About Me

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Great Falls, Montana, United States
I love creating art. I love the Creator! And through that love, I find a little slice of heaven on earth and I give Him all the glory! It's a great adventure and I'm excited to see what's around the bend! Come join me, won't you?
Showing posts with label bobbin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bobbin. Show all posts

Saturday, January 15, 2011

West to Glacier

I'm still re-visiting summer days in the dead of winter; we have wind chill advisories in many areas.  Here is a photo I took late last summer... one of personal favorites. I was on my way home from teaching in Big Fork, MT, hoping to get across the mountains before dark to avoid as many deer as possible.  Oh my, the weather had been so incredibly... spectacular all weekend long!  I had such a fun road trip, stopping to take pictures the whole way over.  It's usually  four hours just to drive straight through, and I took almost 10 hours to get there, it was so beautiful!  I have some wonderful shots from all over, along the Swan River, Flathead Lake ... but this one... the last one I took that day.  It's special to me because it reminds me of my childhood, as a horse-crazy girl who wanted to be a race-horse jockey.  I nagged my parents until they finally caved in and got me a horse.  She was a PINTO too, and had one glass eye (a blue-clear eye), and her name was "Spook."  We had such great rides, and made my childhood a sweet one in many ways. I've had a deep fondness for pinto ponies everywhere, ever since... Funny how this guy, met on the windy prairie, was a moment in time I won't soon forget.  HE too, had a glass eye! I call him "Buddy" - as I stroked his nose, and he then followed me around as I snapped pictures!  I really wanted to get some close-ups of him, but he wouldn't give me enough space! 
An unexpected friendship with a Painted Pony on the Prairie  --- Rocky Mountain Front
 And here is the landscape quilt I had made prior to this weekend, as a sample for the classes I was teaching that very same weekend.  It is called "West to Glacier." 

Commercial batik; all one piece in light yellow, green, and purpley-blue.  A bit of a "western" flair with a yarn that looks just like a rope or lasso.  I wanted to demonstrate to my students that a few very basic  drawn shapes... circles, curvy lines, straight lines, and basic straight stitching... all free motion, and 'free drawing' style, can result in a fun project that is abstract but also impressionistic, very personal, and creative!  I loved  creating this piece, as I remembered what it feels like to me when I see the prairie and those incredible Rocky Mountains ... meet... collide... blend...and are completely... spectacular!

Bobbin Play, Paintstiks, threads and cords... To me,  "Purple Mountain's Majesty" is in my backyard, Glacier Park ...our Montana Treasure...  Green-blue for those incredibly clear and COLD mountain rivers...  light green for the green grasses, or newly planted spring wheat out on the windy prairie, and for the forest, and all the beauty surrounding us, everywhere...


 Simple details..... smooth, repetitive lines, meandering, reflecting the soft, gently sloping fields of wheat, summer fallow ground, and flat of the prairie in rich browns, and greens.

Yellow Gold for the ripening wheat... the grass turning in late fall... and a softly curved binding... not 'square' seemed be the perfect fitting touch...  EnJOY and may God Bless you as you... "plow" - and survive! through your winter.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of His hands
~ Psalm 19:1

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

TNT Thread NeedlesTension

Very Important:  With threads, the bigger the number (weight), the SMALLER the thread is. With needles, the bigger the number, the BIGGER a needle is.

Once you get those two concepts in your mind, you can really begin to understand what will work for you in your machine, with the process or product you have.  It's all about the basics!

So here are some pics I took of some lovely labels!  Reminds me of a jingle and commerical (we're going back to the 70's folks!) If it says Libby's Libby's Libby's on the Label Label Label...you will like like like it on your sewing table table!!!  Ring a bell with anyone?!  It wasn't really about sewing - I added that part... just my wacky sense of humor.  I think it was about vegetables, but I can't remember for sure!!!  :)

Anyway!  LOVE the Superior labels...finally, thread company Superior Threads is giving us the proper INFORMATION and education we need! Look at this label, and not only will you see the the yardage, but you will notice there is a weight, ply, and size of needle to use!  Wait!  You mean they say what size NEEDLE to use?  Yes!  What a great idea! !

