Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Organizational Balance

When I read the "Thread Organizing Tips and Tricks" description for our latest Aurifil Artisan challenge truth be told I cringed a little.  Let's just say that my skill in the area of neat and tidy sewing notions is not a strength.  The more I thought about it the more I wanted share a few ideas from that perspective as I'm sure I'm not alone. 

First off, Aurifil in all of its many colors and weights is a source of inspiration - Eye Candy to be enjoyed.  Although I tend to create in chaos, surrounding myself with pretty things like a vintage jar of thread, buttons and ribbons has value too.  

There is also a practical side to consider and keeping those beautiful spools safe and accessible is priority.  Because I don't want the to have the thread surface bumped around, I keep the new spools that are still wrapped securely stored this way. 

I'm a huge fan of the cone which given the size, can be a bit harder to find space for.  Lucky for me, I repurposed a CD cabinet to stack my fat quarter bundles in and realized that the shelves work nicely for cones as well.  

If you have a furry sewing sidekick use an upper shelf and put closed containers in the lower ones to make it less likely for them to help himself to your toys.  Just like fabric in my sewing room, I'm careful to limit direct sun exposure on my thread and try to avoid the damage that may be caused over time. 

When I take the open spools out and about to retreat or a workshop, I like to use something with structure to keep them from jostling in transit like this hand crafted zipper case. I’ve also received so many beautiful swaps over the years and any excuse to use and admire them is welcome. 

While working on a particular project it's smart to designate a specific container to keep the thread selection in until finished. 

Of course the very best solution for at home or away is the Thread Storage Case by Aurifil available on their website.  I've found that I can stack two small spools together and have the lid snap closed especially if they are partially used.  While I don't necessarily sort by weight or color all the time, I'm sure that is something that many makers would find useful and the color coded spools make that easy. 

For my final words of wisdom I have a tip that is organizational in  a less physical way. Photograph the spool ends with your quilt in the background and store the picture in a digital folder.  On a iPhone it’s easy to search the word “thread” if you forget this step. 

This is really useful if you need to temporarily borrow a color for another project or as reference later when auditioning what the thread looks like once stitched. 

Be sure to check out the helpful tips and tricks from the other Aurifil Artisans. 

Sunday, January 21, 2024

2023 Recap

 Before we head into a new month I want to post a brief year end recap.  Nothing represents my quilting in a nutshell more than Monthly Markers given that I choose one project worked on at that point and time as the graphic. Sometimes it’s a quilt easily recognizable and often it’s a sneak at secret sewing. 

A highlight for my creativity is always the things made and mailed off to my BeeSewcial mates in response to the prompts. You can scan back in my Instagram feed for details and descriptions of each and to see them in proper scale. 

Thankfully I’ve kept up pretty consistently adding images as I finished them to the 2023 Quilts blog page (see tab above ) . While not as prolific as 2022 it’s a nice showing of 16 and combination of quilt alongs, donated and gifted in the bunch. For non quilting items it was mainly bags and blouses. 

My Aurifil Artisan challenges can be found in depth on the blog “older posts “ and my instagram feed. 

The takeover weekend on Aurifil’s IG account was a lot of fun and much less nerve racking having done it previously. The monthly challenges continue to push me. Trying new techniques and threads is a great opportunity and having my work shared to a wider audience on their blog is an honor. 

Among the years highlights there were several shows that I shipped quilts to and a few that I attended in person. Seeing “Connections “ in the AQS printed program was a thrill. I even curated an exhibit of 40+ quilts for my guild PVQA at PIQF for the first time. 
Unlike Houston Festival where 10 members were able to travel and be together for the Quilts of Bee Sewcial, I was happy to represent solo at the Long Beach special exhibit and give a gallery talk about our quilts. 

We adopted Parker in October and although it’s nice to once again have a sewing sidekick he’s still in the puppy phase just turning a year old. Juggling quilting while keeping everything out of reach is a balancing act that we’re improving upon daily.  I’m looking forward to gather inspiration during our walks and quilting in 2024 with him as my helper. 

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Scissor Covers and 8 weight threads

The soon to be released 8 weight 2 ply cotton thread from Aurifil was a dream to experiment with.  Before becoming an Aurifil Artisan I'd really only used 40 wt and 50 wt threads and have since  played with 28 wt, 12 wt, 80 wt and monofilament too but 8 wt is all new to me.  

I rummaged through my fabric scraps to find something special to make my scissor cover from.  The subtle color of thread 2420 Light Blush, 2930 Golden Toast and 2840 Loden Green are three of the 20 that will be for sale debuting at QuiltCon next month in partner with Suzy Quilts and her evolve collection. 

The tie dye velvet scraps that I had picked up along the way, (probably from a guild destash event) fit the task nicely.  With the thickness of the 8 wt thread, I was pretty confident that my stitches wouldn't get lost in the texture of the fabric and was right. 

My original plan was to cut two pieces of velvet using a hand drafted paper template for the front and back.  I forgot to reverse the orientation and ended up with two fronts instead.  Digging deep into my stash I came up with a tan faux leather, for the lining I chose a loose weave and included bamboo/silk batting. 

I also chose to hand stitch with an organic free form approach, changing thread color, style and direction as I went along by letting myself be influenced by the design of the velvet.  For the construction of the front and back by machine I used 2315 Shell 40 wt and after turning the parts right side out, I used 80 wt by hand to close the opening.  

Golden Toast blended well and reminded me a bit of book binding.  For my first cover I kept to the woven lining shown above but on the second you can see below that I embraced the holes and indents created from the needle as adding more texture. Another difference is that I left out the batting, used two of the three thread colors on the front and didn't line the backing, a green faux leather.

For the snap of the first cover I had to use the stitch on style because if was an afterthought and I'd already turned and closed up my seams.  An advantage of doing another version was that I could use the prong style snap and I like the way the pearl shows off in the back.  

The 8 wt thread was surprisingly easy to work with even through multiple layers.  Although I did try using a doubled strand of Loden Green, I preferred the look of a single strand for this project.  The weight is so nicely visible that it works well in a more minimalistic design. I'm definitely a big fan and look forward to using the other colors in the future.