All About Aurifil, Part 3

Welcome to the third installment of our All About Aurifil series. Today we are going to learn about some of Aurifil’s new and/or specialty threads: 80wt, Cotton Floss, and Wool. But first, a continuation of our threaducation! Let’s talk about mercerized and long staple cotton. These two things go hand-in-hand so it makes sense to discuss them in the same conversation. Let’s get started!

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All About Aurifil, Part 2

Welcome to the second installment of our All About Aurifil series! We had so much fun last week and loved seeing all of your responses. We’d like to continue your “threaducation” with some information about “Indanthren” and “Reactive” colors as well as our 40wt & 50wt threads. Let’s turn attention once again to our Technical Creative Specialist, Kristi, for All About Aurifil!

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All About Aurifil, Part 1

In honor of Aurifil USA’s 10th Anniversary (and of National Sewing Month) we are pleased to introduce a brand new brochure, chock full of helpful thread info accompanied by some stunning thread eye candy. ❤ We thought the best way to present it, in all of its lovely glory, would be to launch a mini series, dedicated to a bit of thread education. So, settle in and turn your attention to our Creative Technical Creative  Specialist, Kristi, for All About Aurifil!

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SCHMETZ Needles, Part 1

Using the right needle in your sewing and quilting is just as important as using the right thread. The two are gorgeously intertwined, so to give you the best information possible, we went straight to the source. Today we’re thrilled to share the first in a two-part guest series by Rhonda Pierce of SCHMETZ Needles.  Thank you, Rhonda!

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You acquired an amazing collection of fabrics for a quilt you have been itching to start.  You selected beautiful Aurifil thread.  Your sewing machine is newly cleaned.  Now… what needle should you use?  SCHMETZ of course!  No other needle can match the quality and variety of needle types and sizes.  Let’s review specific needle types, because even though SCHMETZ manufacturers 17 different needle types for home sewing, my travels and conversations with quilters have taught me that there are really five SCHMETZ needles frequently loved by quilters.

What’s YOUR Favorite Needle?

What’s YOUR Favorite Needle?

  • Topstitch and Metallic:  Needles with an extra-long eye.  This is important to know because there is less friction on the thread as it passes through the eye.  Less friction means less thread breakage or shredding.
  • Microtex:    When precision stitches are a must!  This needle has a very slim acute point that works well with all cottons and especially batiks.  Use the Microtex for applique, piecing and quilting.
  • Quilting:  Just as the name suggests, use this needle for piecing and quilting.  The Quilting needle has a special taper designed for easier fabric penetration and elimination of skipped stitches.
  • Jeans/Denim: Surprised to see this?  Well for all those raggy quilts made from flannel this is a great choice, because the Jeans needle has a reinforced blade to penetrate through heavier fabrics with less needle deflection.
  • Universal:  This work horse needle does it all and very well, but many times one of the above needle types will result in a more precise stitch.  With SCHMETZ, you have options!
The Dynamic Duo! SCHMETZ Microtex 70/10 & Aurifil 50 wt

The Dynamic Duo! SCHMETZ Microtex 70/10 & Aurifil 50 wt

After determining the needle type, decide on the needle size.  My rule of thumb is the 40/80 rule.  When using a 40wt thread use a  80/12 needle.  For a finer thread, use a smaller needle size.  If using a heavier thread, use a 90/14 or larger needle.  Sometimes experimentation is needed because fabrics have different weights and finishes.  My favorite needle for piecing is SCHMETZ Microtex 80/12.  Last year I ran into a situation where the needle pushed the fabric into the throat plate.  How odd!  I was using the Aurifil 50wt Quilting & Embroidery thread.  I tried another Microtex 80/12 and the same thing happened.  I then tried a Microtex 70/10 and … Voilà!  The fabric and machine loved this needle and thread combination… like sewing through butter.  Just changing the needle size made a huge difference in my sewing experience.

Next time you buy Aurifil thread from your favorite quilt shop, remember to pick up a couple packs of SCHMETZ needles.  If you are like me, there is nothing more irritating than being in the sewing groove at 2AM and not having the right needle.

For more information visit www.SCHMETZneedles.com.  Check out the videos, especially videos 3, 4 and 5 on how to read the needle package, needle selection and clues to change the needle.  While on the site download the SCHMETZ Color Chart for easier needle identification by type and size.  iPhone users can download the free SCHMETZ App.  The Android SCHMETZ App is expected soon.

