Saturday, June 30, 2012

Clumsiness Has Struck Me Again

I have never clamed to be graceful and I have proved it over and over again during my whole lifetime.  I won’t go into all my awkward moments where I have fallen, walked into things, or tripped up but there have been many.  This time I didn’t trip, I didn’t fall, I didn’t bang into anything.  Here is the photo of my boo boo.IMG_8920Now to tell you what I did.  Remember I told you I cleaned out a closet where I keep some of my sewing supplies?  Well, I had a small wooden dresser in there and was moving it around and dropped it on my bare foot.  I was surprised it hurt so bad and didn’t look at my foot right away and when I did, I knew why it hurt.  The dresser was one of those small unpainted kind that I got in college and it is pretty light weight, especially with the drawers out like they were that day.  Basically I just dropped it when I was trying to fit it into the closet space and one corner landed on the top of my bare foot so now I have puffy purple bruise.  I know….what a klutz I am.  If I would have been smart enough to wear shoes I would not have injured myself but I pretty much go without shoes all summer long and flip flops when I go out.

Maybe I will be more graceful from now on but am not counting on it as it is just probably in my nature!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Playing With Coats and Clarks Trilobal Polyester Thread….Again

IMG_8918After quilting the one sample using the Coats and Clarks 100% Trilobal Polyester thread I wanted to play some more with this thread.  I divided the square into quarters on the diagonal so I would have triangles to practice on, something new for me.  My goal was to fill each triangle with some different quilting design.  Three of the triangles were just quilted free hand with no marks while the curved grid was marked on the fabric. 

This whole sample is stitched with this thread except the background quilting on the bottom triangle which is stitched with Dual Duty cotton covered polyester machine embroidery thread.  The size 12 topstitch needle slipped in and out of the fabric so smoothly.  I’ve found that the more smoothly the needle goes in and out of the fabric the more easily it is to get smooth curves.

Other info on this quilt sample – cotton batting but don’t know brand, Bottom Line thread by Superior Threads in the bobbin, 12/80 topstitch needle.  Again I will definitely use this thread again.

My sewing machine was off limits to me for a few days as our granddaughters were here and they were busy doing their 4-H sewing.  They both love to sew and chose to make flannel PJ pants.  It was so nice this year in that they finally really “get it” and could stitch on their own after checking with me to be sure they were doing it right.  The pants are finished and ready for the fair and the girls are thrilled to get to sew something they will get to wear.  They have gone home now so it is quiet here and I am back to stitching my samples and doing a little gardening.

I started cleaning out a sewing closet while the girls were here and pulled everything out and have it sorted, organized and things are put away but…….I have lots of stuff left over.  I have to sit down and decide how much I can get rid of or store in another place.  I do know it is not getting put back into that closet.

Nebraska has been experiencing a real heat wave lately.  Wednesday my oldest granddaughter S. was finishing up sewing and it was already 7 pm when she noticed the thermometer and let me know it was still 104 degrees F. We were glad we were inside and not out in that heat.  I don’t know how hot it got during the day but know it was rather miserable outside.  These hot days are hard on livestock and hard on crops as well as the people that have to be outside working.  John comes in the house just wringing wet and I try to make sure he is drinking enough water and gets to cool down.

Tomorrow is our town celebration so hope it is cooler (94 degrees F today.)  I plan to go to the garage sales in the morning, lunch served at noon at the tractor pull, barbeque in the evening followed by a parade and fireworks.  I plan to skip the 5K walk, jog, run and the tractor pull in the morning.  If it is hot I plan to come home and cool off in my house between activities.

Well – that’s it for now.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Quilting with YLI Variations and Coats & Clark Trilobal Polyester

IMG_8828I decided that quilting 2 thread samples together on a longer pieces of fabric would be easier than quilting each sample on a 12” square.  I marked the center of the pieces and so it was easy to quilt each thread in it’s own section.  The edges of the quilt squares are the hardest to quilt so I eliminated two of the edges by using the longer pieces of fabric.  I did cut the sample into the two pieces after I was finished though.IMG_8888This first sample is stitched with YLI Variations thread.  This is a 2 ply 35 wt. 100%  polyester trilobal thread.  Trilobal thread has excellent light reflection so it is nice and shiny.  My thread was variegated in shades of browns and very lovely when stitched out.  The color changes in the thread are subtle and blend well from one to another.  I would classify this as a heaver looking thread when stitched...more on the Glide (reviewed on an earlier post) or the Coats and Clarks thread (shown below.)

My Bernina 730 loved this thread and the tension didn’t need to be adjusted.  I really liked stitching with this thread and would use it again.  I did like the cone it came on too as the bottom snapped open then closed to wrap the thread when finished, a nice feature to keep it from unraveling.  I did use Bottom Line by Superior Threads for the bobbin thread like all my other samples so far.IMG_8887The other half of that sample was stitched with Coats & Clarks size 40 wt. 100% Trilobal Polyester thread.  I purchased it from JoAnn Fabrics and it stitched out easily and it too had a nice shine to the stitches.  I would use this one again too.  I could not figure out how to secure the thread on the spool, the top ring moves around but doesn’t seem to work to secure it after stitching - does anyone have an idea what that ring is for?.

