Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Back to School! Choosing Aurifil Thread Weight!

Back to School means Back to SEW for many moms and dads around the country!

I am sharing tips on Thread weights and where to use them today!

Using the correct thread weight for upper, bobbin and needle size will help make your sewing projects more fun! Less skipped stitches and no breaking threads!

Time to go Back to School with Sam Hunter!

Thread and needle compatibility with the materials and thickness of the project being sewn. There are different weights ( thicknesses ) of threads and each has their recommended use(s).  the same applies to needles.  Some people have difficultly with their projects and look to their machine as the culprit. many times the issue is with not choosing the proper thread and needle weight/size.

Our machines are everything! If it is not happy, we are not happy!  Choosing the right thread and the correct needle size will eliminate many "machine" issues and will also help your machine sew better LONGER!

I wrote notes in my planner to help keep track of the Aurifil thread weights and needle weights.  I use Schmetz needles for my machine sewing.

Aurifil 12 wt, the red spools,  is the thickest thread.  It comes in both cotton ( mako) and wool ( lana).

This thread is a wonderful choice for
Machine quilting

When using on your domestic sewing machine:
Use 50wt for the bobbing thread
Reduce your sewing speed

Needle size:
100/16 machine embroidery
90/14 machine quilting

I have also used 12wt cotton for hand sewing buttons on my Cathedral Window Pincushions.

Aurifil 28 wt is the grey spool.  It is cotton (mako)

This is my favorite thread weight and is also perfect for
Higher impact quilting without the fussiness of 12wt

For a domestic home sewing machine:
Use 50wt for the bobbing thread ( although I have successfully used 28wt in top and bobbin)

Needle Size: 90/40

Aurifil 40wt is the green spool and is cotton (mako)

This is a wonderful All Purpose Thread!

This is a thread you will want to have on hand for a variety of uses, including

Piecing ( not the number one choice but many people do)
Garment sewing
Bag sewing

For a domestic home sewing machine:
You can use 40wt in top and bobbin with ease

Needle size: 70/10 or 80/12

Aurifil 50wt is the FAVORITE, the star of the show!  50wt is cotton (mako)

This is the number one piecing thread!  Other uses for this wt include:

Garment sewing
Quilting ( for when you want the quilting to melt into the fabric)

For a domestic home sewing machine:
You can use 50wt in the top and bobbin

Needle size:

Most importantly! BE ADVENTUROUS!  Make a 10x10 of what you want to try and give it a GO! I always make a sample to try out some old and new! 

There is also a wealth of information on the sticker on the bottom of the Aurifil spool!

Here is a short tip clip on how to read the information on a spool to tell you all you need to know before you sew!

Make sure to check out the other tips by these amazing designers!

Day 1 – August 15 – Sam Hunter: How to spray baste a BIG quilt –
Day 2 – August 16 – Mandy Leins: Thread Dread: removing stray bits after quilting –
Day 3 – August 17 – Nancy Stovall: The Sweet Creamy Filling –
Day 4 – August 18 – Ebony Love: 7 Indispensible feet for your sewing machine –
Day 5 – August 19 – Michelle Freedman: Machine throat plates –
Day 6 – August 20 – Teresa Coates: Edge/Under/Top stitching –
Day 7 – August 21 – Kelly Cole: Ten ways to regain your sew-jo –
Day 8 – August 22 – Megan Dougherty: Choose to Fuse: tips for working with fusibles for applique –
Day 9 – August 23 – Kim Lapacek: Tricks to being productive while hauling your kids around –
Day 10 – August 24 – Yvonne Fuchs: Circuitboard quilting on Domestic and Longarm Machines –
Day 11 – August 25 – Sandi Hazlewood: Chain Piecing Quilt Blocks Tips –
Day 12 – August 26 – Juliet van der Heijden: Paper-piecing with children –
Day 13 – August 27 – Maddie Kertay: Fabric folding for any storage solution –
Day 14 – August 28 – Cath Hall: Working with Lawn fabric –
Day 15 – August 29 – Tracy Mooney: Tips for the perfect seam –
Day 16 – August 30 – Teri Lucas: How to bury thread –
Day 17 – August 31 – Debby Brown: Securing machine quilting knots – www.
Day 18 – September 1 – Flaun Cline: How to put some sparkle in your fabric pull (part 1) –
Day 19 – September 2 – Jessica Darling: How to put some sparkle in your fabric pull (part 2) –
Day 20 – September 3 – Trish Frankland: A bigger blade really IS better?! –
Day 21 – September 4 – Robin Koehler: Tips on how to travel with handwork –
Day 22 – September 5 – Jane Davidson: How to make scrappy HSTs –
Day 23 – September 6 – Linda Pearl: Low cost tips for organizing your sewing room –
Day 24 – September 7 – Christa Watson – Top 10 tips for quilting on a domestic machine –
Day 25 – September 8 – Sarah Nunes: To Starch or Not to Starch –
Day 26 – September 9 – Suzy Webster: Testing fabric for bleeding –
Day 27 – September 10 – Sarah Goer: Machine bind your quilts like a pro –
Day 28 – September 11 – Vanda Chittenden: Beginner paper-piecing tips –
Day 29 – September 12 – Cheryl Sleboda: Needle threading tips –
Day 30 – September 13 – Kim Niedzwiecki – Different thread weights and when to use them –
Day 31 – September 14 – Sandra Healy: Conquer Your Fear of Machine Appliqué –
Day 32 – September 15 – Sandra Starley: The Basics of Antique Quilt Collecting –