Rainbows (top): 40/3=40 weight 3 ply thread.  A lovely variegated pretty polyester, with a extra bit of high sheen, only because it's a tri-lobal  polyester, which means it has three sides (you can't tell with your own eyes).  It's been specially created that way so that it will reflect light, and that is why there is three 'sides' so to speak. Don't even try it without a 90/14 needle... it will shred if you don't, and that won't be much fun. 50 weight cottons are a good companions with it in the bobbin, as would be a solid colored 40 weight polyester .  I don't usually put variegated threads in the bobbin, unless I know the back will be seen, or the quilt is reversible.
Masterpiece - 50/2 = 50 weight cotton thread, and two-ply means it has two strands twisted together.    Because it's a smaller/thinner thread, it takes up less space in a seam, laying flatter which is especially important for intricate seam piecing, or multiple points that come together or for precise placement.  Primarily it was created for those specific needs.  Use Masterpiece in your top and wind it on the bobbin for the best results in piecing applications. For this kind of application, use an 80/12 microtex needle, or 80/12 HE for best results.
King Tut:   40/3 = 40 weight cotton thread.  What's so great about it? As a 3-ply thread (3 strands twisted together), it's smooth, strong, and has beautiful, but also fairly subtle color variations.  Use for decorative stitching as well as beautiful free motion quilting.  I like to use masterpiece in my bobbin when King Tut is being sewn from the top.  Smooooooth sailing!
  • Notice also that because Masterpiece is s a finer weight, you get more on the spool, and can wind more on your bobbin.  Love that!
    • What kind of thread is it?  Well, many companies may say"Egyptian thread" but if it's TRUE Egyptian extra long staple cotton, they will be HAPPY to say exactly THAT--- and  the acronym "ELS" will be printed, not something just generic. Buyer beware!  Superior labels it exactly what it is.  Yes, ELS will cost more... but it will also save you much in time and frustration.  Buy the best quality you can afford, but know the difference!
    • ELS: That means it's NICE... and you pay for what you get.  Ever touch the Egyptian cotton sheets that are for sale in a department store?  Fabric is so incredibly smooth, and they're usually a very  high thread count which gives them that extra satiny feel.  Same deal with Egyptian cotton thread! 
    • Why buy Egyptian extra-long staple cotton?  1. It's stronger; less breakage.  2.  It's smoother, which means less fuzz in your tension discs and less cleaning in your bobbin case.  Both Masterpiece and King Tut threads are "ELS!" It doesn't need alot of fancy 'treatments' to make it good, because naturally, it's already the best.
    • King Tut and Rainbows spool will also say: "Use Topstitch 90/14" for the needle ---using the right needle is what will make this thread sing to your machine!
    Here's some very good thread... in fact, it's one of my top favorites!  I encourage all my beginning free motion students to use the YLI "Variations" thread (the pink spool and the bottom label in picture below).  Why?  Because it's strong, as it is a polyester.  And... it's pretty!  Because it's a mid-weight thread - 35 weight and two ply, and it's a great value for the money you spend.  It's good not only in the top of your machine, but if you need a pretty thread on the back, it's wonderful in the bobbin, too.  Use a 90/14 microtex, topstitch or metallic needle with it for best results!
    Notice there is a thread from YLI called "Machine Quilting" (spool on the top far right below) and this is 100% cotton, but it is only "LONG staple cotton" - not Egyptian EXTRA LONG staple cotton.  It's still a very good thread, but does have a few more slubs and fuzz on it, as the strands are not as long and smooth. Pretty good as opposed to VERY good (ELS cottons) in the thread/cotton world. You may find you have to clean your tension discs or bobbin area more often with this thread.


    Bottom Line -- well, here it is!  Beautiful and strong polyester 60 wt thread.  Remember, the bigger the number, the smaller the thread... and that is why you can wind 40% MORE on your bobbin!!!  That is a BIG YAY!

    It is absolutely my first choice in the bobbin when I have any type of metallic thread in the top.  Why?  Metallic thread is rough (like a man) and the polyester... smooth... (like a woman!) Less friction, great marriage!  Great compatibility! They get along WELL together; less breakage, smooth interaction...you get my point!  But don't forget to loosen up tho (the top tension that is!)   Bottom Line is also the embroidery maven's choice because it has great VALUE, great STRENGTH, you can wind 40% more on a bobbin because it's so thin, and you have a fabulous COLOR selection.

    Then we have the much bigger topstitch variety of threads.  I've given you samples of two that I have used, and enjoy.  First picture below is the Caryl Fallert BRYTES thread (pictured above and to the right) by Superior threads.  The second picture below is FUSIONS.

    Fusions thread to the left, designed by Laura Heine for YLI threads.  Both of these thicker weights require a 100/16 topstitch needle.

    You can order Fusions from Fiberworks, Laura's beautiful quilt shop in Billings, MT.  I do LOVE the rich colors of this variegated cotton thread.  The label on the cone says it's 24/3, so it's even slightly thicker than a 30 weight.

    Note that the Superior Threads spool cap tells you what needle to use:  100/16.  Actually, the other end of the spool gives you the size, but I'll just tell you cuz I forgot to snap a shot on the other end; it's a beautiful topstitch thread at 30 wt.  It certainly will give your stitches PRESENCE!

