......................................................................................................................................................Finding BEAUTY, JOY and CONTENTMENT in my everyday life.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Refusing to Stress

Reminding myself of these words by Ann Voskamp

Photo from this afternoon's riverside walk, our last day of winter for 2014.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Your Favourite Sliver Use

I have thoroughly enjoyed exploring several ideas using Gutermann Sulky Sliver threads in two of my most recent quilts. Sliver was a new-to-me thread and its beautifully shiny, smooth properties have proved perfect for certain projects. With 200 m/220 yds on each reel, this is a feature thread which goes a long way.

One of you now have a chance to win a selection of five different Sliver threads from those shown above. To enter you need to leave a comment below to let me know how you would like use Sliver thread. So let's have a quick recap of the some of various ways I have used it over the last couple of months - you may well have other ideas which you would like to try ( I think it would be a great feature thread in embroidery too).

- Hand stitching an outline around an existing print.

- Straight line decorative machine stitching.

- Free motion machine stitching/outlining.

- Machine outlining turned appliqué.

- Straight line machine quilting

- Decorative machine quilting and outlining (Opalescent shown in the two photos above).

 - more decorative machine stitch quilting.

Sulky Gutermann Sliver comes in 24 colours. I have only seen the twelve as shown above.

8017 Peacock Blue                      8011 Light Copper
8052 Royal Blue                          8040 Opalescent
8013 Fuchsia                              8020 Multi-Colour Vibrant
8003 Light Gold                          8014 Christmas Red
8007 Gold                                  8019 Green
8001 Silver                                8050 Purple

Sliver is a special thread and needs a little extra care when machine stitching. For best results you need to use a vertical spool pin. Both my new and 29 year old (now broken) machine have a vertical spool pin, designed as an option for bobbin winding. I have successfully sewn with Sliver on both machines. Using longer stitches makes the most of Slivers smooth shiny properties. Lower stitch tension, slower speed and using a metallic or larger size needle such as a 14/90 also assist in achieving best results. I used Guterman's regular Sew All polyester thread on the bobbin. You can learn more on Sulky's website here and the Sulky of America blog here.

If you would like the chance to choose five of the Sliver reels above, leave a comment explaining how you would use Sliver thread - I'll be interested to hear your ideas. A winner will be drawn next week Friday, a week from now. (If you are a no reply blogger, be sure to include your email address with your comment).

* Three weeks ago Gutermann surprised me by generously gifting me with more than one of each of the colours shown above - plenty for my own uses and enough to share too.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Royal Whispers Serenading

 From the day of selecting my mixed swag of favourite bright stash fabrics to the last stitches on the shot taffeta binding two days ago, working on this quilt has given me great pleasure. To the mix of shot taffetas, oriental brocade, organza, polycotton, satin, voile and cottons I added a variety of ribbons, braids and fringed taffeta selvedges.

Various decorative cottons, rayons, metallics and Sliver threads in several colours/thicknesses have added their individual charms through both hand and machine stitching. There are little surprises stitched into this quilt to add fun and interest for the eyes. The Sulky Gutermann Sliver thread in silver has ended up being the star thread and also the one chosen for the soft straight line echo quilting. 

Every fabric, trim, thread and even the batting had to pass my 'softness' test to be included. If I didn't love it, I didn't include it. This quilt, named Royal Whispers, has been a special project made during a very difficult season, designed to bring delight my heart, my fingers and my eyes, the first quilt made just for me.

Miss N bashfully holding Royal Whispers for a photo shoot this morning

This quilt makes me happy every time I catch a glimpse of it. The sparkle, sheen and colours beckon me to reach out and touch the various fabrics and gently wrap myself in it.

Sharing at Fabric Tuesday and Fabric Frenzy Friday.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Christmas in August?

Stitch by stitch this Christmas panel has come to life under the needle of my machine. Choosing threads of matching colours and some special highlight threads, working out which shapes to outline and which to leave - I spent much more time than I had originally anticipated on this panel.

With many different colours and fine details to stitch, there were hundreds of threads to knot and bury......

Some tips for quilting a panel which I learnt along the way include sewing at very slow speeds, decreasing stitch length where curves are involved and minimising presser foot tension to give a little more wriggle room for smoother curves. I had never used a presser foot knee lifter until my new machine arrived two weeks ago. The knee lifter proved to be extremely helpful while stitching this panel due to the constant changes in sewing direction. A walking foot/dual feed system works great for sewing long straight lines/borders, keeping top and lower fabrics in alignment.

Choosing a presser foot with maximum visibility made it much easier to see and follow the lines. I took opportunity to try out three suitable decorative stitches too. It really was quite a perfect little project to learn more about my new machine.

Sulky/Gutermann Sliver thread* proved to be the perfect feature thread. I used small amounts of silver Sliver in several places and outlined the tree topper stars in dark gold Sliver.

Longer stitches make the most of Slivers sparkle qualities. A little care with tension is needed and it's advised to use a vertical spindle holder. Both my new and old (broken) machines have a vertical holder, designed for use in winding the bobbin without needing to unthread the machine.

Sulky Sliver in Opalescent was the perfect choice for all the gorgeous snowflakes and snowmen. It very difficult to try and capture the opal-sparkle-reflective qualities of this thread in photos. It's beautifully subtle yet pearly shiny at the same time. 

Due to Opalescent's subtle visual qualities last night I ended up using the machine's lock stitch for many of the snowflakes - much quicker than knotting and burying all those hard to see, slippery tails.

Yes, it was a little hard to part with this one. This morning I finished attaching a hanging sleeve.....

and gently bundled it up with the Owl panel quilt. They are now both safely on their return journey to Creative Sewing Centre in Sydney where customers may enjoy their many colours and beautiful little sparkles.

* Thank you to Gutermann who provided me with the Sliver threads as I couldn't source them locally.

Sharing at WIP Wednesday.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Through The Lens

Our annual Home Educators Sports Day was held on Monday. Unfortunately three of our children were unwell with a feverish virus and sadly had to miss out. Those who did attend on this sunny winter day had a wonderful time catching up with friends and enjoying a range of track and field events. Each child was awarded a certificate at the end of the day with a sticker for each event they participated in.

The stillness of early morning brings quiet joys for those who watch carefully.

The Owl quilt panel is now completed and work is underway on a smaller Christmas panel (more photos soon). I am thoroughly enjoying the detailed stitching using my new machine, often sewing in small snatches throughout the day from the side table where the machine now rests, rather than waiting for a cleared homeschool/dining table space. 

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