Sunday, March 31, 2013

Because He Lives

One of my favorite Hymns is “Because He Lives” written by Bill and Gloria Gaither.  Click on this YouTube video to hear the song being sung with the printed lyrics to sing along if you wish.

The other day I took this photo of the sun rising behind the apple tree and it is a fitting photo to go along with the words of the song.
God sent his son
They called him Jesus
He came to love
Heal and forgive
He lived and died
To buy my pardon
An empty grave
Is there to prove,
My Savior lives
IMG_2447Because he lives
I can face tomorrow
Because he lives
All fear is gone
Because I know
He holds the future
And life is worth the living
Just because he lives
Happy Easter – Lynn

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Quilting with Aurifil 50 Wt. Thread

IMG_2315Today the thread I used in my quilting sample is Aurifil 50 wt. 2 ply 100% cotton thread for the top thread.  The company says it is Mako Egyptian Cotton which is a long staple cotton fiber and the main headquarters for the Aurifil company is in Italy where the thread is manufactured.

Make sure to look at the Aruifil website and especially the page on Tips where I found videos with information and found out that this company uses different colored spool centers/end caps for different weights of their threads and the orange spool denotes the 50 wt.  I can’t stress it enough to check out the different company websites as they have loads of information about their products, free patterns, tips and tricks, etc.IMG_2319  I really like this thread thread for lots of applications – piecing, hand applique and now machine quilting.  It is a low lint thread so doesn’t leave fuzzy stuff on the inside of your machine – that is where this thread made with long staple cotton shines over the threads made with short staple cotton.  The thread comes in 3 sizes of spools, this being the medium size that holds 1422 yards of thread. 

This is a medium weight thread that makes a bold statement if it is a contrasting color from the fabric. There was some deepening of color where I backtracked but not too bad but stitching over the same line was was easy to do.  It stitched out nicely too and the tension didn’t have to be adjusted on this sample.

Here are the other statistics from this sample:  I used Bottom Line by Superior Threads in my bobbin, size 14 Topstitch needle, Fairfield 80/20 cotton batting and 2.0 stitch length and 4.0 tension setting.  Again I used my Bernina sewing machine with the stitch regulator foot (BSR). 

I do want to remind you that these are samples, and samples only, so if I didn’t get my quilting motif quite perfect or had some bobbles (crooked places) I just left them in.  This was practice for me and I was not going to take the time to rip anything out.  There are a couple of places near the edge where I have a little bubble in the top fabric when it came loose from the batting before it was stitched.  If this were a real quilt I would have re-basted it with pins or thread to hold it secure before quilting it down.

Sometime I would  like to try the other weights of Aurifil thread, especially the 40 weight which is a little heavier than this 50 weight that I used.  This is a top quality thread that I would recommend.

Until Later,

Friday, March 29, 2013

Full Moon

IMG_2388The moon was so beautiful on Wed. night (3-27-2013).  I set up the tripod and used a longer shutter speed to try to capture more detail.  I sharpened it up some in Photoshop Elements 11 then cropped it.  It does look a black and white photo but this is color as the moon was pretty pale.



Thursday, March 28, 2013

Quilting with Isacord, Update

I did a review of quilting with Isacord in a post June 12, 2012 and mentioned a bit of problem using the thread and at the time wondered if it was just the color I chose to use – black.  I have heard that black threads a lot of times do not behave like other colors in the same thread line because of the dying process/amount to get the black color.  Has anyone else heard that about black thread?  I decided to give it another try and am glad I did.IMG_2291This time I chose a medium gold colored thread.  I made a few other changes when making my sample too. I did find out the weight of the thread is 40 wt., something I didn’t know when I posted about the other sample.   First off I changed the needle size and type of needle from Topstitch to Quilting.  For the black threaded one I used a size 12 topstitch needle and for the gold thread I used a 14 Quilting needle.  I had different battings in the two samples – black thread had Bamboo Batting by Fairfield and the gold thread had Hobbs 80/20.  IMG_2289The gold thread quilted like a dream and I am thinking changing the needle size is probably what made the biggest difference, even over changing the type of needle.  After quilting more samples with lots of threads I have found I need to use a larger needle than what I might first think.  I used to think that 14 size needles were so big and should use a size 12 for most threads but actually a lot of thread work best using size 14 needle.IMG_2294  Another thing I did differently was to set the stitch length a little longer with the gold thread.  The black was set at 1.8 and the gold at 2.0.  The tension was kept at the default setting of 4.0 for the gold and 3.5 for the black.  You can see the  two samples side by side in the photo above.  You probably can’t see much difference in a photo except the black shows more of the back tracking but I found quite a bit of difference when stitching.

