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 yli. Show all posts
Showing posts with label yli. Show all posts

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Hope Quilt for Rowan

The quilting is finished. 
I laid the quilt out on the studio floor and pinned it to the pieced minkee backing fabric.  It does not have batting in it, which means it won't be really heavy or bulky, but will remain pliable, soft and cuddly
In my opinion, using a walking foot and a ballpoint needle is the best way to piece the stretchy minkee fabrics together for the back.
As for thread, I chose a bright golden variegated yellow, in YLI Variations, a 100% polyester, 35 weight, in both top and bobbin for the free motion quilting, with a 90/14 Microtex needle.
 I began quilting it two days ago, and when I came downstairs the next morning, Nicki, our black kitty seemed to think it was really soft and cuddly too! Love her green eyes and those long, elegant white whiskers!
I want to mention here, it isn't the easiest way (or my most favorite) to free motion quilt a quilt with this minkee fabric on the back.  However,  I chose to do it as most everyone who has ever received a quilt in this combination loves it.  This is the first one I've made that is so large, and in which I attempted this type of free motion without a batting in the middle.    
I employed my straight stitch plate, and made sure to engage my safety function, by choosing the symbol to match the plate I put on the machine.  I didn't start it out this way, but quickly found out it was needed.  The straight stitch plate will help keep the stitching from being real wobbly looking, due to the nap and thickness of the minkee fabric.  On my machine, you can choose from three different stitch plates.  I choose the 0mm picture, for this machine.
I ended up using 3 new microtex needles, as they dull rather quickly with minkee fabric, and 8 bobbins later, and about 12 hours later, having used a full spool of thread, and more, I was done.
I deliberately left the quilting as loose and wide open with soft swirls, which also emulate the pattern in the blue border fabric.  I felt this type of quilting motif was the best choice, keeping this twin-sized quilt feeling soft and supple, and also because it would have taken three times longer to quilt it! The word "hope" is also quilted  in many places throughout. And since this was rather short notice, I needed to quilt it quickly. It needs to be displayed locally in Highwood and Ft. Benton communities by next week, so we can sell the raffle tickets for it.  Did you see my Quilt Raffle and Giveaway post?  Check it out here if you missed it!!

I stitched a yellow binding from a batik fabric.  I cut my binding 2.5" wide, and used a 3/8" for seam allowance, to allow it to be folded over the thick minkee fabric backing.  The binding will be hand stitched by my friend, Lisa, which she will do this weekend. Thanks so much Lisa!!
In HOPE.  
Thank you for supporting Rowan
(click his name to check the his webpage)
Thank you for your prayers.
Linking up with Studio JRU today!
Soli Deo Gloria

Monday, May 2, 2011


Time to call in the police... "The Fuzz!"  

Today's post is about a specific thread made by the thread company, YLI.  Let me say that I like, use and appreciate YLI's products.  This particular thread is made specifically for machine quilting, as you can see from the label in the picture below.  It's a 40 wt; 3 ply, which means there are three small strands that are twisted together to make the larger, single strand of thread.
 This is a "100% Long staple cotton" (see photo below). The label also tells us it's 'mercerized.'  What does mercerized mean?  Well, I took this description straight from the SuperiorThreads.com website; specifically under the tab "education."  Go there and get more education!
"Further processing may be done to make a mercerized, glazed, or gassed thread.   Mercerizing is a process of treating cotton thread with an alkali solution, causing the fibers to swell. This process allows the dye to better penetrate the fibers, thereby increasing the luster. Mercerizing increases the strength of the thread and reduces the amount of lint."
I'll tell you what... if that process reduces the amount of lint, I'd hate to see what this thread would have done without the mercerization process!  

I bought quite a bit of this thread several years ago now, before learning more about higher-quality threads (such as those from Superior Thread Company).  I had some I wanted to use up, and so I chose two colors of it; one in pink/mango's and the other in turquoise/blues  for the Ribbon-Thread Scarf, (see my scarf part 1 here). This is a great example of why I prefer -- and am willing to pay more for -- "extra long staple" (ELS) Egyptian cotton threads:
 LINT. FUZZ. And... lots of it.  I was amazed by how much!
 After only about an hour steadily free motion quilting with the YLI "Machine Quilting" thread... this is the amount of lint that built up underneath my stitch plate. And that's ALOT! Of course, it's typical to have more fuzz when using medium to long staple cotton threads, as they are comprised of many shorter strands of cotton. That's why they tend to shed more linty stuff. You can see how it accumulated not only under the stitch plate, but also on my quilting FOOT! And on my needle, too.