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Upcycled O Brother Quilt Top Completed!

I had forgotten to share so much in the past month!  Sewing has happened at a Summer Break pace but it is happening. Writing about it has been happening less.

O Brother Quilt Top has been finished ! This quilt is made from 100% up cycled garments.  I call them my thrifted, gifted and found.  They are mostly from the blue bins at the Goodwill where you can buy textiles by the pound for very little. I choose mostly 100% cotton mens button up shirts but am not afraid of blends. I piece all of my quilts using Aurifil 50wt threads.

There was no way to take a photo so I had the not so little guy run into the sunset with it.  He was not thrilled about doing this at all.  I may have had to bribe with ice cream but it got the job done and that is what was needed!

This was in Jun and now it is almost much catching up to do!


This quilt will be sent to Mandy Leins for her incredible quilting and then time to bind! 

Here it is almost finished up on the design wall. I love the way the different fabrics give the quilt a texture and depth that regular quilters cotton cannot.

Curious what more I can accomplish in the next few weeks of Summer Break...hmmm...

What have you been working on this Summer?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Hello! Blog Hop with Susan Emory

Hello!  is the fun new collection by Susan Emory for Michael Miller Fabrics!  The bright colors are delightful to work with!  The retro prints are perfect for larger fussy cuts, small bags or journal covers.  I can even see some people wanting to Mod Podge these fabrics on many items...because Mod Podge works on I right 😊

When my bundle arrived, I thought I was going to be making another project.  I had everything cut out and ready to go but it sat unfinished.  Mostly because I thought it was going to be the PERFECT project for these fabrics but this one is even BETTER!

This Hello mini quilt is fussy cut fun!  The pattern is by Kate Basti  and is a free paper piecing block!  It is called Tall Tales Block and you can find it here!

The pages fabrics are from thrifted mens shirts. So far, that is the best fabrics I have found to make the pages really look like pages! 

All of my blocks were pieced using Aurifil 50wt thread on my Bernina.

If you were not at Quilt Market, here are some photos of Susan's booth with all of her lovely fabrics! 

Susan is also sharing a FREE PATTERN for you to get started making something!

There are more fun projects and GIVEAWAYS for this Blog Hop so be sure to visit EVERYONE to get in on the fun! 

Blog Hop Schedule:
Monday, July 17th: Aurifil and The Fat Quarter Gypsy
Tuesday, July 18th: Seams Like a Dream and Tamarinis
Wednesday, July 19th: My Go Go Life and Unspooled
Thursday, July 20th: Geta’s Quilting Studio and Pieces of Me

Monday, June 19, 2017

Monday Motivation { fussy cuts, up cycling & pat sloan}

Welcome back to Monday Motivation!  This week includes so many exciting things!  Fussy cuts, up cycling and Pat Sloan...OH MY!

I will be a guest on Pat Sloan's American Patchwork and Quilting radio show this afternoon at 4pm EST!  Pat and I will have fun chatting about SEWING ( I know you are all surprised!)!

Pat and I will be chatting about my favorites!  She knows I am a fussy cutting fiend!  I will fussy cut just about anything!  