    You'd better be sure your stitching looks good when there's this much thread as it will show up big time on your quilting project! I recommend a polyester 40 weight in the bobbin, so the weights are matched and you don't have make such an extreme adjustment in your top tension. 

    Hope this was informative.  Let me know what questions you have!

    Thursday, December 23, 2010

    BOBBIN PLAY- Hints and Tips

    BOBBIN PLAY Hints & Tips--- the following information is copy and pasted from a handout I give to all my students in the classes I teach on free motion and more... a continuation of tips in a previous blog post on 12/15/10 on Bobbin Quilting.
    From "Frost on the Zinnias" by Leslie Ann McNeil
    — Use a loosened bobbin case (for Berninas or for any machine with a separate type of bobbin case). For drop-in machines, by-pass the tension disk entirely

    — Adjust your upper thread tension.  Normally, this will mean you “tighten” it by going to a higher number, testing on a sample as you try out different tensions until you like what you see!

    — Wind a bobbin with thick thread. By-pass one of the two thread pass points, or “tensioners” and then, using your forefinger, apply tension to the thread strand as you are winding the bobbin at a lower speed. You may need to loosen your grip with your forefinger as the bobbin fills up. Do NOT overfill!!  You can wind the bobbin “by hand” as well, keeping the thread nice and evenly applied as you fill up the bobbin.

    — Top thread.  I recommend a quality strong polyester for the top thread; a 40 weight is best.  You may also choose a 50 wt cotton, and even a 60 weight bobbin weight thread will suffice, but in such a case as the 60 weight thread, you will have to remember to allow for more adjustment, and there will be quite a disparity in the “tug of war” that will occur between the two threads. Adjustments must be made in the upper tension to accommodate such a difference in those type of thread weights.
    Flower in heavy Bobbin Play -- Detail from "Sunset on Highway 2 - 1976"
     — See the chart/handout on tension! You will find it here from Superiorthreads.com 
    Detail from "Frost on the Zinnias" by Leslie McNeil
    — Use a needle that best suits the top thread you use; usually an 80/12 topstitch for 50 weight cotton, or 90/14 topstitch for a 40 weight polyester.

    — Stitching.  In free-motion applications, stitch slower, using a longer length stitch. Be sure to drop your feed dogs and use the proper free-motion foot attachment of your choice. If you are applying decorative stitches, choose one that has a fairly open motif

    – in non-free motion, choose ‘open’ designs in decorative stitching motifs.  For regular straight stitch or zig zag stitches, you may find it best to  lengthen the stitch as well.

    — Sew from the BACK side of your garment, quilt or fabric item!
        ♡ Define your area from the backside of the quilt or just... 'wing it' and let yourself be surprised. If you want more exact placement, use pins carefully placed from the top of the quilt, in order to “see” where you need to go from the back...don't hit the pin with your needle; that is not a fun surprise!  You could also use chalk to draw the space around your pins; then remove the pins.

    — Have fun!  This is a creative process.  There is no “bad” tension except where it either causes your machine problems, or in that you don’t like it!  Notice how the top thread loops on top of the bobbin thread... I LIKE IT! It makes me 'happy!'

    — Keep in mind that some of the top thread will always show, and depending on the look you desire, so either blend your top thread with bottom thread or choose a contrasting thread if that is what you like!  I am not a fan of the 'clear plastic-like' threads... but there is only one I would recommend, and it's made by Superior Threads.  Bob Purcell has an excellent DVD "Thread Therapy with Dr. Bob" so check it out! By the way, sign up for their free newsletter... it's EXCELLENT.  And no, I'm not paid anything by Superior Threads (how I wish that were true!) HA.  EnJOY.

     Samples of threads that work great in the bobbin!  YLI Shimmer or Candlelight, YLI Ribbon Floss (you must wind the floss by hand).  Superior Threads Razzle Dazzle.  Valdani #8, usually a hand stitching thread is quite lovely in the bobbin, but you will want to wind it by hand.
     Notice how Superior labels their spools  (LIKE THIS ALOT!!)   Type of thread:  100% POLYESTER.  What's it for:  "For Bobbin Work, Couching and Serger."

    Know of other types of "thick threads" you could have fun trying in your bobbin play?!  How about some of those silk ribbons!  Yup!  And other serger threads, like pearl crown rayons, are quite wonderful. Most serger threads will work, but eliminate those that have ... s-t-r-e-t-c-h!  (NOT fun!)

     Ahhh...yes, don't stop there with the bobbin play... adding a bit of silver glitter (for the frost) adds another dimension of extra eye sparkle!

    All the beading you've seen in these pictures was done by machine.  I love it!  More to come in future blogs!

    EnJOY.

    P.S. I'd love to read your comments!
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