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 superior threads. Show all posts
Showing posts with label superior threads. Show all posts

Saturday, April 19, 2014

kitchen towels ~ tutorial

weekend greetings to all ~ gosh, i think i've done about 30 of these towels now!  ... and i've so enjoyed it!

it's really a simple, straight-forward process, but here are tips and hints {as promised}, that {i think} make for a more relaxing process, and... a more professional finished look.

i begin with a purchased towel, but of course, you can buy your own cotton linen fabric and finish the edges yourself.  that type of fabric can be found by the bolt/yardage in quilt shops, too. 

first, choose  a 90/14 titanium topstitch needle, as this will pierce cleanly through all the thicknesses of towel, especially those thick hems on the sides, as well as the extra fabric and embellishments.  it also suits the thread i'm using, which is magnifico 40 wt by superior threads.  it produces beautiful looking stitches! and for the bobbin thread, i love a basic white color in superior's masterpiece cotton; a 50 wt thread.  

i also engage the dual feed on the bernina 830, but a walking foot would work well, or an open toe #20 foot {by bernina}.  i chose to use my patchwork #37... see why below.

then ~ one of the best tips:  press fabrics using mary ellen's "best press" starch.  by far, it's a top notch starch product, and so easily available.

 i buy it in the gallon size as it is more economical, and although it's a alot of money to spend, it's such a better value, as i use it in all  my quilting, pressing, and sewing. it just gives such a nice crisp edge, and you don't need alot of it. 
 after pressing, i cut my fabric in 3.5" strips.  usually, i can embellish two towels with this length, cut cross-grain.  this measurement is entirely arbitrary, though!  

nice, neat pressed edges make for easier placement on the towel.  generally, i turn the long edges up one quarter inch, and the short ends, about an half inch: 
and i add crochet trim, by turning under the short ends about one-half inch:
 my placement tip for aligning fabric, ribbons or any trim, is pretty simple.  line it up with the horizontal edge of the printed line or in this case, the checkered print/weave of this towel.  i also do my best to ensure the bottom edge of the trim, is parallel and aligned with the hemmed bottom edge of the towel.  generally, my rule of thumb is to put the bottom edge of the trim, right on the stitching line where the hem is.  

one thing i learned about crocheted-type trims... they tend to stretch quite a bit during sewing, so be on the look out to shorten, and tuck edges under, as you approach the towel edge. 
 auditioning the total look of this combo ~ and i love it! this combination of color and style on this checkered towel creates a romantic, classy country look!
 and to achieve flawless placement? my go-to, all-time favorite notion is 1/4" "steam-a-seam" tape.
i have it on hand in 1/4" and 1/2" sizes.
 one of my favorite tips to share for keeping the tape in place is making sure the fabric is warm... {recently pressed}, which helps it to stay in place. and once it's laid down, i burnish it with my finger.  i peel the paper back gently. i've found that if i rip off the paper backing too fast, the fusible tends to pull off as well, as it's a very thin layer of glue, and somewhat delicate and flimsy.  burnishing helps the fusible to stay in place when i flip the fabric over, until it's time to press for the permanent bond.   
 {peel the paper back gently... }
 before a final pressing, check to align the trim and secure with pins, making sure the overall placement looks good. {above}

i align trims such as rick rack by placing the lower edge of it right along the long edge of the printed weave, using the lines of the towel as a guide. in the photo below, you can see where i placed the fabric along the horizontal stripes of the weave of the towel, too:
the pin marks the stitch of the hemline of the towel for placement of the rick rack
and my favorite choice for topstitching?  the bernina #37 patchwork foot.  i keep my eye aligned with the inside edge of the right-side toe of the foot, even with the folded {and fused} edge of the fabric.  this makes it so easy to get perfectly pleasing  placement!  

another tip? use the straight-stitch plate, too. *{if you do, engage the safety feature on the machine so you don't accidentally break a needle, because you forgot the straight-stitch plate was on!} this combo of tools really makes achieving a beautiful look... effortless!
 i took the time to switch thread color to match the ecru colored crocheted trim... i just think it looks better.

another vip tip?  lengthen your stitch length!  the default length of a straight stitch on my machine is 2.5, and i adjust it up to a 3.0, but you could go a bit longer, too.  that choice is yours! but it does really make a big difference in how the stitches lay on the top, and... it just looks so good!

and one very important technique, that makes all the difference in finishing? before you start stitching, remember to... pull... that bobbin thread to the top when you begin!  that way you won't have any ugly thread nests on the bottom!
tying off when you start, makes it's much smoother to finish up the "loose ends" when making the final connection to the beginning line of stitching. i'm cautious about how much i reverse stitch, too, so i backstitch only about 2-3 stitches, then stitch in place about 2-3 times, {or use the knotting function if you have one}, and after clipping threads... all is well!
an extra securing function i like to do, is to stitch down the edge of the rick rack trim, too.  this keeps it all nice and tidy, and will prevent any unravelling, as i like to fold the raw edge under the trim itself.  and i also take a couple extra stitches in reverse, on each of the corners, just to reinforce them.