I guess the moral to this story is that if one thread doesn’t work don’t discount the whole group but first make adjustments.  Change out the needle, change tension, stitch length or batting to see if that makes a difference.  You can also try another color if you get a chance too.

Until Later,

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Machine Quilting With Bottom Line Thread

This is the first of many more blog posts on quilting the samples using all kinds of thread.  If you remember last June and July, I posted several quilted samples each featuring a different thread – or if you were not reading then or don’t remember just click on the links and scroll down to see and read about the threads I used on those samples. IMG_2136This is a cone of Bottom Line thread by Superior Threads.  It is a 100% polyester 60 wt. thread.  I use this thread almost exclusively in the bobbin when I machine quilt.  There are a few exceptions but I really like this thread on the back of my quilts since it is a fine thread and blends well with most fabrics plus seems to keep a balanced tension with all different weights of top thread.  On this sample I also used it as the top thread.IMG_2134The thread really did quilt nicely and since it is a fine thread the quilting can be quite heavy without thread buildup.  The backtracking I did on the feathers and bubbles was not distracting like it can be sometimes with heavier threads.

This sample had Mountain Mist White Rose 100% cotton batting and it was a great batting to machine quilt through.  Other stats from this sample – Size 12 Topstitch needle, 3.0 tension and I shortened the stitch length to 1.9 on my Bernina machine.  This thread can purchased on regular sized spools or the large cones. Even though it is a fine thread it is strong so you don't have to worry about the thread breaking.  I seem to use this color a lot so the last time I purchased it I just got a large cone. (color 617)

The first time I used this thread in the bobbin I was a little nervous as the top thread I had chosen was a heavier thread.  I was amazed at how good the tension was and how easy it was to quilt with.  Now as I said earlier, I use this most of the time for the bobbin but it works great as a top thread too.

Don’t you love it that now all kinds of threads can and are being used to machine quilt?  In the past it was a no, no to quilt with anything but cotton thread and now anything goes - YAY!

Until later,

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Pile of Quilting Samples

IMG_2285As you can see this is a large pile of quilted samples with the spools of thread attached.  I have been working on these samples off and on since last summer as I had volunteered to give a program for our guild on the subject.  The title of my program was Threads, Threads, Threads.  I wanted to make quilted samples to show to guild members and for my own edification using all types, brands and weights of threads.  I wanted to be able to compare brands, compare weights and types of fibers. 

My first job was to go through my thread stash and pull the different kinds I had already on hand.  I figured I would just buy small spools of lots of other kinds to use for my samples to fill in the blanks.  Much to my surprise I had a lot more kinds of thread than I initially thought.  Some of the spools I had used and some brand new – how does that happen?  Am I a thread hoarder?  When you don’t live close to fabric stores you tend to buy supplies “in case” you need them, right?  By the way, I am trying to justify all the thread I have.  IMG_2287I am organized though and can find any thread at any time, that should count for something shouldn’t it?  I just snapped a photo of the Jammer boxes that hold the smaller spools all lined up with a larger plastic box on top to hold the larger cones and spools that don’t fit in the Jammer boxes.  The boxes are organized by type of thread so I can just grab a box and find the kind and color of thread I want to use or know right away I don’t have it.  I used to sew clothing and two of the boxes hold all the left over threads from the many clothing projects I stitched up over the years.  Most of it is cotton wrapped polyester thread that I don’t use often but like that I have most every color I might need at any time or one that will blend nicely.

The Jammer boxes are great for holding lots of thread and you can read about them here on my April 5, 2010 blog post.  These are really intended to hold little toy cars and have two sides with hinged lids.  The little sections are great to hold spools of thread and to keep the dust off of them.
IMG_2138  IMG_2139
This is another thing I do with spools that don’t have a good way to secure the thread tails when not using them.  I purchased a package of little girls tiny ponytail elastic bands.  They are very stretchy and fit over the spools, securing the threads and preventing a tangled mess.  I do take them off to use the thread as the elastic holds the thread too tight and effects the tension.