For many of my blocks for The Splendid Sampler, I added fussy cuts like this incredible paper pieced block!

I have also been slowly adding to my economy blocks with fussy cut centers.  I have a tutorial on how to create a template for these fussy cuts with a video included by visiting here.

For really tiny pieces, this pincushion center was 1/4" finished, I use a stiletto.

I also try to take full advantage of the fabrics in my stash!  Try making a template with parchment paper and try different angles for more variety! 

I have been sewing along with The Fussy Cut Sampler on Instagram and here are my latest blocks.  There are 48 total and we are on number 13 this week! 

Finally, I was going to have this quilt top finished yesterday but the final block went MISSING!  I was counting as I was sewing up to a certain point but then lost track and LOST a block.  Not quite sure what happened to it or where is is hiding.  I will have to send in diggers to find it so I can finish this top!

This is made from 100% what I call thrifted, gifted and found textiles.  It is mostly shirts from the thrift store but friends have sent me garments and i will dive into my own closet to add to the stash if need be.

I have tons of links to sewing projects with up cycled garments that you can find by visiting here

I hope you find inspiration in these tutorials and make some creative time for yourself! 

Please join me for more fabulous tutorials, inspirations and humor that I share everyday on:

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Sunday Sewing { Fussy Cut Sampler Sew Along}

This past week started the Fussy Cut Sampler Sew Along!  My friends Elisabeth and Nichole wrote this fantastic book about something that is near and dear to my heart...fussy cut quilt blocks!

If I can add a fussy cut, you know I will 😉

Fussy cuts are a way to add an element of surprise, bring a block to life or tell your personal story.

You can start your fussy cut stash by looking in your existing fabrics!  There really is fussy cut potential in almost all small print fabrics! if you do not have a huge stash, you can start asking your friends if they would like to swap or find organized swaps online.  And even I am not above buying scrap packs from time to time!  You can find scrap packs in Etsy shops or sometimes in fabric destashes on Instagram.

We had the first chapter fly by this week!  Here are my first blocks...

Block One is a fun fussy cut fabric sent to me by +Pat Sloan!  Vintage FAB!

Block Two won votes on my Instagram stories!  The Heather Ross vans are always a winner!  I chose them and and his dog for the center and the campers for the outer two spaces to keep it less cluttered and to give a more complete overall look.  It compliments instead of competes.

The chickens were another Instagram viewers choice winner!  There is a cat in the upper left corner too ( someone has to keep the chickens in line) but she is very difficult to see hiding in plain view ( as cats do)!

I simply could not resist all of the crazy HOT PINK and red dots when I found this tiny piece of cake! 

When working with small pieces and bias cut fabrics, I use two things to make my piecing more accurate:

1. Spray starch!  I LOVE starch!  I may overuse it but it helps the fabric keep its shape and gives you crisp blocks.

2. Aurifil 50wt.  This is the most popular and best piecing thread.  It is strong, thin and will not let you down.  This thread melts into the fabric to give you the most accurate seams and the flattest backs you have ever seen.  Not all 50 wt threads are the same.  The weight is the raw material, not the final product.

I hope you will join the fun of this sew along with these fast beautiful blocks!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Up cycled Courthouse Steps Quilt ( quilting with garments)

I am a huge fan of sewing with what I call thrifted, gifted and found textiles.  For quilts I will use anything with the exception of knits.  I do not mind sewing with knits but I do not like spending the time to prep them with lightweight interfacing.

The youngest will be taking over the room that was being used by his brother while he was living at home for the past year and a half.  He will finally have the twin or bunk beds ( that has not been completely sorted out) and so he will need another quilt for the other bed.

I decided to make another up cycled quilt to not match but to be a "brother" quilt for him.  It will be a log cabin like his but it will be Courthouse Steps.  I have everything started and have been making progress...

These blocks are from bits and pieces that I have already in my stash and also from shirts that I grabbed from Michael while he was packing up to move to California to finish college.

I am piecing with Aurifil 50wt on my Bernina.

You can see more of the first quilt by visiting here.

If you want to know more about sewing with the thrifted, gifted and found...I wrote a Monday Motivation post that will help you get started into this amazing world of quilting  with something other than quilters cottons! You can find the full post by visiting here!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

What happens when real life happens to bloggers...

Blogs are places we go to see pretty, well organized, thoughtful, creative and motivational lives.