Sew SCHMETZ!
— Rhonda

To view Part 2 of this series, please click here 
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RP15-125-sendRhonda Pierce has a dream job . . . teaching sewing and quilting enthusiasts about the most important 2” piece of steel in the sewing machine – the SCHMETZ needle.  As  spokesperson for www.SCHMETZneedles.com and Marketing Director for Euro-notions, Rhonda enjoys sharing needle knowledge in classrooms and sewing shows throughout North America.  She is delighted with the ingenuity and remarkable creations that sewing enthusiasts share.  Next time you see Rhonda with her SCHMETZ “Super” Needle, it’s 17” tall, tell her which SCHMETZ needle is your favorite.

SCHMETZ online:
WebsiteBlog — FacebookPinterestYouTubeInspired to Sew

Thread Matters: Binding with a Touch (Part 2)

We’re thrilled to welcome Aggy Burczyk back to the blog for

Binding with a Touch (Part 2) – Beautifying Your Binding.

Thanks so much, Aggy!
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And here we are again! As I had promised in my last post, here is the second part of “Binding with a Touch”.

I would like to show you another “beautifying” method – but also another way of how to finish your binding when your day just does not have enough hours to finish a project and binding by hand will just not fit into your time frame.

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First the “beautifying” part.

Prepare a classic quilter’s 2.5 inch binding (and please let me know in case some of you would like a little tutorial on this – I am just pretending everyone knows) and attach it with a 1/4″ seam allowance to the quilt.

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And then use pins… a lot of pins (!) – the bigger your quilt, the more pins you will need!

PINS: Let me put a little interlude into this blog. I am VERY picky about the pins I use for quilting – there is a reason for certain pins. The length of the pin, but most of all the thickness of the pin will determine it’s use. In the picture you can see the different kinds I use. From left to right:

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  • classic, blue flower-head pins with a good grip, a little shorter than the yellow ones, but MUCH thinner, absolutely great for pinning seam intersections that have to match perfectly when piecing
  • classic, yellow flower-head pins with a good grip, very long, rather fine – a must-have for every quilter and great for almost any piecing and pinning need
  • generic, rather short pins with a “button”head, giving a great grip for pulling out while sewing, a little shorter and thicker than the yellow flower-head pins, good for a lot of piecing situations
  • very sturdy (thick) and long pins I use for pinning fabric to the leaders on my longarm
  • special, very fine and very short pins for appliqué work

Let’s get back to the binding. For this method put the pins (I used yellow flower-head pins this time) from the front into the ditch between the quilt and the binding. You will be stitching from the front, therefore the tip of the pin has to be towards the left, pinning clockwise and starting at the top left corner.

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On the back of the quilt the binding will be wider and the pin will show a good ⅛“ away from the border of the binding. The angles will fold smoothly and in a natural way, but in case you feel more comfortable, do use an additional pin here.

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Now you have to stitch a straight decorative line from the front. Yes, straight! Don’t worry; this is very, very easy using a foot with a guide blade in the middle that will glide along in the ditch. On my Bernina 790 I used the edgestitch foot # 10C.

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Since this foot has a wide opening, I was able to use one of the many decorative stitches of the machine – “beautifying” and finishing the binding at the same time! How cool is that!

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When it comes to the corners – don’t worry. Just lift the middle guide blade a bit and sew right up to the corner of the binding. With needle position down, lift the presser foot, turn your work, lower the presser foot and on you go. I prefer to stitch two or three straight stitches to the corner and away from the corner. Using a decorative stitch, this just looks much cleaner.

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This is the beautiful outcome from the front and from the back:

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And last not least just one more little tip in case you cannot or do not want to use a decorative stitch. Just use a straight stitch instead.

Two things to watch:

  1. Look at the tip of the guide blade when sewing – don’t look at the needle! You will have a wonderful straight stitching line.
  2. Push the guide blade slightly against the binding so the ditch is pushed open. The stitch line will vanish completely, when the binding moves back into position.

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For this method I would recommend two thread types:

  •  Aurifil 50wt in a matching color
  •  Aurifil’s clear invisible monofilament thread for light fabrics or the smoke invisible monofilament thread for darker fabrics

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In case you are using the monofilament, use normal cotton 50wt in the bobbin and do not forget to lower the top tension to prevent the monofilament from stretching while sewing.

For further tips on this thread type have a look here.

There is just one more thing to add:

Thread matters! 

