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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Raw Edge Applique using 100wt Thread

Recently we received a question from one of our customers regarding the use of the InvisaFil 100wt thread in her machine in order to do raw edge applique.  She was having some difficulty with the thread continually breaking.  She wasn't sure if it was her tension or the needle, or what?

So we contacted our "Thread Queen" Carol to see if she had any suggestions, and/or recommendations.  First InvisaFil, from Wonderfil Thread, is a 100 wt cottonized soft polyester thread. Tone on tone, InvisaFil virtually disappears into the fabric and works beautifully for machine and hand applique.  And it is available in 60 colors.

Carol suggests that the thread be used both in the top and the bottom.  She even suggests lowering the feed dogs, and she set her tension at 2.  The needle she does like to use is Superior's Titanium Topstich 70/10 (which we are getting).  And she tried both a straight and zigzag stitch.  

Below is a video produced by Wonderfil, and as she says on the video she was using an 80 needle and might switch to a 90.

The take away on all this is before working directly on your project - try it out on test pieces first before you make yourself too frustrated.  We'll let you know how our customer fared after she tries some of Carol's suggestions.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Now they tell me!  It's all about the "glide" as you machine quilt! 

Recently I returned to machine quilting because I had a baby quilt to do.  Not only did I not have the time to send it to a long-arm quilting, but (and let's be honest here) I did not want to go to the added expense. 

So I tried my hand at machine quilting, yet again.  Of course it had been some time since I last tried machine quilting myself.  There was a lot to remember - feed dogs, walking foots... and then of course the quilting design.

I did it.  I finished it.  But oh it was slow going and hard to do.  Mainly because I felt the quilt was just not moving very easily in the machine.   

Of course about 3 weeks after I finished my baby quilt - both Patty and Cheryl come in saying how they just completed their small quilts (one was a wall hanging, the other was a baby quilt) - teaching themselves new machine quilting techniques-- how easy it was and what they learned from it all.  I was amazed and asked them, how could it be easy.  Isn't it just hard moving the quilt around "free motion" style - how can their designs be so consistent.

They both said - for starters, it's all about "the glide." They both use The Supreme Slider.  I also know Carol uses it as well.

What I've since found out is your quilt needs to be able to glide smoothly.  You don't want to experience that dreaded drag.  That friction or drag is caused in 2 ways.
  1. If your quilt top slips over the edge of your table surface, well that becomes additional weight and can pull your fabric enough to cause problems such as flexing the needle and slow things down.  What you need to do here is create a big enough and as flat enough surface so that your quilt is not draping downwards.  Don't worry, you can feed the quilt through and have it drag below the needle - but as it moves towards and through the needle - you want the quilt to remain as flat as possible over a much larger surface in order to displace the flex and drag.
  2. The top of your surface on which your fabric moves through must be extremely slippery.   Therefore it is recommended to first thoroughly clean the table top surface your quilt will be on.  Then you could spray that surface with a furniture or car polish or fabric-safe silicone upholstery spray.  (Remember always test these products on a fabric sample first.) 
But rather than risk ruining your fabric - there is an absolutely fabulous product -- The Supreme Slider. It is the most slippery surface out there in a product of this nature. This siliconized slider clings to your machine and table from one side without adhesives, while the topside allows your fabric to slide easily around as you sew.  If it becomes less clingy as the fabric dust accumulates, just rinse it off and let it dry.  The Supreme Slider comes in 2 sizes - small and large - and can be trimmed down to what you need/want.

Another tip, is spray starch your backing, so that it becomes stiff making the glide oh so much easier.

The Supreme Slider 

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Luminosity at its BEST!

Well admittedly - it's been awhile.  But I'm back in action.  We have some unbelievably gorgeous ombres to show you.  Truly they are ombres at their best.  A fabulous design of large floral leaves.  At the selvage it is at its darkest, but as the color moves towards the center/fold of the fabric it lightens up, then goes from light back to dark on the other side of the fabric and mirroring the floral images. 

What makes this ombre so amazing is on the larger floral leafs are highlighted with a touch of an all together different color that is simply luminous - truly breathtaking.
Enchanted Ombre - Coffee
Enchanted Ombre - Storm
Enchanted Ombre - Charcoal