A wee bit of Aurifil and Finding your way around

Aurifil smilieSeveral months ago Donna from Follow That Thread sent me a spool of Aurifil Lino (linen).  Donna has a bit of a sense of humor and drew a smilie face on the wooden spool.  That wooden spool will be a keepsake forever.  All it needs is a little red pompon and voila! a clown like me.

Aurifi LinoI asked Donna what size needle, I’ve learned one very important thing – a size 100/16 needle is essential for machine work as the thread is slightly slubby, only slightly and not in an unattractive way.  I love how this stitches up.  I could have played with the Lino for hours and hours and hours.  And hours.Aurifil linen  I My next bit of play was to draw something of a Zentangle type quilted block with “Aurifil Lino” stitched in.  I will need more of this thread.

I used Superior Magnifico in the bobbin   and would do so again not to waste this precious thread.

A couple of weeks ago Katia asked on the “Quilting, bubbling, quilting” post where we find the stitch count on our BERNINA 7 Series Machines.  Below are a series of photos below showing step by step how to get to this screen.  This is a good thing to know particularly if BERNINA has come out with software and/or firmware updates for the 7 Series machines.  I have a habit of touching the screen with my finger and that’s good.  Using the stylus is so much more effective.

Step 1:
Press the Gears
Step 2: Press the Sewing Machine











Step 3 Press the “i”
Step 4 press the Version button – this is on the left side of the screen










Step 5 – this is where you see the version of the software
stitch count
number of stitches since the last service








Happy Quilting!


New Class

I’m taking a moment from the usually scheduled machine quilting posts to share with you that there is a new class in the works.  “From Inspiration to Whole Cloth. . .with a twist”.  I mentioned it here on my schedule.

Before I share more about the class I started what I hope to be the next competition quilt yesterday.  Its the Eserita Austin silk organza from this post.  I started quilting it with Kimono silk on top and Bottom Line on the back of the quilt.  The nautilus shells are stitched out in “Hello Kitty Pink”, the pebbles are teal, not sure of the color name/number right now.

The back of the quilt is dupioni silk.  My goal for the back is to keep it all in pink in very stark contrast to the deep purple (with red overtones) of the dupioni.  A double layer of wool batting will keep this quilt structured and offer loft in the areas that aren’t heavily stitched.  I don’t have a formal stitching plan for this quilt, like it’s predecessors “Serendipity Gone Large” will happen as it does with the other Serendipity quilts.
So, back to the class.  Whole cloth quilts have become the focus of what I do as a quilter.  I can’t quite tell you how surprised I was when I realized this and it was sometime between finishing “Serendipity the Third Time Around” and starting this quilt.  (I’m sure I have a few friends in a certain mini-group who would say they knew.  This group of quilters are so wonderful!)  It occurred to me recently that other quilters might enjoy this type/style of quilting so a new class is in the process of being developed and will make its official debut at Olde City Quilts in August.  I can hardly wait to see what the students quilt up.  In the meantime I’ve been experimenting:


This is Aurifil Lana (wool) on suede.  I tried stitching with metallic however it just was hidden by the fiber of the suede.  The Lana really pops!  When I can I’ll show more of the samples for this class.

Suffice it to say, it’s not traditional whole cloth quilting.

Happy Quilting!



quilting for Sarah Vedeler - recently published in Fons & Porter

Last summer I took a business related class with Mary Kerr at the quilt show in Maine.  As a result I quilted for her and I’m beginning to listen to her advice about promoting what I do as a quilter.

I am a quilter for hire.  Have been for quite a long time, however I’ve been a bit shy about sharing what I do for my customers.  2011, as I’ve hinted is bringing about new opportunities that I’ve been working on for a while including adding a page on the blog with a basic price list for the services I offer as a quilter.  Generally, I use Superior Threads & Aurifil if there is some other thread you’d enjoy please let me know.

I’m also available to lecture and teach.  My focus is teaching machine quilting and how to improve skill as a machine quilter.  After spending time as a machine quilting instructor over the last few years, I love this!  I’d love to come teach at your guild or shop.  Please feel free to contact me @ terificreations@gmail.com.

Happy New Year & Happy Quilting!


Thread Part 2

Practicing with the good thread certainly goes a long way toward improving machine quilting.

Understanding tension helps – basic rule of tension reduce it.  Make sure your presser foot is in the highest position before trying to change the tension.  When I was beginning to learn the machine quilting process, I would try and change the tension with the presser foot down, with the tension disc’s locked and nothing, nada, zip, zilch, zero would happen.  The tension would not change!

Back to thread.

Just looking at the thread rack in the picture there is wool, silk, cotton, metallic and polyester.  The cotton and polyester come in a variety of weights.  The weight system can be confusing, however Superior Threads has a great explanation.  Breaking it down a little bit, if it’s feels thin, it is.  If it feels thick, it is.  Trust your fingers to help determine how thread can be used in a quilt and what needle size will work best.

