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. 💕

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Vintage Little Boy's Britches for Bobbie + Brandon's Breeches (Just for Fun!)

Hello, my lovelies!  Now that I've wrapped up both of my Christmas quilt projects, I've resumed working on my FrankenWhiggish Rose needle turn appliqué project and I'm continuing to weigh my options for a new machine piecing project.  At the moment, I'm feeling wickedly inspired by a vintage hand pieced quilt top that my client Bobbie rescued from abuse and neglect and brought to me recently for longarm quilting.

Rescued and Redeemed: Bobbie's Vintage Little Boy's Britches Quilt

98 x 98 Little Boy's Britches (Vintage) with Basketweave E2E

Bobbie isn't a quilter; she's an interior designer who loves and appreciates vintage quilts.  When she spied this quilt top in a secondhand shop, she says it was black with filth and they were using it to wrap motor parts in or something like that!  Can you imagine anyone doing that to a quilt top that somebody spent hours and hours piecing by hand?!  I feel like the cops ought to have been called, or Social Services, or at least the Quilt Police!  

Monday, January 9, 2023

Mary's Lumen Quilt, Jingle Binding + A Little Red Hen Named Zojirushi

Happy New Year, Y'all!  I can't believe I haven't posted anything since before Christmas.  Meanwhile, my camera roll has been filling up with quilt photos and my brain has been cluttering up with everything I wanted to say about all of those quilts, so here we are.  I considered writing a big reflection post rehashing the highs and lows of 2022.  I thought about doing a New Year's Resolution post, or one that plans out all the quilts I'll work on this year...  Remember the three Sarah Fielke BOM projects I was going to make in 2022?  👀   Hah!  Still haven't started any of them!  

So instead of dour reflecting on goals not accomplished or fantasizing about plans soon abandoned, I'm going to just plant myself here in this moment of this day and see what happens next.

And now, without further ado, the quilt I've selected to share with you to kick off the new year:

Mary's Spectacular Lumen Quilt

Mary's 60 x 60 Lumen Quilt with Celestial Spark Clam E2E Quilting

This quilt was made by my client Mary whom many of you know via her blog, Quilting is In My Blood.  I chose to share it today for several reasons: It reminds me of fireworks exploding in the night sky to welcome the New Year.  It's gorgeous.  And finally, Mary is on my mind right now because I've got her three temperature quilts scheduled for quilting this week!  Can't wait!

Mary used the Lumen Quilt foundation paper piecing pattern by Nydia Kehnle and Alison Glass, which you can find on Etsy here (this post contains affiliate links).  This is such a gorgeous minimalist design, and IF I was making a grand list of quilts to make this year, I would probably put this one on the list.  The pattern is for a throw sized quilt, but it could easily be enlarged to bed size by making more blocks.  Another interesting thing about this quilt is that this is the second Lumen quilt Mary has made, using the same fabrics as her first one!  In 2019, Mary made a Lumen quilt as a gift for her stepdaughter and she liked the quilt so much that she decided to make another one to keep for herself.