Con un caro CIAO e a presto,
Aggy

Thread Matters: Binding with a Touch

Aurifil is thrilled to introduce a once a month guest post by Aggy Burczyk! Aggy knows her way around a machine as a technical long arm expert for Bernina, she loves Aurifil threads and is also a talented quilter and designer. Aggy is one busy person! There is so much to know about the different Aurifil thread weights and Aggy is going to share her tips and tricks on how to use your Aurifil threads correctly and in ways that you may not have used them before. Please join us in welcoming Aggy!

Thread Matters!

Who would doubt that thread matters?
Often we just forget how MUCH thread can really influence our designs and how much the right thread can bring a touch of perfection to our little (or big) projects. This is equally valid for thread weight and thread color.

Welcome to the first issue of Aurifil’s new blog “Thread Matters” – I am beyond thrilled that I was asked to participate in this new adventure, trying to give to all present and future Aurifil lovers a variety of information around this wonderful thread: tips & tricks to improve your work.

“Binding with a Touch Part 1 – Beautifying your binding ” is the first little project I would like to share with you. Yes, part 1(!) – there is so much to tell, that it needs more than one blog issue to cover it all!
Did you ever think of “beautifying” your binding? Why not personalize the binding, especially when using a solid or a tone on tone fabric? Our sewing machines have many, many beautiful stitches we hardly use. This is a good opportunity to combine different thread weights and special embroidery stitches to show off in the binding.

For the first beautified binding I used an Aurifil cotton 28 wt, color 2810 with a 90/14 top stitch needle for the embroidery part and a fabric-matching Aurifil cotton 50wt, color 1100 with a 80/12 top stitch needle to attach the binding.

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I cut standard 2,5” strips, joined them, folded and ironed well in half wrong sides together and applied the embroidery to the folded strip, knowing that for the closure I would have to be a little bit more creative than usual.

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For the embroidery I used a lovely stitch from my Bernina 550 and let the strip flow along the 5/8” marking on the stitch plate. Taking care to have the wrong side of the embroidery up, I used a fabric-matching pink Aurifil 50wt and a 1⁄4” foot (#37) to attach the binding to my little sample piece.

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I knew I did not want to join the ends of the binding with just a straight seam, which would have ment to have to cope with a lot of unhappy bulk in that spot and thought the best way would be to hide the joining ends in one of the corners. The necessary folding for this came very close to origami, but turned out to be perfect for this purpose.

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The rest was then a piece of cake, because I just LOVE finishing my bindings by hand with an invisible whip stitch, this time using again the matching pink Aurifil 50wt cotton.

Yes, I cannot deny it – to some it is almost as bad as naming “Voldemort”, but I love the “H” word. But what if I came up with an idea for all of you who would like to have the “Non-H” alternative? So, let’s start from the beginning with new colors and using the Bernina flat felled foot (#71) to attach the binding.

This time I used a variegated Aurifil cotton 28 wt, color 4663 with a 90/14 top stitch needle for the embroidery part and a fabric-matching turquoise Aurifil cotton 50wt, color 5006 with a 80/12 top stitch needle to attach the binding. I decided to do the embroidery on a simple fabric layer in order to be able to do the standard binding closure. It needed some trials to find the right measures and positioning. To cut a long story short, here is what I did for a perfect outcome: I cut again 2,5” strips, joined them on the diagonal, folded and ironed well in half and applied some iron on light stabilizer (Pellon light, but I guess any other brand will do) to the wrong side of one half.

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This time I decided to use the seam guide attached to the back of the foot in order to be able to sew a perfect straight line in the middle of the stabilizer.

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As anticipated, the fabric shrank a little on the embroidered half. Since anyhow I needed a max. 2” strip for the flat felled foot (#71) I was going to use to attach the binding, I simply trimmed the folded binding to a perfect 1”.

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Now to the beauty of the BERNINA flat felled foot. I brought my needle completely to the left (-5 position) and attached the binding with the non embroidered side up with a perfect 1⁄4”.

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I closed the binding as usually on a diagonal without a binding tool, but you may want to use one if you feel safer. I then positioned the needle one position to the right (now -4) and attached the binding from the back with the help of the guide of this special foot. It magically always works.

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An excellent description of this Flat Fell Foot method was written by Lisa Yarost from A Woman A Day .

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You will get a perfect binding without the “H” word, just be aware that you should use binding strips not wider than 2” – 2 1⁄4 “.

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Enjoy some of your own beautified bindings, be creative and try your own Aurifil thread weight and motif combinations for special occasions (a new baby, kitchen utensils … ) and always remember …

Thread matters! Un abbraccio Aggy