I am fortunate and have a beautiful home, four fantastic children ( even the short grumpy one), employment that makes me happy ( I am a Creative Social Media Manager working remotely ) and I have been married for almost 30 years to a pretty tolerant in-house engineer considering he puts up with fabric, sewing machines and ongoing projects all over the house.

In my life, you will not find a team that includes photographers or editors, no one to make graphics for me and no one to write or proof my copy ( although if I paid the teenager, she might and she would probably do it even better).

Everything I do on all of my social media is just me.  JUST ME! I am not complaining.  I find extreme joy in my life as a blogger and community builder. I adore people.  I adore the creative community! I find it a great honor to be even a small part of all of your lives!

I am putting this out in the world so hopefully you can understand that when there is a lapse, it is not because I am not wanting to be creative or share, it is because sometimes in life, other things happen and agendas do have to be prioritized in a different way.

My last post was a Monday Motivation post from 15 May.  After that post so many things ( both good and not so great happened) making it difficult to get my act together and even more difficult to write a blog post:

Here is how it all went down...

LIFE 101...

May 01 Michael told us he would be leaving for California to finish up his college degree in San Diego on 10 May.  SO HAPPY he is going but we had all thought he was staying until late May/early June

Everything is fine until...Adam gets sick on 03 May. We went through the entire school year with almost no illness at all!  We did have our yearly Christmas Break sick that seems to be mandatory but nothing major.  Adam was SICK. He was coughing for days on end so I had sick kid at home...and then Katy came down with it a few days later.  It was almost a full week of sick kids.  Not very productive at all.

Michael then was getting ready to move, getting his physical for a possible job in Antartica ( breast exam included...SWEAR!)...when the 10th arrived, it was really insanity!  I was helping him do all of his last minute packing ( and my work) and then he was on his way...and I was left devastated. I already miss him and Tara so very much.

The following day I was on my way to North Carolina to Pineapple Fabrics for their warehouse sale that happens every few months ( next one is August 3-4-5 and I will be there!).  It is a fast five hour drive from where I live so I go down, help out and snag some AMAZING fabrics! I drove and worked Thurs-Fri-worked until 2pm on Sat and then drove home.

These were all kinds of AWESOME!

I saw my good friend Jennifer Mathis from Ellison Lane Quilts and Sew South retreat goddess! It has been FOREVER since I saw her last and my heart was filled with JOY to see her!

It was a great weekend filled with some pretty amazing people and fabrics!

Monday I had work completed and my post UP!  I even had the house cleaned and almost 100% of the laundry done AND PUT AWAY! YAY ME!

Tuesday was possibly the best day I have had in years.  EVERYTHING was perfect.  My work was awesome, the weather was gorgeous and I had so much completed, it was crazy! I called the in house engineer to tell him of all of my good fortune and then said...OH NO! is too perfect...get ready for it!

I was born and raised in the South.  I am from pure bred superstitious stock.  I know it is all poppycock but when you are force fed superstition soup, you have a hard time letting it go, especially if it served up with cast iron cornbread and real butter.

And then it happened ( you kinda KNEW this was coming), I had a call from Adam's school...he had come into the office with a stomach ache.  He stayed for a bit, the let the nurse know that he was not trying to get out of the state standardized testing 😂 Even when he is serious he is funny!

He came home and things went downhill rapidly.  He was on the floor in PAIN.  I had never seen this in any of the kids.  The pain was unbearable. I convinced him to take a warm bath and that seemed to help for a few minutes until he got out and puked on the carpet in the hall because he did not have the energy to make it back to the bathroom...poor guy!

We spent another couple of hours with him in bed crying in pain and me not leaving his side.  Could not touch him but he wanted be to be there...and I was...

Until I decided that he HAD to be seen!  I found a local ( 30 min away) urgent care and broke every law making it there before they closed so that he could be seen.  Katy asked if I wanted her to come too.  I said yes because me carrying an 80+ pound child was probably not happening.

We made it with 4 minutes to spare!

He was seen and they took all kinds of samples, asked the usual questions ( fever...sore throat...out of the country...drainage (((((YUCK)))...and some others...NOPE to all of them.

The results came back as strep+ and a WBC over 34 THOUSAND...and with that we won the ticket to the closest emergency room.

Checking into the ER is always a crap shoot.  Sometimes you can get there and it is not too bad.  That was NOT the case at all the night we checked in at 11:01pm.  We waited...and waited...and waited...and waited...