Again my Bernina loved stitching this with thread and I would classify it in the same category as maybe Glide.  Since it is easier for me to purchase locally it might be a better fit for when I want a thicker shiny trilobal thread.

These quilting samples are so much fun to do.  I am learning about the threads, how they behave and if I like using them and what they look like next to other threads of different types or similar types and weights.  I have used a lot of these threads before but never really analyzed them as I was stitching.  Stitching one kind/brand of thread after another also makes the differences more evident.

I am hoping to get better at machine quilting and stitching the designs I already know how to stitch and experimenting with stitching new or new to me designs.  Click on the photos to see the stitch samples in more detail.  These are just practice pieces so if I wobbled  or didn’t stitch the pattern correctly I just left my mistakes – why spend time ripping on a sample.  I am keeping it fun, fun, fun and so far it is.

Until Later,
PS....I forgot to say I used a size 12/80 topstitch needle, my BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator foot) and cotton batting (I don't know what brand as it was an unmarked scrap in my batting box)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Machine Quilting With Glide Thread

IMG_8722I had heard wonderful things about Glide Thread by Fil-Tec and read what quilting celebrities were saying and wanted to try this thread.  (Celebrities like Karen McTavish, Ronda Beyer, Gina Perkes and Nebraska’s own Judy Woodworth who won the machine quilting award at the AQS show at Paducah this year to name a few.)

As I said I wanted to try it but have not found any local sources of the thread and could not find any place to order just one spool.  The only place I found it online was at their website Bobbin Central and they required a minimum order of $35.  I emailed the company and got a prompt response from them.  They graciously sent me a sample spool of white Glide thread and a couple of their Magna-Glide bobbins.  There is a small magnet on the end of the tube the bobbin thread is wound on and that keeps the bobbin from spinning too fast and backlashing I guess.  The trouble with those bobbins is that they won’t work in my Bernina 730  machine as it has a spring inside the bobbin that interferes with the Magna-Glide bobbin.IMG_8720I  can see why quilters rave about this thread.  It is 100% trilobal polyester which means it has a great shine.  I loved stitching with it, no tension problems and it made a beautiful stitch with my machine.  I could have kept stitching and stitching with this thread.  It is a 40 wt. 2 ply thread and is rather soft feeling, not as stiff as the Isacord.  Another perk is that it is very reasonably priced too.

Other information on this sample – Bamboo batting by Fairfield, Bottom Line bobbin thread by Superior Threads, Size 12/80 topstitch needle, BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator.)

My problem now is to get the thread when I want it – I will never order $35 worth of thread at one time since the majority of my quilts are small and would want to get the smaller spools 1000m vs. the large cone 5000m.  Does anyone know of a source to buy one spool at a time either online or here in Nebraska?  I can’t see why it is not sold by the number of spools you want with each order instead of a minimum order.
Again I do want to emphasize that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE machine quilting with this thread.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Quilting with Isacord

IMG_8717This sample was stitched with Isacord thread, a machine embroidery thread.  I used it on my panel challenge quilt but it was black thread on black fabric and a little hard to see.  Click on this link to read what I wrote about it then.

Isacord is a polyester thread and it is shiny so adds a little shine to the machine stitching.  I can’t find any thread size on the spool or on the Isacord webpage but would say it is a little heavier than the Invisafil  and silk but not as heavy as regular sewing thread….tells you a lot doesn’t it?  When I tried to untwist the thread I am guessing it is a 2 ply thread.  This information would be helpful if it was on the label wouldn't it?

It was fairly easy to sew with and I would use it again. I did have some problems with it wanting to twist up or look a little knotty between stitches...maybe it is the color as black threads as a rule sometimes present some problems because of the heavy dyes used to make the color.  The thread buildup from going back over a line was not hard to stitch through and probably a lighter color would not stand out so much as this black does on the gray fabric.   I sure would like to try it in other colors as well.  I think Leah Day from Day Style Designs and the Free Motion Quilting Project blog only uses this thread for her free motion quilting.  As a side note – check out her blog and website as she has many, many free machine quilting filler designs with short videos showing how she quilts them.

This thread is not super expensive and a lot comes on each spool-this small spool has 1000m.  I have seen it in many shops that carry embroidery supplies at least here in Nebraska so it is readily available.  I really liked the plastic snap closure on the bottom of the spool as the thread can be captured and not unroll and make a mess when not being used.

Other information on this sample – Bottom Line by Superior Threads for the bobbin, Topstitch size 12/80 topstitch needle, Bamboo batting by Fairfield (it is soft and performs like cotton and is easy to stitch through),  lowered my top tension a little from 4.00 to 3.50, used my BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator.)