when i attach rick rack {and this is the super-giant size!} {so fun}, i tuck the bottom half of the trim under the fabric, and generally, i don't fuse this, but i do make sure to pin, and stop often when sewing to make sure everything is "on course!"

one of the other things to keep in mind, is that depending on the weight of your fabric banding... some fabrics stretch more than others, so while sewing, it can inch forward, to be prepared to adjust the length of the fabric banding towards the towel edges, and you may have to shorten it a bit to make it align with the edge of the towel.  you could wrap it around the back, too... but i felt it was easier and more professional to turn it under and have it meet the edges, the best i could!

 and the back... look at how nice and tidy it looks when you take the time to pull up the bobbin thread before beginning to stitch!  {and the reverse stitches are in the same place as the beginning stitches}  no need to overdo it with backstitching!
 here's a bit of the rick rack raw edge showing underneath so you can see what it looks like.  if you want, just trim it down a little more, so when it's washed, it doesn't leave a bunch of threads unravelling.
and of course, i lightly press everything again when i'm finished!

and how much time do these take?  well, barring time choosing fabric and trims, {ahem!} ... i can usually get one done in about 30 minutes, give or take.  they really make nice christmas gifts, and so lovely to have on hand for weddings, hostess gifts, and house warmings, too!

and the most important tip?

keep the main thing... the main thing!  

and that is simply... to have fun! i love pulling fabrics and trims, and get alot of enjoyment mixing and matching all the different styles.

sure hope you found my process a little bit helpful!



Monday, December 2, 2013

in from the cold and winter's lane ~ placemats


here we go ~ lots of snow falling, with temperatures predicted at -15 below zero in our neck of the woods!!  one thing is  for sure.  it's looking alot like christmas {right now!} and there is lots of pretty snow on the ground!

and perfect ~ in that the theme of today's post is is "in from the cold!"  "so let it be written... so let it be done!" {from The Ten Commandments!} lol

i've been sewing and quilting up my favorite round placemats with christmassy fabrics!  and i've had a great time! this year, they are made from two fabric lines by moda fabrics, titled "in from the cold" {go figure!}  and "winter's lane, by kate spain, and kate and birdie paper company, respectively.

love these fabric lines!!  petite white doves, golden brown pine cones, and of course, the proverbial seasonal favorite as well: red berries.  a contemporary 'crisp' snowflake print comes to the forefront for the binding and also the backing on the green placemats, finished with white razzle dazzle thread couched into the binding's seam for that special winterish holiday touch:
i quilted them with an all-over 'feathery' style of quilting, in white magnifico 100% polyester thread.

and then onto a different color theme.  taupe! definitely not so traditional, but adorable and contemporary for sure! and i would love to coming in from the cold to a lovely christmas table set with these pretty placemats!  and the other fun part of it is that the taupe set will go great into the "after christmas" season, too.
i've finished up five each of these two colorways, and will be offering them for sale in the holiday weekend arts and crafts show this saturday and sunday {december 7th and 8th} in great falls!  come by and say hi if you're in the area!
all finished with that added sparkly touch of razzle dazzle thread, couched into the binding seam {with my wonder of a foot} ~ the bernina #39 clear embroidery foot

and a sweet little berrie n' white print for the backside:
christmas sewing!  love it!
hope you're in from the cold, and enjoying a soothing cup of tea this december season!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

artsy painted leaves ~

hi everyone ~

i feel like i've been on a walkabout of sorts, but it's actually been more of a 'sickabout' as my good health is went missing for the past week! lol and ugh. it seems an allergy inflammation ~ somewhat misdiagnosed, turned into infection in my sinuses with enlarged 'nose polyups' {whatever!}  and quite painful ~ so much so it hurt to put my glasses on my face it was swelled so badly.  wowzers.  several trips to the doctor, x-rays, and a week later... i feel like i am turning the corner back to 'normal' {of one kind or another!} lol 

sooo... several weeks ago, i began painting on a beautiful plain white piece of prepared for dye cotton fabric, using those beautiful silk acrylic glaze paints by luminarte.  these are just sweet to paint with. they have such beautiful luminosity, color and rich, flowing, silky-smooth texture.

after letting the paint dry, and heat-setting with an iron, i began the quilting process.  i'd begun quilting the stems, and adding silver glitter thread as a highlight when the 'nose storm' hit:
 and all of the threads {from superiorthreads.com} seen below, went into the quilting of this piece:
 the first thing i did to begin quilting this piece, was to quilt the curving branches, and stems.  this left me with what i call a 'road map' on the back side.  that's when i turned the quilt over to the back, and quilted those same branches and stems with a black and silver razzle dazzle.  {love love}.  why black?  it seems wintery to me.  and the silver?  well, that's the frosted branches!
of course, i added variegated thread for each of the leaves, switching out multiple times to get the thread color combo i wanted.  and i chose to do that with something new to my studio, and to my quilting:  fantastico by superior.

