Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Glow-in-the-Dark Thread

With all the excitement about the new Star Wars, I thought it was a good time to post about NiteLite Extra Glow-in-the-dark threads. Here's a photo taken with a black light (the pink light sabre on the left!) My son's girlfriend Jade is using my JUKI TL98P straight stitch sewing machine on our 6 foot New English Quilter frame.

Follow the link to the Superior Threads education pages to find out how glow-in-the-dark threads work and how you can use them in your projects.

NiteLite Extra Glow glow-in-the-dark threadn my JUKI TL98P straight stitch sewing machine

 NiteLite Extra Glow shows up so well in Black lighting, but it shows up well in natural light too.

NiteLite really comes into it's own during these dark winter nights. I have a feeling that anything remotely related to Star Wars is going to be very popular this season. 500 yd cross-wound cones of NiteLite are available here  in the UK from the Machine Quilter shop.
NiteLite available here in the UK from Machine Quilter

Friday, 18 December 2015

Quilting a Christmas Card

The whole time that my mom was piecing the Christmas Tree card quilt, she and I were discussing how to quilt it. We decided that we wanted to quilt a garland of holly and ivy in the wide red border.

For me, the first step in quilting a new pattern is always to practise it on paper before I even think about approaching the machine. I have a huge long roll of tracing paper that I like to use for practising my quilting designs. I practised the pattern below for a couple hours (the image is slightly grainy because tracing paper doesn't seem to like being photographed!). Mom even brought me in some ivy from the garden so I could try and copy it more accurately!

Then came the actual quilting! We loaded the quilt onto the frame, and then auditioned some threads to see which ones we would use first.  

We ended up using  King Tut #988 Oasis for the garland. The King Tut creates a beautifully bold line, and we really wanted the quilting to stand out. In the image below, you can see the end of the garland. this is actually two layers of thread - I used Twist, and then King Tut #988. The berries were done using Magnifico. 

Next was the Christmas trees themselves! I used King Tut again (this time #981 Cobra) for the branches. It was a very striking effect, and I like how every tree is slightly different - almost like real life! 

Between the Christmas trees, I used Fantastico #5170 Pixie Dust to create curls that looked a little bit like swirling snow. This thread was beautiful to use, and it wasn't a thread that I would have immediately thought to use with a white background. On the cone it looks a lot more colourful! It blended beautifully, leaving behind a wonderful, snowy texture. 

The final quilt looked a LOT like the original Christmas card that mom based her piecing on. We like the quilted version better though! 

Saturday, 12 December 2015

It started with a Christmas card...

It all started with a retro 1950's Christmas card. 

I thought that this 1952 Christmas card by Charley Harper could translate really well into a Christmas quilt so I pinned it on my Christmas pinterest board. I like using pinterest boards as  design boards for various quilts that are percolating in my head. The pinterest board keeps all the ideas in a place that I can actually find when I want to come back to it later.

This year when we were planning a Christmas video clip for our friends at Superior Threads we decided to translate the card into a quilt. Because I love the quilting part best these days, I usually see the pieced top as a 'canvas' for the quilting.  When I piece a quilt I am already thinking about how to quilt it. I was thinking even at the start of the project how fun it would be to draw the branches with the sewing machine needle and thread.

First I raided my green fabric stash and  pieced the trees. I used So Fine #50 for the piecing with Bottom Line pre-wounds in the bobbin. These very fine lint-free threads gave me flat seams and nice sharp points for my triangles.

Then I needed to appliqué my tree-cutter person in the larger white triangle. I used Kimono Silk on top and Bottom Line pre-wounds in the bobbin for the machine appliqué.  

These silk threads blend so well with the fabric! I like how the raw-edge appliqué technique makes the figures seem to pop-up out of the quilt.

Finally we decided to add a wide red border. We were planning to use this border to quilt a holly and ivy garland to frame the trees.

Here's the top all pieced and ready to go on the JUKI QVP 2200 long arm frame. We'll talk more about the quilting in the next post...

Friday, 11 December 2015

The Holly and the Ivy

Here's a special Merry Christmas from Superior Threads.
Martha made the quilt,
Emily quilted it on the JUKI QVP and
Ellie created and performed her original version of the Christmas carols.

We hope you enjoy it and would love to hear your comments. Coming soon is a post about how we made it.