Fine thread, 50 wt, 60 wt, 100 wt. (silk) is great for outline, stitch in the ditch, and very dense quilting.  Often these threads will head to the background allowing whatever is in the foreground to be the focus. Backtracking with these threads will not produce unwanted or unsightly bulk.  These are also great for appliqué when the thread is not a major player in the overall look.

Medium weight thread, 40 wt, 30 wt  is great for outlining, detailing (appliqué), stitch in the ditch and some fairly dense quilting, not nearly as dense as the finer thread and will have much more of a presence .

black latch bobbin case

Heavy weight thread 12 wt and heavier will be the focus of whatever quilting happens.  Some thread in this category will need to be quilted from the bobbin.  When using a heavier weight thread in the bobbin it’s a good idea to have either a second bobbin case where the screw can be adjusted or if you’re a Bernina owner get the black latch bobbin, the screw is longer making it less likely that the screw will come out unexpectedly.

When I’m teaching free motion machine quilting I do give my students  permission to adjust the screw, in “seconds” not minutes or hours.  Small adjustments make the biggest difference.

It’s important to note that color, needles and speed play an important role in good machine quilting technique.  We’ll talk more about that later as they’re essential machine quilting components.

Happy quilting!


Maine Quilts part 1

Visiting vendors at a quilt show is delightful.  The different fabrics and tools they have available are different than those lqs’s near home.  It’s also an opportunity to support other local quilt shops or businesses.

Hand dyed fabric attracts my attention.  When I saw the Rainbow Dyes booth I knew something would go into the bag!  This group of fat quarters made my heart go pitter pat!  I have two projects in mind for this group.

As I love hand dyes and have wanted to purchase some of these for a very long time I picked up some Cherrywood gradated pieces.  These will be part of two projects the first will incorporate some of the Rainbow dyes and the second will be part of a change in how I’m approaching teaching machine quilting.

Yep, you read that right.  I’m changing the approach for teaching advanced machine quilting (Let Your Foot Loose, Be Fancy & Free).  This is part of the growing and learning process on my part.  The techniques will remain the same however what the student ends up with at the end will be slightly different.

Sunday I took a class with Mary Kerr.  I’ve met Mary on Facebook and she’s the president of Quilt Professionals Network.  Through the last few years I’ve heard great things about her from Mary Anne Ciccotelli and thought taking Mary’s class on Business would be a great idea.  Oh yes it was.  I brought my laptop with me to take notes, I figured it would be easier than trying to either remember everything or read anything slightly cryptic later on.  Two big things came from the class 1) I’m going to quilt a quilt for Mary and 2) I’m going to do my very best to enter Houston next year.

More on Mary’s quilt.  We were talking at the end of class and she had a quilt with her that needs to be quilted for her next book.  I offered, she accepted.  After our conversation I ran to the main quilting room to the Quilt Essentials booth because I knew they had Aurifil Thread and I needed it for this project.  And they did.  We matched thread quickly as the show was ending and I needed to leave the room as take down was in process.

Houston. When I started on this machine quilting journey the thought of entering Houston was a 5 year goal.  I’m beyond the 5 years however I’ve given into thinking, “I’m not good enough for Houston” while friends and other teachers are telling me otherwise.  I have a quilt in mind that will be the third in the “Twilight in the Bronx” series and I want to use Superior silk. I don’t have any clue beyond that.  In the mean time I have several customer quilts and a few other projects to work on.

Finally for today Linda M Poole is having a contest

some of the fabrics for her contest are available at Hartsdale Fabrics – where I work part time.  I know we have the panel and the border print.  Come in and see me Monday (morning) Tuesday all day and Thursday afternoon/evening and I’ll cut some fabrics for you.

Happy quilting!


Venetian Lace Update

Elizabeth Rosenbergs Venetian Lace really speaks to me in an unusual way.   First of all doing appliqué in a combined fusing and stitching…not normally my favorite in quilting.   A few years back when I learned about fusible appliqué I was a happy quilter.  This is a process I can get in to!

As I worked in fusible appliqué I started with much more random & unplanned shapes.  At the time and even now this is hugely stepping outside my quilting realm, however I like the process and it’s quite freeing.

When I held the piece of lace in my hand my eyes went to the teeny, tiny knots – hand knotted by women who love their craft.  If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time you’ll know I love tiny stitching.

I placed the bobbin here as a reference for just how much and how small the stitching is on this little piece.

I’m swirling my way through the background on here in honor of the women who make such lovely tiny knots, creating incredible patterns of lace.

I’m using is King Tut to create these swirls and having a lot of fun.  Talking to a friend last night I shared with her that I’ve finally realized I’m nuts.  Oh well, it’s a good kind of nuts.  The kind that make my heart sing as I see this piece to completion.  I’m already thinking of the next piece and thinking of switching the thread play – using King Tut to do the blanket stitching around the lacy pieces and MasterPiece or Aurifil for the background quilting.

Happy Quilting!