Friday, January 27, 2023

Star of North Carolina: AccuQuilt vs. Electric Quilt Software

Happy Friday, Quilty Peeps!  I took a little design detour yesterday, playing around with a historical quilt block called Star of North Carolina in an updated color scheme of Kona Solid fabrics.

My 58 x 74 Star of NC Design, Using 8 Inch Blocks

I became aware of this block recently when AccuQuilt reintroduced their limited edition 12" North Carolina Star BOB (Block On Board) die as a permanent offering.  "Block On Board" (BOB) refers to AccuQuilt dies that are designed to cut all of the shapes needed for a particular quilt block with a single pass through the die cutting machine.  (By the way, all of AccuQuilt's BOB dies are on sale 20% off, now through January 30th.  This post contains affiliate links).

AccuQuilt's 12 Inch North Carolina Star BOB Die

Barbara Brackman's definitive reference book, the Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, 3rd Ed., identifies this as Block #473 in the Ladies' Art Company Catalog that was published from 1889 through the 1970s.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Nanette's Globetrotting Quilt + My Newest Favorite Quilting Thread

 Hello, my lovelies!  Have you missed me?  I've been less motivated to write blog posts lately because I switched email subscriptions providers at the end of December (no more flying MailChimp monkeys) and still have not figured out how to get blog posts automatically sent via email with my service provider.  And knowing that the folks who subscribe to get my blog posts sent by email are the ones most interested in what I have to show and tell, and those people will most likely not be seeing the posts I'm writing now is discouraging!  (If a tree falls down on the Internet and no one is watching, does it still make a sound?). I hate wasting perfectly good quilting time on troubleshooting tech problems!!  But the upside to that is that I have been doing a lot of quilting while I've been sulking about my tech woes, so I do have a few things to share today.  

Nanette's Globetrotting Quilt with Aurifil Forty3

First, I have to share the gorgeous quilt I just finished long arm quilting for my client Nanette of Do It Right Quilter.  I used a new thread for the first time (well, new to me -- I think it's been out for about 5 years or so), Aurifil Forty3 long arm quilting cotton, and I am in love with it!

Detail of Feather Garden E2E Stitched in Aurifil Forty3 Light Robin's Egg

I wish I could capture in photos what I'm seeing in person.  First off, the color was an absolute perfect match to the lightest blue fabric in Nanette's quilt.  For this quilt, I wanted a thread that was simultaneously going to blend in like a chameleon to let Nanette's exquisite piecing and beautiful fabrics shine, but also needed that thread to have some presence so that we could actually see the elegant Feather Garden quilting design even though the thread was color-matched to "disappear" on this predominantly blue quilt.  Aurifil Forty3 is beefier than their 40 wt 2-ply thread that comes on green cones; Forty3 is a stronger 40 wt 3-ply thread that comes on big cones and is designed specifically for the demands of high speed long arm quilting machines.  The color saturation, luster of the thread, and its softness remind me of cotton embroidery floss, and I think it's this thread's softness that I like most of all, because of how it bends in and out of the quilt sandwich to form stitches that look more like a dashed line of tiny, perfect hand stitches than like machine quilting.  I mean, this is definitely machine quilting, but I kept doing double-takes and imagining that I was seeing hand quilting stitches coming out of my long arm.  

If you have a long arm and you want to give Aurifil Forty3 a try, you may have difficulty finding it locally but the Fat Quarter Shop stocks it here (this post contains affiliate links).  Just a word of warning: this thread kicked out more lint than any other thread I've quilted with, and I had to stop and clean the hook race and bobbin case out midway through every single bobbin in addition to cleaning thoroughly with every bobbin change.    For me personally, I am willing to deal with lint when the tradeoff is gorgeous stitches that make the quilting sing.

Nanette's Globetrotting Quilt, 62 x 62

But I am getting ahead of myself!  Back to Nanette's quilt!  This 62" x 62" beauty is a BOM (Block of the Month) design by Pat Sloan called Globetrotting, and as of this writing in 2023, the pattern is still available on Pat's website for FREE here.  Nanette started this quilt in March of 2014 and finished her quilt top in September of that year, and you can read about the changes she made to the pattern and how she used EQ7 software to preview her fabric choices on her blog in this post.   Shortly after completing this quilt top, which she'd originally planned to quilt herself, life threw Nanette and her husband some nasty curve balls that sapped a lot of her creative energy for big endeavors and she found more solace in piecing and appliqué than in quilting and finishing for the next few years.  This resulted in the accumulation of a LOT of gorgeous quilt tops needing quilting, more than Nanette felt like she could handle, so she shipped twelve of them to lucky me for long arming. 💕

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Rebecca Grace Quilting participates in Amazon, Etsy, and AccuQuilt affiliate advertising programs. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission in the event that you make a purchase after clicking one of the links in my post. Thanks for your support!