 And so I had to stop and clean it all out with my brush.  I also used some canned air, and oiled my machine.

So why is this a big deal to me?  

Well... maybe it's not such a big deal. The thread looks great, and overall, performed just fine for me---except for the excessive lint.  But it won't be my choice for more free motion, until... and unless they improve upon it.  Because when I quilt with an extra long staple cotton - like the Superior threads, (like the King Tut cottons) this just doesn't happen! Just sayin!  And when I quilt, I want to spend my time quilting  ... not cleaning out my machine, and that's why Egyptian, extra-long staple cottons are my preference for free motion quilting, decorative stitch applications and piecing. These are applications in which the thread is the 'star' of the show, sew-to-speak!  So... decide for yourself and go and experiment and see what works best for your needs!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Summer SHIMMER - completed!

This is what I began with.  My first piece of shibori-styled, hand-dyed fabric, made in the glorious summer-hot days!
 These are the threads I chose to create Summer Shimmer:  YLI threads in three styles: Candlelight, Pearl Crown Rayon, and Designer 6, all wonderful textures of thick threads from YLI.  I also used GLITTER and Rainbows tri-lobal polyester from Superior Threads.
And I also chose a bit of Angelina fibers and Textiva film in golden tones for a reflective feel, which makes me think of the fun of a pool with a bunch of kids laughing, jumping around and splashing! See posts here and  here.

I cut it into long, curvy pieces, and placed them where I wanted them on my quilt top, before I began quilting.  (It's really alot easier that way!)  I added additional angelina fibers, too. 
 The picture above was when I hung the piece in my dining room to evaluate.  Hmmm... I'm likin' it ... still - it needs 'something more.' Back to the machine! Add the GLITTER thread in a darker, turquoise blue.  Binding is already on it, too, at this point.  But I knew that I could still add thread play without any buckling or warping... so I DID.  Can you see the difference in the picture below?  A matter of personal preference... but I did some MORE!
The next picture is without the Glitter thread... 
And then... after adding a bit more of the Glitter thread.

I think I'm on the right track - it fits in with the summertime images I had as my inspiration when I began with the piece.  
Sometimes.. it just takes a few days for me to figure it out... and not being in a hurry is a big advantage.  Getting it "just right" --- like "The Three Bears" children's story with the beds...chairs, and porridge. 
And I think this piece is just right now!
I found that after playing with it on the wall, I really liked the versatility of it hanging either vertically or horizontally.  My favorite is the horizontal, which evokes childhood memories of playing at the pool, laughing, screaming, splashing, taking swimming lessons... the beautiful cool, aqua blue water, and then later in the afternoons... the heat waves from the hot prairie sun as we dried off! The pool was very much a sanctuary for myself, my brothers and sister, and some peace of mind for my Mom.  She saved to buy our family season passes, and made sure we knew how to swim.  As a single mom, at least for those few summer months, she knew we were well occupied, having fun, and safe at the pool.
I think the Glitter added that 'fine bit of detail and movement that really appeals to me, personally.  There is a point in free motion quilting, when you may be a bit disappointed with your threadplay, and think it's not going as well as you'd hoped.   That is exactly where you should be, as you progress in getting to know more in the quilting process.  You will find with your stitching, when more is needed, and when it's time to stop! It's really a matter of the time spent free motion quilting, I think.  I'm figuring it out more as I quilt... more!  As I continue to learn, I've also realized how much there is to just loving the learning process, itself.  It's not just about the finished quilt piece. It's really part of a larger journey.
Let me be transparent with you all here, regarding the photo above, with the yellow and blue curly-q's.  I'm not sure I'm crazy about the blue ones... perhaps I went too far. Or perhaps I could have chosen a different motif... I don't regret it, it's just part of the fun of exploring, trying new things... and stretching yourself beyond what is comfortable!  Be adventurous... be something of a risk-taker! I'm glad I did, as I've discovered more about what I like.
But I sure do really dig the overall look, and feel, and the happy SUMMER memories this evokes for me.  It gives me great joy!
 I dig the binding, too.  It is a commercial batik... and I think it most excellently ties in with the feel of the quilt---it's colors, it's movement, enhancing the overall quilting style, yet defines the space and shows off the lovely curving edges that emulate that pool-like quality I was going for.  It's a darker color value in the same color family, and finishes nicely (in my opinion!). Most importantly - it makes me happy when I look at it. 

