Monday, November 28, 2011

Small Business Saturday Shopping

I did my patriotic duty this past Saturday during the whole Black Friday shopping mania and supported locally owned business by going to my LQS, Bigsby's Sewing Center in Elm Grove, WI, and then out to lunch at a locally owned restaurant. 

I stocked up on a few necessary items:  Fabric!  Thread!  And the gorgeous sateen jacquard print by Lecien above, had to get the last of the bolt.  I had quilted on this the night before and it quilts so wonderfully and I love the colors, so this was not a huge decision to find it on sale and waiting to come home with me.

DH said "but what do you need it for?"  Oh my.

I also got some of the Kaufmann Radiance, the shimmery fabrics that are a cotton and silk blend and also quilt up so beautifully.  The gold fabric is some silk dupioni by Moda that I couldn't resist, so beautiful.  I'm working on a small project on dusty rose sateen and needed more of the YLI gold silk thread I'm using for that, and some of the YLI taupe Sparkle for the motifs, seen peeking out on my prototype, below.

This combo of thread and fabric is new for me, a departure from my more sedate ways, but it gives a very rich, vintage look to this little quilt, a Delectable Mountains pieced design.  I am considering it an experiment, and am loving working on the smaller scale, although I have to say, larger designs and quilting are easiser, this is quite demanding.  But fun, of course. 

And you might wonder how Oliver fared over the turkey weekend.  He loved the holiday, the lights on, the house cozy and all the cooking prep, the Packers game and all the yelling, more food prep, more veggies, delicious odors from delicious food. 

We did get him to lick a bit of turkey gravy from a small cat-sized plate with a pink design on it that went with his pink nose nicely, but mostly he loved the veggies.

For dessert he tackled the bananas while we were snoozing in the other room.......

I hope you support your local quilt shop and other locally owned businesses all the time.  The owners work so hard to find treasures and basics for us so we can be creative and have the tools and supplies available for our quilting.  They also find what's new and fabulous, keep our machines purring, and give advice and information.  I always learn something when visiting a quilt shop.

Hope your Thanksgiving weekend was wonderful, and now you can have a bit of time for quilting. 

Keep quilting - your work gets better every day!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Preparing for Thanksgiving

Soon it will be the big day!  Oliver helped prepare veggies for supper last week, getting in the mood for the feast this Thursday.  He is an odd cat.  Of all the cats I've had he is the only Vegan.  He loves his veggies.  He'd kill for carrot tops, Brussels sprouts, corn on the cob.  He chomps down raw green beans with gusto. 

If I have water-packed tuna and drain off a bit of the juice for him, he backs away as if affronted and horrified.  Tuna!  Our former cats would be aghast at his passing this up.

However, one of his funniest activities is wrestling a banana off the counter and throwing it to the floor, where he will continue to play with it and kill it for a long time.  We've learned the sacrifice of one banana is worth the joy he has, and the smiles we have.  Sometimes we hear the thuds from the other room, and knowingly say "dead banana."

Recently he has decided to try the bottom-of-the-bowl milk from cereal.  Just a lick of it left in the bottom, and he is on my lap ready to try it.  I think it took well over a year for him to believe the world has more excitement than veggies. 

But, no meat so far, no cheese or butter or peanut butter.  No fast food chicken nuggets or burger bites.  He is interested in any food that comes into the house, but maintains his dignity at his bowl of official chow, and stays a trim weight and is healthy as can be. 

Last Thanksgiving he ignored the meal.  I wonder if this year the tempting odors will lure him into trying....just a bite?? 

Hope your holiday will be wonderful with delicious food and many blessings.

Monday, November 7, 2011

YLI Sparkle Metallic Thread

I've been playing with YLI Sparkle thread, a twist of #100 silk, in this case ecru silk, and metallic thread, here in gold.  It also comes in silver colorways from pale to dark. 

The feather above is quilted on a very lightweight soft silk from an old blouse, washed and pressed.  In real life it is shimmery and elegant, really lovely with the slight sparkle or "fairy dust" from the thread.  It is a much lighter and more heirloom look, with a twinkle in the stitches, not heavy like a straight metallic.

Background quilting is done in pale yellow #100 YLI silk thread.

I used a #70 Jersey needle (YLI recommended Jersey needles for this thread) and had no trouble at all.  I could quilt at my normal speed, change directions smoothly with no fraying or breaking.  It looks really quite wonderful. 

If you are quilting through heavier fabrics, a denser batt or backing fabric, or a top with lots of piecing joins or fused areas, of course you would use a larger Jersey needle or even a Top Stitch needle. 

For every project with specialty threads you must try a stitch-out on the actual materials you will be using in the real quilt, and find the magic combination of thread, needle, tension, and stitch length that works the best, and looks the best.

#100 silk thread was used in the bobbin, and I lowered the top tension from default #4 to 1.75.

Thread spool was on the vertical spindle of the machine.

Many times owners' manuals will give so much info about needles and threads and how to use them on your particular machine, settings, etc.  Mine has pages of info, very nice.

Now I am busy quilting with a deeper shade of Sparkle thread on a medium colored fabric.  The feathers I have tried so far I did in the "old" method where there is no space between each one as in the one here, and I did backtracking or "travelling" to get to the next feather.  Again, it worked perfectly, and the doubling of the thread was not obnoxious or too noticeable.  It looks wonderful.  I'll post photos of that when this small quilt is finished.

If it turns out!  If not, I'll explain the problems.  It's fun to try new things and challenge yourself to improve your own style of quilting or give it a slightly new and fresh look.  I probably won't use metallics that often but I love knowing they are there in my toolbox of techniques for free motion machine quilting, and I know how to use them.

Try something new today, and keep quilting.....your work gets better everyday!