Aurifil Designer of the Month – March 2016 (That’s Me!)

It is with great pride and honor to announce that I was chosen to be the Aurifil Designer of the Month for March. I’ve designed this exclusive “Improv Star” block as part of the Aurifil Designer Series, hosted by Pat Sloan.

Each month in 2016, you’ll get free access to a brand new blue and white 12″ finished block pattern. Make them each month, share them on Pat’s website and enter for your chance to win a box of thread – 12 large spools for your creating pleasure!

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My 12″ Improv Star block – click here for the free pattern.

I have to tell you what a whirlwind of a journey it’s been, falling in love with Aurifil threads and using them exclusively for all of my sewing and quilting. I first discovered Aurifil 50 weight cotton thread just a few years ago and it was love at first stitch! Like any other aspect of quilting, at first I struggled to know which materials to use, what threads to try and how to put them all together.

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This is just one of my drawers full of Aurifil thread – I love all that color!

I soon realized that being a prolific quilter, Aurifil satisfied my need to keep things simple and organized. Rather than buying ALL the threads in ALL the colors in ALL the different fibers and weights out there, I could do everything I needed with Aurifil cotton! (And yeah, I still do own almost ALL the colors!!)

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If you are an Aurifil thread fan like I am, you can find all your favorite colors and kits at The Precut Store.

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Be sure to sign up for Friendly Threads, my email newsletter, and get a free PDF quilt pattern!

3 Fun Things for You to Check out…pattern writing, finish-a-long, Aurifil BOM

One of the things I love about the online community (no, blogs are NOT dead!) is all of the community projects that you can be a part of! Last week I introduced my Facets QAL which starts next week, and today I’m here to share a roundup of a few fun things my friends are doing.

#1 – Pattern Writing Series

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Cheryl, from Meadow Mist Designs just kicked off her pattern writing series which I know that many of you are interested in. Today, she’s introduced the 6 designers that are going to be part of each weekly roundtable discussion. It was fun putting together my thoughts on various topics, and I love how the series is going to go very in-depth in several areas. Each week will include 2-4 posts from Cheryl and the other designers. It’s going to be a wealth of information, and I’m sure I’ll learn a thing or two!

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Click here to keep up with the Pattern Writing Series.

#2 – Finish Along

Next, I’m one of the sponsors for the Finish Along, coordinated by Leanne from She Can Quilt. I’ll be offering a different prize each quarter, so be sure to sign up and link up your finishes! The Finish Along is also on Instagram at – you guessed it – @finishalong.

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Click here for the Finish A Long main page.

#3 – Aurifil Designer Block of the Month

Finally, I am proud to be one of the 2016 Aurifil Designers of the month. Pat Sloan and Aurifil have teamed up since 2011 to bring you fun free projects each month, so you can put your collection of Aurifil threads to work!

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The theme for 2016 is blue and white blocks, so each month, you’ll get a free block pattern from a different designer. (My month is March.) Heather Valentine kicks of January with her awesome block, Swirl Away, shown below.

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Click here to get directions to make the Swirl Away block.

What quilting groups and community projects will you be involved with this year?

Thread Thursday and a Folkschool Sneak Peek!

This week I am having the most wonderful time teaching at the John C. Campbell Folkschool. My students are learning how to make a modern quilt, and I will give a full report next week, once I’m home and rested!

folkschoolsignHaving a great time at the Folkschool. Wish you were here!!

We’ve been here all week and today is machine quilting day in class. Many of my students have chosen to piece and quilt with Aurifil thread, and they are getting great results!

machinequiltingI love this version of Modern Logs – it’s so graphic and cheerful!

Since you aren’t here with me, enjoy some pretty pictures of my favorite thread collections:

thread_tula_pinkTula Pink’s Premium Collection

thread_botanicsBotanics by Carolyn Friedlander

thread_alison_glassAlison Glass Essentials

All of these thread collections and more are available in my thread/precut store!

Aurifil Thread Winner

Thank you for your comments on my last giveaway. I think that’s the most comments I’ve ever received for a giveaway. I guess you guys really like Aurifil thread as much as I do!

abacus_aurifil_threadCongratulations to Kathie H. who won the Abacus thread bundle! I will have another giveaway related to the Abacus Quilt Along this Thursday so stay tuned! And be sure to come back tomorrow for the next quilt along tutorial.

20140909_aurifilSome of my personal stash of Aurifil – you could say I’ve got a passion for thread!

