More y-seam stars

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I don’t know about you but I get a huge thrill when everything lines up perfectly or closer than you’ve ever been before. I wanted to show you my stars before I trued them up. I don’t think I’ve ever had blocks turn out like this before, less than 1/4″ fabric to trim. And you know, when you can achieve results you’re pleased with, you want to repeat them because they’re so gratifying! (Click any image to enlarge then click again to magnify.)

Sharon Schamber has really lit a fire under me, to strive for accuracy as best I can and I have to thank her for her YouTube tutorials! Some techniques I feel have really helped me are:

1) Starch, starch, starch! Starch your fabrics before you cut, starch them twice! It prevents your fabric from stretching and becoming distorted and makes a HUGE difference! Spray your starch on your fabric then turn it over and iron, this prevents those pesky white flakes from littering your fabric. It also helps after you stitch your seams, fabric behaves better and you don’t need more (starch) after your initial pressing.

2) Take your time and cut accurately! I wish I could go back in time and recreate some of my quilts, to improve upon them. Alas some of that fabric is no longer readily available (sob).

3) Lock your seams by a stitch or two. The traditional quilter’s rule is to not backstitch but I found my seams would come undone, I started backstitching awhile ago to prevent this and it really helps.

4) Last but not least, especially when you’re cutting triangles & diamonds, cut your fabric parallel to the bias it gives your pieces more stability.

6) Once finished your block, take the time to give it an overall press with a wet pressing cloth and, of course, more starch. 😀

Here is the video tutorial of Sharon Schamber’s y-seam 8-point stars if you’d like to give it a try. If you do try it, let me know what your results were!

WIPs Galore!

All quilting is suspended until I have my quilting frame & machine (and a LOT of practice), which leaves me with many WIPs and new projects. As mentioned yesterday I’ve been invited by Heather & Megan of Quilt Story to participate in their Holiday Tutorials Thursdays so one of my WIPS is to work on my tutorial!

One new project I started last weekend is what I consider a “guy’s” quilt using Chicopee by Denyse Schmidt, Robert Kaufman Essex linen and log cabins. Love the fabrics in this line! I’m using Superior Threads’ Kimono Silk for piecing and quilting which gives me super flat and strong seams!

   

Another project I’m working on is a baby quilt for one of my girlfriends, she is currently 6 months along so I only have four months left to work on it. I don’t know if she’s having a girl or boy (I’m guessing girl) but thought I’d play it safe  by making it for a boy or a girl by using two Aneela Hoey embroidery patterns from her new book, Little Stitches. Her designs are so sweet and book is fabulous, great for embroidery beginners like myself.

Last but not least, I’ve been hankering to make a bear’s paw quilt and have decided to once again pull out Backyard Baby fabric by Patty Sloniger. I’m not a big child’s fabric fan but I adore this line, it’s obviously for kids without being too cutesy.

On a side note, I’ve started using my Sony NEX 5-N instead of my iPad, I really need to use all of the features available, it’s a great camera but I need to work on my white balance as well as other things.

In case you haven’t noticed, I have new a hair style, it’s very similar to the last style. I’ve decided that I really, really love short hair (so does DH!), so easy to care for, I haven’t had to use a blow dryer or straightener in months, which is so much healthier! I just need to ignore my parent’s and strangers comments — my Dad loves long hair but he doesn’t have to take care of it. ;D

Have a great week, keep on sewing!

Linking up with The Needle and Thread Network and Freshly Pieced.
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced   

Preliminary Review: Superior Threads

Disclaimer: I have not received any monies or free product from Superior Threads. This is my honest and unbiased opinion, no one from Superior Threads has contacted me for my opinion.

Thread comparison

From left to right: 

Superior So Fine is a polyester 5owt, 3 ply thread, a 3,280 yard spool is US$16.90

Aurifil 50wt, 2 ply thread, 1,420 yards is US$11.99

Superior Kimono Silk #100 thread 1,090 yards was US$12.60 on sale at Superior Threads, regularily US$17.00

Mettler 50wt thread, 547 yard spool – can’t remember how much I paid.

I love Superior thread, especially their Kimono Silk Thread, it’s thin, stronger than cotton and a natural fibre. I love it more than Aurifil 50wt cotton and the biggest differences are a) NO lint and b) extremely flat seams. I plan to use it on my next project from start to finish. The Superior So Fine is a 50wt 3 ply thread which appears to be marginally thinner than the Aurifil 50wt 2 ply cotton. The Mettler appears to be the thickest 50wt thread and approximately the same as Gutermann, in my personal opinion. After using Kimono Silk, Gutermann and Mettler feels like sewing with rope.

The So Fine I purchased in 3,280 yard spools from Green Fairy Quilts. I’m also interested in trying out Superior Threads’ King Tut 40wt which is a 100% cotton.

I’d love to hear about your experience with different threads.

Fabric, Thread & Quilting

I’ve started quilting my Parcheesie quilt by stitching in the ditch. The new generation thinks this is old fashioned and I thought so too until I took a course on free motion quilting. When you free motion quilt, wash and dry your work, your piecing  becomes distorted, the FMQ is more prominent and the piecing can get lost. Stitching in the ditch prevents your hard work from becoming skewed. In fact, it’s also recommend that you stitch around the perimeter of your quilt prior to FMQ so the edges of your quilt don’t become wavy. If you’ve never tried these methods, give them a whirl and witness for yourself, the difference these techniques make. This has really solved some common problems for me, especially the wavy edges.

In the case of my Parcheesie quilt, I want the piecing to be dominant, not the quilting, because it was a lot of work and I really love it!  In summary, stitching in the ditch isn’t a style choice but rather a practical choice, IMO.

Superior Threads’ Kimono Silk

On another note, everyone has been raving about Aurifil for the past year or so and I have to admit that I love it too but it’s just not available at my local quilt shops. Aurifil has done an excellent job of using social media to boost their profile and increase sales. Superior Threads, however, are available at the quilt shops around me. I recently purchased three spools of Kimono Silk; beige, white and light grey, the basics. It’s very fine and extraordinarily strong — more so than cotton, and great for stitching in the ditch because you don’t notice the stitches, it’s like a filament thread but a natural fibre, a great alternative to nylon (ew).

Lastly, I FINALLY received the backing fabric for my “Les Fleurs Bleu” quilt, I can’t believe it! I can’t wait to start quilting it — very simply, outlining the flowers I think, still undecided. Sadly I had to pay an additional $25.00 for customs on top of the shipping charges. I hate customs, it’s so random and unfair! On the other hand, The Fat Quarter Shop reduced my shipping fees from $26.00 to $13.00, YAY and thank you FQS!!!

See you next time I come up for air or when I have something to show you! ;D

Spa White Rose Vines and Flowers by Deb Strain