Whoops, got off subject for a little bit didn’t I….back to the samples.  I gave the program this last week for my quilt guild and do have another lined up this fall for another guild.  I have photos all taken of the samples and threads and now have to write up the blog posts. IMG_2141One last thing I want to share with you before I sign off.  I felt it was important for guild members to see the actual spool of thread for each sample so came up with this way to keep them organized with the sample that was quilted with each thread.  Slipped a piece of yarn through the spool, tied a bow and safety pinned it to the sample.  Not high tec. but it worked and everyone appreciated being able to see the threads on the spools.  It was a little more bulky to transport them but at least I didn’t have to spend time during the program sorting threads to match samples.

Tomorrow I will start showing the samples again so come back and check it out.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Changing My Habits

I  have gotten into a rut not blogging very regularly the last few months.  It has to be a habit or routine to write every day or so, otherwise the days tick by and no writing gets done.  Today I hope to renew my habit of posting more often.

Springtime in Nebraska – almost.  It has been "off and on" spring and winter this whole month of March and I am really ready for spring to arrive for good.  IMG_2124This photo was taken the 3rd of March.  Notice there is no snow and there are geese in the air.  Here where we live in Nebraska is a major flyway for migrating geese so we see millions each spring and fall.  I never tire of looking for them in the air and in the fields resting and eating.  Look closely or click on the photo and see that the specks in the photo above are lines of geese flying.  We get mostly Snow Geese here and once in a while a few Canadian Geese, plus quite a few ducks along the river and ponds too.IMG_2126This photo was taken from my sewing room window looking over the garage roof at the flying geese.  A friend who lived away from here most of her life has come back to live part time and remarked the other day that the geese must have been confused because they were flying south and some were going east, etc.  I told her they tend to come and stay a while flying to different fields then one day they are all gone.  They don’t just fly north but every which way while here.  I think since we have the fields with some dropped grain from last fall it is a good place for the geese to feed and build up their reserves again for the next leg of their trip north for the summer.

It was wonderful to see the geese and the bare ground where the snow had melted but I forgot….this is Nebraska and things change quickly.IMG_2182This is what we woke up to on March 10th….a blizzard that was dumping a lot of snow and really blowing so it was drifting into big piles too.IMG_2181
This is one of the few windows we could see out of as the first snow that came during the night was very wet and with the wind was plastered to all but the north windows where it froze and stuck.IMG_2186Late in the afternoon the snow stopped falling and the wind died down a bit so it was time to clear the sidewalks and deck.  This is a view of my sewing room window (big bow window) with the almost 6 foot drift building up in the yard.  The deck had almost been covered with a drift and I had about 3 feet of snow to scoop off. It was tempting to leave it but since it is the way to our back door and we need to use it I slowly scooped and lifted the shovel over the deck railing to get is cleaned.  You might want to know why John was not doing the scooping by hand instead of me….he had a whole yard of drifts to clear with the tractor so we could get in and out with our vehicles and had to take care of the livestock as well.  His job took him the entire day so I don’t mind the scooping, even though it is hard work.  Besides it is good exercise to burn some extra calories.

OK…now it is March 15th, just 5 days after this big snowstorm.  The temperatures were mild all week and the snow melted real quickly.  My friend and I drove to the Homestead National Monument in Beatrice, NE to hike and see the sights and this is what the trails looked like.IMG_2220It got into the upper 70s or low 80s that day and I even got sunburned on the back of my neck.  Isn’t that amazing.  It was absolutely the most beautiful day with a slight breeze and we had a picnic outside for lunch.  The next day it was in the 30s again….changeable, changeable Nebraska!IMG_2282The above photo was taken this morning (March 23, 2013) from my family room looking out to the driveway and cattle lot where you can see a few of the replacement heifers.  Notice anything?  Yes, it is snowing again!  The flakes this morning are large and fluffy and before you might think we have GIANT snowflakes I want to assure you that the ones stuck to the window are not real snowflakes.  (As if you couldn’t tell.)  At Christmas our grandkids and I cut snowflakes from coffee filters and I used a kids glue stick and stuck some to this window.  Last week when it was so nice I was thinking of taking them down but today they look just right in front of the real snow. 

Maybe tomorrow will be sunny and warm….who knows.  Sunday is Palm Sunday and it should be spring, right?

Until Later,


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