Katy worked on her school paper that was due on her cell phone and my phone was almost dead.  I did not think we were going to be going to the ER so I did not bring my laptop or my charger for my phones.

They called us back at 0400...that is FOUR AM for those that were not in the military!  He was seen for five minutes by a kind dr and then it was decided that Adam would have to get shots of antibiotics.  Then more waiting...

We finally walked through the door of home at 0530.  Just in time for the in house engineer to go to work and for Katy to get ready for school.  YES, she told me that not only was she going to school, she had a tennis match. She is crazy!

I went to bed.  Staying up 24 hours was just not something this 50 year old could manage! Adam woke me up at 9:30 and was not in as much pain.  He had a fever at this point and still needed me so I spent time with him.

We are at Wed 17 may now, I think...

On Wednesday it was decided that I was going to be attending Quilt Market. I made my flight reservations, already had a place to stay and then started organizing all of the graphics and schedules for Missing Market.  I had all the graphics completed on Wednesday evening and started on all of the copy on Thursday.

My flight was Friday evening and I packed about one hour before I left home.  Thank goodness Adam was feeling much much better by Friday morning.

I was still working my regular job during all of this, so you can see where I may have had to make judgement calls for my poor blog.

Fly into St.Louis Friday night about 11pm...bed at 12am...OMG!!!!

I hit the Market floor with Sara the following morning at 9:30am!

I spent all day Saturday and only half the day Sunday taking notes ( I did not take photos because the lighting in there was the WORST), talking to people and trying to stay caught up on the Missing Market event.

I was so happy to see many people I have not seen in over a year.  Elisabeth from Robert Kaufman and author of the new book Fussy Cut Sampler ( I will be participating in the blog hop here)

I also met Mister Domestic!  We have been social media friends for some time now but this was the first time I had met him in real life.  He is as much of a trip in person as he is online.  It always amazes me when people say to me, " You are JUST like you are online!"  I am always me...and Mathew is ALWAYS himself, I like that! 

I flew home on Sunday and my head did not hit my pillow until 2 AM!

Yesterday ( we are now up to date almost), I was a zombie!  I still had to get kids ready, catch up on work and was all pretty crazy!

So here I am today.  Hoping that the rest of this week will be uneventful so I will be able to take care of my family, my business, my creative time blog!

I love my place here, it has been my place to share, to dream and to make connections with people that have been friends in real life and online.

After I emptied my bag today ( looking for my keys because some DUFUS made two drs appointments on the SAME FREAKING DAY), these goodies fell out and they were just perfect to brighten my day and quilt those superstitious deamons!

I am hoping to have more pretty photos and projects up VERY soon! What happens when bloggers are interrupted by real life  ( both good and some not so good) is lapsed posts.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Monday Motivation {4th of July free pattern links}

Welcome back to Monday Motivation! Warmer weather and July 4th will be here before you know it!  Time to start getting ready for parades, block parties and BBQ!

In this week's collection are free patterns for quilts, printables, pinwheels and other fun things to make your day memorable!

Get ready for the RED, WHITE and BLUE!!!!!

Bonnie Hunter has this fabulous Red White and Blue free quilt pattern here.

Star Spangled Banner Bunting free pattern from Petals to Pitocs can be found by visiting here.

Better Homes and Gardens has a collection of free small quilts including this Patriotic table topper! This pattern and more can be found by visiting here.

Take over as grill master with this fun apron pattern free from Crazy Little Projects.

Make some cute Star potholders using this free tutorial from Art Threads that can be found here.

Free 4th of July party printables can be found on Tip Junkie

Make these fun festive stars to add to your July 4th party! Lia Griffith has the how to for this creative DIY here!

Patchwork Posse has an adorable Quilt As You Go Pillow tutorial perfect for your home decor! 

Looking for a way to add fireworks to your cones?  That Bald Chic has a tutorial that will delight the kids ( and some adults too)! 

This stitching project is free from Glory Bee and can be found by visiting here.

Maison De Pax has the most adorable mason jar diy that can be found here

Paper Pinwheels are EVERYTHING for a block party or July 4th parade! Good Housekeeping has the how to for these fun additions here.

I hope you find inspiration in these tutorials and make some creative time for yourself! 

Please join me for more fabulous tutorials, inspirations and humor that I share everyday on:

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