 now, i've shared my secret {above!}.  but it's really no secret.  do you read the information that superior makes available on their website, for each thread?  it's great info, and they truly want you to have a good time, and of course, they want you to use their product, so it's behooves them to tell you the 'secret' on how it can be successfully used! glitter thread is a bit of a glamor queen, and something of a delicate, high-maintenance diva!  but it's truly as simple as the formula i've stated in the picture, as far as the thread action goes, that is.  you must use a  90/14 topstitch needle and quilt a bit slower.  this thread isn't one for the speed zone, that's for sure.  then ~ expect some glamorous, exciting results!  {and i have it in all the colors, and have used it this way successfully... for many years.

i used a bit of king tut {40 wt egyptian-grown cotton thread} below, for some shadows and emphasis on the wintery-looking branches, and just a bit on the leaves, here and there.  masterpiece was in my bobbin the whole time.
below:   the dynamic duo of quilting with metallic thread {of any type or kind!} in my experience:
 and below, a spool showing fantastico.  this is why i ordered a couple spools to try:
  • Ideal for embroidery and quilting.
  • High-sheen allows the thread to reflect color vividly and clearly.
  • Precision-dyed one-inch color change.
  • Unlike many other high-tenacity trilobal polyesters, Fantastico is 'heat set' in processing which eliminates shrinkage.
  • Fantastico consists of 48 micro filaments x 4 ply (2 ply x 2 ply), for a total of 192 micro filaments resulting in spectacular sheen and strength.  
  • and i was not disappointed.  this is definitely a brilliant thread, and i will keep on using it!
 this is the backside.  i used a yellow masterpiece {50 wt extra long staple, egyptian-grown cotton} which is the best in the market, in my opinion.  the white thread you see below, is the bobbin thread - superior's "bottom line" by libby lehman, for the silver metallic glitter thread on the topside.
and finally, i quilted the soft white background with white magnifico. and i'm so pleased with the overall look of this piece.

disclosure: i am not a paid consultant for superior threads, and i receive no compensation for promoting their products, either financially or otherwise.  i have used their threads extensively for many, many years, and love the quality and integrity of their product, and most of all, the education this family-owned company promotes to the sewing and quilting enthusiast!
{linking up with connie and friends here!} 
 soli deo gloria!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

let's do the twist ~

helloooo  to everyone out there...

here's a bit more fall inspiration from a photo i took:

and... i'm trying a new thread for me ~ this is "twist" by superior threads.  here's some great info they've put out about this thread:

"It's a high tenacity (strength), high sheen trilobal filament polyester.  The strength allows for ease of stitching and the high-sheen reflects true, gorgeous hues. Upon first glance, Twist may look similar to a variegated thread, meaning multiple colors dyed on a single strand of thread, however, Twist is unique as it is actually two separately dyed polyester threads, twisted together. This is the first time this has been done with our high sheen, high strength polyester. (It exists in the rayon world, but we do not recommend rayon threads.) By creating Twist with two separately dyed threads, this provides a wonderful texture-approach to embroidery, as depth of color and shades blend seamlessly into each other."
and once again, i'm auditioning thread colors.  here you see the deep gold, a peachy/brown, a rich red brown, and then just good ol' deep brown!  {how do ya like my descriptions?!}

i've drawn my line in the sand  on the fabric using my favorite chalk-marking pen:
and i really 'dig' this twist color thread on this fabric.  it doesn't look like much in the photo above, but it's getting exciting ~~~ time to dance!  {let's do the twist!!}  i bought this twist thread  in the green too... but i changed my mind, and decided to go witht he bright lime green in magnifco thread, instead.  but oh my, i do LOVE it! 

p.s.  superior threads: we need more colors to be available in this thread!
look how pretty it is on the fabric now!  it really brings this beautiful hand-dyed fabric to life
and it glows ~ looks so good with razzle in that peachy-brown, and the lime green... lights it up, man!  and while i was in the "subtle" mood, i kept with the green in the outside motifs too.  i love it!
i had this bug to add turquoise colors of stitching in this fabric, but i felt i just didn't have the right 'brightness' in my thread stash {i know - hard to imagine, isn't it?}... so i added it in the binding instead!  {yay!}
yes, yes i do, i/m excited at how it turned out! i put some amy butler on the back.  {well, her fabric anyway!}  love having a good stash of fabrics i can mix and match...

that binding also has peach and green, tans and browns, which makes it just the perfect finish, in my eyes!

so there you have it ~ this is "golden fields" and it's newly listed, and available in my etsy shop. 

so what do you think of my 'unusual' selection of colors?  kinda different, huh?

but ~ perfect ~ for the thanksgiving table, don'tcha think?!  {i'm hoping somebody does... so i can buy more threads!} lol

giving thanks ~
bless your day!
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