Christa’s Giveaway – Aurifil Thread Bundle

It’s time for another giveaway! As with all of the giveaways I’m hosting during my Abacus Quilt Along, you do not have to follow along to participate in the giveaway. Everyone is welcome to comment and enter for a chance to win.

abacus_aurifil_threadBeautiful Aurifil threads I used in my version of Abacus.

Up for grabs this week: A bundle of beautiful 50 weight Aurifil cotton threads! One lucky winner will receive 8 small spools of the same exact colors I used for the machine applique on Abacus; plus a large spool of the same grey I used for the machine quilting.

Click here for a listing of the exact colors of threads and fabrics I chose.

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Machine quilting is my favorite part of making any quilt – it’s quick, easy, and fun!

To enter, simply leave a comment letting me know what you think about machine applique! Do you love it or hate it? Or are you somewhere in between? You can also mention your favorite method of applique if you like. πŸ™‚

Good luck!

Thread Thursday – New Aurifil Thread Kits

I don’t know about you, but I am starting to collect a pretty healthy thread stash that is starting to rival my fabric stash! I just can’t help it when Aurifil keeps releasing fabulous thread collections by some of my favorite designers.

Here’s a sneak peek of what’s new in the store, thread-wise:

 

20140815_fruit_veggie2Pat Sloan’s latest grouping: Eat Your Fruits N Veggies – Love that Variegated Spool!

20140815_drift Drift by Angela Walters – these are so her colors (and mine – and yours!)

20140815_fave_thingsFavorite Things by Jeni Baker – Why, yes they are!

I love how most of theΒ Aurifil thread sets come in a trial box of 10 smaller spools (perfect for decorative stitching, bindings, and applique) and in the thread lovers’ size of 12 large spools (usually enough to quilt a throw-sized quilt).

Just think of thread as quilter’s candy – zero calorie, high fiber treats!

WIP Wednesday – Free Motion Quilting Frenzy

I’ve been quilting like crazy, trying to finish up quite a few projects on a deadline. The sad thing is that I won’t be able to share them for awhile, but the good news is that I can share little work-in-progress snippets here and there. (The pictures are all from my instagram feed so they are not the highest quality – but you get the idea!)

20140809_fmq_4I can get lost in pebbles! They are fun to stitch but very time consuming! I usually put on a good audio book and keep stitching until I can’t stand it or until my shoulders ache – then I take a break and do something else!

I’ve been having a blast playing around with different weights and colors of Aurifil threads as I quilt my myriad of projects. My go-to thread is the standard 50 weight cotton which blends wonderfully with any fabrics.

20140809_fmq_3I’m also experimenting with quilting spirals – in a slightly heavier thread – I love it!

However, I have been getting a little more daring. I usually try to match my thread colors to my fabrics but have been playing with variegated thread colors and heavier weights, too. I’m really liking the 40 weight Aurifil cotton which is just a tad heavier than the 50 weight (the smaller the number – the heavier the thread).

20140809_fmq_1Who doesn’t love a good stipple? Technically, the larger scale is called “meandering.”

I even tried some of the heavier 28 weight which adds a nice definition to the quilting. I love the Aurifil cottons because they go through my machine with ease and they don’t break! I usually use a size 80 needle with the size 50 thread and then switch to a heaver size 90 needle when dealing with the thicker threads. So far, so good.

20140809_fmq_2Loops are a great go-to design anytime. They always look good on any pattern!

I usually stick with the regular 50 weight thread in the bobbin in a similar color so that I can pack a lot of thread onto one bobbin for more non-stop quilting.

20140809_fmq_5Swirls always take my breath away. They don’t have to be perfect, either, to look good!

How about you? What are you working on this week?

20140809_fmq_threadNearly empty spools of thread make me happy!

Thread Thursday – New Aurifil Collections

This week instead of Fabric Friday, I am going to share Thread Thursday with you today! Aurifil has released many new 50 weight thread kits and we are busy stocking them all!

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Aurifil Best Selection kit – includes small spools of the 45 most popular colors!

I love that machine quilting with beautifully colored threads has become a large part of the modern quilting movement, and I will do my part to further the cause. πŸ™‚

aurifil_botanicsMany designers, such as Carolyn Friedlander have designed their own collections in beautiful hues to match their fabric lines. The Botanics set comes in a large thread kit as well as a smaller boxed set – choose which size best fits your budget!

aurifil_alison_glassAlison Glass’ booth was a favorite at quilt market, with her colorful fabrics and beautiful threads. Hew new thread set, Alison Glass Essentials also comes in both large and small spool versions.

