… did you hear it?  If you missed it and still want to brave listening to me, the link to the podcast is here.  A shout out to Pat for having me!

American Patchwork Quilting Pocast episode 294 Wendy Sheppard

You may read more about my Creative New Quilts & Projects book here.  The book page will be updated as I post more information about the book.  Something exciting is afoot as well regarding my book.  So, stay tuned!

AND — between now and Friday this week, my publisher is offering 20% off the cover price of the book.  Click HERE to purchase your copy, or HERE if you prefer it as a pdf download!

coupon

***

And I am happy to announce the winner of my Learn to Machine Quilt online class giveaway from two Fridays ago.  The winner is: AnnD (#22).  I have written you an email as well.  Someone at Annie’s will be in touch with you regarding the setup of your class!  Thank you all for entering!

***

NOW — A bit of Thread Talk!  Have you ever been in a situation where you can’t quite see the markings from your fabric marker because the ink is either the same color as your fabric, or that the fabric is too dark, and as a result your markings aren’t quite showing up?  That happened to me in my most recently completed quilt.  My blue fabric marker markings didn’t show on the blue fabrics in my quilt.  I rarely mark when I quilt because I am a bit lazy, but I had to mark for this particular quilt because I was doing all straight line quilting.  And I chose the intersection all happening on/near my blue blocks…  (because I have a knack of making more work for myself).  SO, instead of going over the markings with a white marker, I used a VERY thin ruler (mine is less than or very close to 1 mm thick) to guide while I straigut-line-quilted on the blue/dark blocks.  Worked like a charm!!!  Try it, you might like it.  [For this particular quilt, I wasn’t doing uniform 45-degree cross-hatching, so, I couldn’t get by with using the ruler to do all the quilting.  But I was happy #1.  I didn’t have to re-mark on the spots I couldn’t quite see, and #2.  The ruler-guided straight line quilting gave me STRAIGHT lines!]

IMG_3337

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you were able to add yet another little trick to your quilting tool box!  Till next time.