01 02 03 Fabric of My Life: Just a quick note... (and a little quilting tip) 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Just a quick note... (and a little quilting tip)

Hi everyone,

hope you had a fabulous weekend and a wonderful week ahead! Our western NY weather is turning towards the real fall - chilly nights, some rain but gorgeous leaves colors about to peak. However we caught a bit of break this Sunday, with sunny skies and had a wonderful, wonderful family outing to pick some apples on Becker Farms.

Ah the colors, aromas and traditions of Autumn - I just love it!

We drove back south (away from lake Ontario) right into some dark clouds, rain and even small hail! Geeez... but hey, that is actually a prefect quilting weather, right?

And quilting I did!
My dear friend Martha, a quilter and accomplished pattern designer (link takes you to all of Martha's wonderful patterns!), is getting her new pattern ready and made a smaller sample to go to Houston Quilt Market with pattern publisher, QuiltWoman .com . So she called me last week and said - "Marija this sample is going to Houston, it needs your quilting!"
Even more so if you know that Martha is my dear friend, colleague in science research (but happily retired now) and of course a quilting buddy! We started together about 20 years ago - she getting back to quilting as it started its revival, me a complete novice to the world of quilting, who never even SAW a quilt before I moved to US! What a journey we had and so much more ahead!!

Now back to quilting - it IS such an honor when friend tells you something like that, but it also made me nervous... Do you get nervous when quilting (or sewing) something for someone else? And I mean someone who knows what good work is? Yeah, I know, we are friends, but still I got a bit nervous!
I am sorry I can't show you the WHOLE project done yet - but it will be SOON (by the end of this week, as soon as it is up on the web site and all) - but I will share a peek and the promised tip/advice I thought is worth sharing! :)

For this project of course I went to my #Aurifil stash and picked these two beautiful colors to work with:

Such beautiful colors! See how thin is that sage green spool getting - LOVE that color, it blends with so many fabrics!! (if blending is what you need)

Yeah, 50wt is still my preferred Aurifil to use - I just LOVE how fine yet strong it is!

 However - I am starting to drool over the heavier weights...like 28wt  or even Aurifil floss?? Very different uses for those but projects I see around quilting blogosphere and internet in general are so inspiring!! Here is a good short tip about using 28wt, by Andres of MadTesla . Or how about these beauties made with Aurifil floss by my friend Katarina? Or some embroidery anyone? If you haven't given different thread thicknesses much thought, here is a good short video by Pat Sloan to get you started.

So how about you - do you venture away from what you use the most? If you do, any good advice? :)

OK, OK - I keep getting distracted!! (the story of my life...) Back to quilting!
So - lets be honest - how good are you about cleaning your machine regularly? I used to NOT be as good...There, I said it. But then - I read somewhere this little tip: each time you have to change your bobbin, do a quick clean! 
I tried - I LOVE IT!! I rarely am this good about sticking to some practice, but I do with this one, and I think it makes a HUGE difference!
 But here is my actual tip - I love, love LOVE using PIPE-CLEANERS for this!! Yes - your regular, craft-store pipe-cleaners.

I like to fold one end and form a loop like this and just do a quick swipe around everything.  I also use single end and push through the throat plate:

I even run it by my tension disks above and around the needle if needed. It takes probably 30 seconds to do it all.
Of course - this is NOT going to remove the need for a more detailed cleaning and even the professional one, but it sure makes for a smooth ride and maybe even less frequent troubles?

So with this AND a good thread like Aurifil - I rarely have thread brakes when doing machine quilting. Absolutely NONE for this small project!
However - that doesn't mean I don't get myself in un-necessary trouble! You know how you get into zen of free-motion quilting, you are going and going... and then your machine tells you your bobbin is running low and...what do you do?? Well the right answer would be - before it runs out, I stop at some "good" place in my quilting (good meaning - not very visible, the natural end of a design...). HA!! Yes, that is what good, responsible quilter would do - me? not so much... :(
OK, OK...sometimes I do, but often not. And of course - the karma will then punish me with my bobbin thread running out right in the middle of a VERY visible part or the design!! RIGHT??

So, being as bad as I am, here is what I do to save the day (apart from picking out stitches of course - who wants to do that!)
Here is what happened this time - where the bobbing thread ran out:

So of course you re-load the bobbin to start over.
The thread you see coming OUT of my quilt is the new bobbin thread being pulled to the top of your quilt (you always do that before starting FMQ, right?). To do that, I put my needle down into the stitching several stitches before it ended and pull the bobbin thread on top. Then I do a stay-stitch (or zero length stitch) RIGHT in that spot (to anchor my new stitching) and then continue.

After cutting off the threads later, you really can't see the difference and it looks good! SAVED!! :)

What do you do in this situation? I am sure there is more and even better ways to do this and if you know one, please share!

Happy to say that was the ONLY mishap while quilting Martha's lovely piece and here is a little peek - pattern is called Cherry Orchard, so I quilted some cherries:

There was some straight line quilting too - I am getting to like that!! :)

I promise to share with you the whole project as soon as I can!

Have a lovely Tuesday and week ahead,

#quilting #quiltingtip #Aurifil #sewingmachinecleaning

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