Begin! Choose something you love, whether it's the fabrics, a pattern, threads, quilting, motifs, or all! Be inspired. Love what you do. In teaching, I encourage students to do just that.  Just begin!

So this is how it is hanging right now.  I will make hanging sleeves for this piece so it can either way. 
Which way do you like it best?  Hanging vertically or horizontally?
Note: picture above was taken before I added the additional Glitter thread.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Psalm 91:11 for JAMIE

Jamie's Angel... flashy and funky, stylin' and cheerful...bright and red-haired, creative and musical... that's our JAMIE!  This quilt was inspired by, and is dedicated to my friend and Christian sister, Jamie B. 

I had so much fun playing 'dress-up' with this doll of an ANGEL

Love her red hair! Everything else I chose revolved around the red head!

 I had so much fun with this 'thread painting' technique.  This is a technique that must be hooped in order to keep the fabric flat because of all the heavy threadplay that's happening. I used two different thread colors in Isacord polyester  for the basic hair color.  A free motion zig zag for the darker color, and a straight stitch for the 'highlights' ---happy smiles! Then, as the final 'touch of 'glitz' I used a Glitter thread in a color of  a 'true red.' Cool! I chose a   white cotton for the quilting in the background inset piece... no need to compete with that fabulous red hair, and gorgeous batik dress, not to mention the delicate, pretty 'look at me' wings! Motif inspiration... just look at that fabric!  So that's what I did... swirls!

GLITTER thread in bright silver also makes it appearance serendipity-like with silver stars quilted all over.... even on her toes!.. loving that heavenly feel!  and... who knew there were green stars in heaven?  I think there are! (see my post on bobbin play)... just 'bedazzles' and I love doing it!    Random, silver threadplay also swirls away throughout the border... I truly enjoy crossing the lines... having no fear... having fun... and being free...! I chose a beautiful King Tut in variegated colors, and it blends in that busy border fabric, so I didn't need to get too elaborate with any quilting there, as it simply won't show.

Plenty of opportunity to shine in other places... decorating her dress with a few free motion swirls in  a heavier topstitch thread (Fusions by YLI Thread Corp as designed by Laura Heine).
It's all in the details... beading... topstitch thread, rayon ribbon, sweet lace edging...bobbin play, glittery thread... halo... stars... words written into the inner border... color, texture... plenty of eye candy...
This is how easy it is to make the lace edging for the dress and the wings... and instead of following the pattern directions... instead, I hooped wash a way stabilizer with tulle, added another layer of aqua film topping, hooped it, and then began my free motion stitching, outlining the basic shape with a contrast thread (I used brown in this piece) and then a lovely, beautiful variegated Rainbows polyester (from Superior threads) filled it all in.  Loosen that tension!  Put the same thread in your bobbin.  Make lots of intertwining circles... crossing over each other.  Unhoop...wash it completely out, lay flat to dry, press with pressing cloth ... attach free motion style for EASE and presto-magico!  

Pattern is called "Look at My Wings" from Laura Heine... visit Fiberworks  in Billings MT for a fabulous store experience and more... YLI Fusions threads.. inspiration abounding!

Psalm 91:11 "For he will command his angels concerning  you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone."

Here are some other examples of hair, dress, and wing styles!  Would you like to just one angel?  Great?  How about three in a row... or maybe SIX... as the pattern originally called for!  I think I've made over 15 of these angels... great as baby gifts!

 ---Soli deo gloria --- 
"To God alone be the Glory!"

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