I usually stock up on the large spools when I know I will use those colors for piecing or to machine quilt. I round out my color selection with the smaller spools which are perfect to have on hand for machine applique, embroidery details, or matching binding.

aurifil_winter_essentialsEdyta Sitar has just released a 4-spool set of Winter Essentials – darker neutrals that go along with original release ofΒ  Quilters Essentials – lighter neutrals that are perfect for piecing and blending.

I love that so many modern and traditional designers are curating their collections with Aurifil. Additional designers’ offerings include sets by Tula Pink, Pat Bravo, Darlene Zimmerman, Minick and Simpson, Victoria Findlay Wolfe, Zen Chic, Me & My Sister, Pat Sloan, Vanessa Christensen, Camille Roskelley and many others.

Click here to see them all.

aurifil_victoriaFresh, Modern & Timeless by Victoria Findlay Wolfe – Small Set Available Now.

Many more collections were previewed at this spring’s quilt market, which will be available in the fall, and you know I will carry those, too! Thanks for supporting my thread addiction. I hope I’m feeding yours as well! πŸ™‚

Modern X – A Free Pattern for Modern Quilt Guild Members

I’m pleased to share with you my latest quilt finish – Modern X.

I made it for the Modern Quilt Guild as a free pattern for their members. One of the benefits of being a MQG member is getting a free pattern with each of their monthly newsletters in 2014. I got selected to be “Miss March.”

modern_x_cquilts_mqgModern X – designed, pieced and quilted by Christa Watson – 56″x 70″

All of the quilts of the month will be shown at a special exhibit at QuiltCon next year, so it will be exciting to see them all presented in one place.

If you are not a member of the Modern Quilt Guild (why not?) I also have this pattern available for sale in my Craftsy Pattern Store. It runs 7 pages in length and also includes diagrams on how to machine quilt it, if you are so inclined.

I used Kona Cotton Solid fabrics for the quilt and it is pieced and quilted using Aurifil threads in 50 wt. cotton. Here’s a detailed shot of some of the quilting:

aurifil_quiltingBe sure to come back later in the week as I’ll share a couple of basting and binding tutorials I put together for this quilt. πŸ™‚

Friday Feature: Aurifil Thread

If I had planned this out better, I should have written this post yesterday. Then I could have called it Thread Thursday. πŸ™‚ Even though I’m enjoying writing my Fabric Friday series every other week, I can’t really neglect talking about the thread that goes along with making a beautiful, functional quilt.

Aurifil Simplify Collection by Camille Roskelley

Aurifil Simplify Collection by Camille Roskelley

I can unequivocally state that Aurifil cotton is my favorite thread and I’ll tell you why:

  • It comes in every color imaginable.
  • It’s very low lint for a cotton thread.
  • It’s strong and thin which is perfect for piecing, and it doesn’t break while quilting!

Over the last two years, I’ve tried out a variety of different threads and brands, knowing I would eventually want to carry them in my store. Since I only sell products that I would recommend and use myself, this took a bit of research and trial and error to find out which thread I wanted to invest in.

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Quilters Essentials by Edyta Sitar

I call it an “investment” because unlike fabric where you can pick and choose what you want to carry, if a shop owner carries thread, he/she needs to have a wide variety! And I’ve done it for my own selfish reasons, too. It’s nice to have a shop full of thread to pick from when searching for the right colors for my quilts!

Aurifil Threads

Aurifil Thread Colors Used on My Latest Finish

After a lot of trial and error, I’ve decided that cotton is easiest for me to use for both piecing and quilting. While I have nothing against all of the other beautiful synthetic threads that are available for machine quilting, they just aren’t made for piecing. Because I embrace simplicity, I just love the idea of using cotton thread for both piecing and quilting.

The large spools contain a lot of thread – 1422 yards (1300 meters) each.

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Thread Pull for Another Project

I can usually quilt an entire throw-sized quilt with just two large spools of thread: one for the top and one for the bobbin. If I’m switching thread colors a lot to match the fabrics, one large spool of each color is usually enough. If there are specific colors I need in less prominent areas, the smaller spools seem to work well. Because it’s cotton, the leftover thread can then go into my next piecing project. How’s that for efficiency?

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Small Thread Kit

So far I’ve only used the standard 50 weight cotton Aurifil. However, I do plan on trying out a few spools of the 40 weight for quilting. It’s slightly thicker so it would give a heavier look to the quilting, which is perfect when you really want your thread to show.

If I have success quilting with the 40 weight, then I’ll start offering that in my store, too. Have any of you tried it yet? If so, what do you think?