Think that is it for this sample.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What To Stitch When I Want To Stitch

What do when I don’t want to stitch on any existing project, have you ever been in this situation?  This was the problem I have had lately.  I still wanted to sew but didn’t want to work on anything I had already started  and didn’t want to start anything complicated either but came up with a project that did spark my interest.  Can you guess what I have been doing?IMG_8689I have a collection of threads probably like most of you do if you have been a quilter for any length of time.  I have some threads that are intended for embroidery, regular stitching, quilting, and so on.  I have been reading that you can use what ever thread you want to machine quilt and quilters are recommending all brands, weights and types of thread.  This makes it difficult to decide on a thread choice for machine quilting when I get so may choices and recommendations.

I decided to start stitching up samples using the different threads in my collection.  Most of my samples use cotton batting and I am also using up small pieces in these thread samples.  I am stitching different quilting designs using the threads.  At first I cut up solid fabrics I had on hand but have also purchased some more solids as I used up what I had pretty quickly.  Solids show the stitches better than patterned fabrics.

I used a permanent pen to mark the information on each sample.  Here are the things I noted on the samples;
1. Brand, Weight, Color of Thread
2. Batting if known
3. Machine needle size
4. Stitch length if using Bernina Stitch Regulator
5. Tension number
6. Bobbin threadIMG_8694On the back of the samples I noted observations about the thread and how it stitched for me.  I am hoping to store all my samples together in a easy to access place, am thinking of a plastic tote devoted just to my samples.  I want to be able to look them over to help me decide what thread or weight of thread I want to use on future projects.  I used this project to also try out new quilting motifs or to practice some that I have used before.  This first sample is kind of a hodgepodge of designs but I got more organized on the samples that followed.

This first sample was stitched with Invisafil thread by Wonderfil.  It is a 100 wt. thread so is a very fine thread.  At first I had trouble with the thread breaking but after I loosened the tension it worked great.  I would use this on a quilt that would not take a lot of use like wall hangings or miniatures.  It reminded me of stitching with silk thread as it has a sheen and is so fine.  I am not sure it would hold up on bed quilts.  Has anyone used this thread to machine quilt with?

This sample was stitched on my Bernina 730 with the Bernina Stitch Regulator foot,  Bamboo Batting by Fairfield, 12/80 topstitch needle and default settings for stitch length and tension.

So far I am using Bottom Line by Superior Threads for the bobbin thread in all my samples.  Check back as I will be sharing my other stitching samples with you and if you have a thread you especially like for machine quilting please let me know and if I do not have it I might be able to get a spool to try.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

My Little Mule

I love the mule we purchased this spring and so far I am the only person that has used it.  I use it all the time to help me with garden work, saving me lots of time and energy.  A mule you ask….what am I doing with a mule?  I do have to admit it isn’t an animal but a Kawasaki Mule.  It looks like a tiny pickup and is pretty cute but is a great help as well.  The bed in the back pivots to dump and will hold a lot of debris or other things I want to haul.  The area we dump our yard waste is a long way from the lawn and hauling everything in a wheel barrow was just too hard work.  I would poop out after only a couple of trips.  Now I can buzz back and forth with my Mule.IMG_8729
Today I was putting down more soybean mulch.  Since it is not a heavy weight vehicle I can drive it on the lawn to get close to where I am working.  This flower bed has a large area where I am trying to get rid of a noxious weed, Nutsedge, that has taken over.   It is a very hardy weed and spreads by roots underground and small bulbs too.  I didn’t know what was for years and kept pulling it and now know that is a good way to spread it.  It thrives by being pulled as it breaks off the bulbs and new plants start.  I learned that Roundup doesn’t kill it just stunts it a bit then comes back like before.IMG_8733
A chemical called Sedgehammer is supposed to kill it but will have to be re-applied several times.  I just sprayed it for the third time this year and now am trying to smother it.  Some dies each time but more comes up just as hardy….nasty weed.  Last year I put down layers of newspaper and topped it with grass clippings over some of the Nutsedge.  Where I did this just a few plants are growing so I am now covering this large bed with layers of newspapers covered by about 8” of the soybean mulch.  That is a thick layer of mulch but nothing else is growing there anyway.   According to what I have read on the subject this will help kill it off and what I experienced last year it did help.IMG_8726
I worked for several hours laying the paper and piling the mulch on top keeping all the green Nutsedge tucked under the paper.  The wind wanted to carry my paper off so had to be quick about getting some mulch on to keep it from blowing away.  My problem now is I ran out of old newspapers and I am not done with that bed.  I had a pretty good stack when I started but want to layer them 3-4 pages thick and that takes a lot of newspaper.  One nice thing is the newspaper will decay and rot away eventually so it won’t have to be removed like laying plastic would.

I know this will probably not completely eliminate it but hopefully I can spray the few plants that come through to eventually get rid of it.  When I get it under control, hopefully by next summer, I want to use this space for flowers and vegetables.

I have been re-working all my flower beds this spring and it has really taken a lot of time.  The last two summers being on crutches and very limited things I could do really took it’s toll on them.  I have a flower bed in the front of the house that has Nutsedge too so have been trying to kill it there too.  I have removed most of the flowers to make it easier to spray  so it looks a little neglected right now.

As you can figure out – not much time is left for stitching these days.  I will be done soon and then it will be just a matter of maintenance.

Until later,


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