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Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss.

I have some fun news–I’m very happy to announce a collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss!

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

To start, I never imagined how exciting thread conditioner could be. For the last several years, I’ve used Thread Heaven–a silicone based thread conditioner, which–for the record–is very nice. If you’re using Thread Heaven and you’re happy with it, that’s totally great.

But as many of you might know, the owners of Thread Heaven have retired, and they decided not to sell their special recipe. A pot of Thread Heaven is one of those supplies that I feel like takes decades to run out of, and so I wasn’t initially concerned about running out. But as an increasing number of students began to express panic over the situation and then ask me about alternatives, it seemed reasonable to keep my eyes open for other options.

It was somewhat serendipitous when Jenn of Sew Fine Thread Gloss reached out to me about her Thread Conditioner. In general I’m very hesitant to take samples of products that I haven’t tried before. There’s nothing worse than having to judge a product when there’s even a speck of obligation, and that was definitely not going to be the case here.

Harriot Hand Sewing . Carolyn Friedlander

With Jenn’s product, I was really curious to try it. She sent me a few of her scents, and at first, I wasn’t sure why I’d want my project to have a smell to it (which by the way, they don’t)…but, I’ve since changed my mind on that, which I’ll get back to in a minute.

To be very honest, the first time using it felt a little weird. After using a silicone-based conditioner for so long, the beeswax felt clunky and full of drag. It even made a different sound going through the fabric. (I know, I’m a total nerd and do too much handwork that I’m breaking down the sound of it.) Determined to give it a fair shake, I kept going and it quickly started to change my mind. I was doing this super-lame thing of alternating Thread Heaven and Sew Fine each time I changed thread, and before too long I realized that I was preferring the Sew Fine.

There’s a heartiness to it that seems to result in fewer knots than with the Thread Heaven. While I was starting to prefer that, I was also learning to adjust my preferences a bit. When using Thread Heaven, I would usually thread my needle first and then use a Quilter’s Knot before applying the conditioner. With Sew Fine, I switch it up. I wax my thread first, then thread my needle before making a knot by way of a Garment Knot instead. Of course, this is what I find to work well for me, but feel free to try different things to get the mix that works best for you!

Harriot Hand Sewing . Carolyn Friedlander

As for the scents, I quickly started to love them. Jenn formulates everything to a respectable strength that is gentle, fun and not overpowering. I’m pretty sensitive to smell, and so I appreciate her formulation.

Harriot Hand Sewing . Carolyn Friedlander

In addition to the smell being quite pleasant, I discovered that there was something motivating about changing the scent as you move along with your project. I’ve done a lot of handwork projects over the last 10 months, and it has totally amazed me how refreshing it can be to swap out the scent on a project as you go. Like when I was working on Hunt, appliquéing through the various colors kept it visually engaging, but the scent changes that I made along the way added a whole new sensory to the experience. Even now, I have a real debate with myself everytime I pull out some handwork, because I need to decide what scent mood I want to be in while working on the project.

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

All of this is very nerdy, but if you’re like me, it’s these little details that make sewing such a captivating experience.

In addition to all of that, Sew Fine Thread Gloss is made with locally sourced beeswax that has NOT been chemically processed. It is handmade in small batches just outside Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The light amber color is attributed to this wax being very natural and only one step away from the hive, with absolutely no bleaching or other additives. The beeswax is filtered just once to separate it from the honey and from any leftover hive particles–which I just love.

Plus, the woman behind Sew Fine, Jenn McMillan cares deeply about her product and has been a total delight to work with.

On the collaboration! Together, Jenn and I came up with 3 new scents–each of which is a little different, but all of which are clean smelling and enjoyable to use.

First up is Sencha.

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

To say that I’m a green tea fan is kind of an understatement. (I’m drinking green tea as I write this!) My strong love for it made scents related to it top of my mind.

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

The Sencha blend has a green tea focus, but it also has hints (to me) of gardenia or even orange blossoms. (This is probably why I’m so drawn to it!) The result is super fresh and very verdant.

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

I should add that it’s quite hard to describe a scent. After having friends and family smell many samples over the last few months, I know that we each seem to connect with smell in our own ways. It’s very interesting.

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

The labels were also really fun. Jenn had the idea of throwing some of my fabric designs on there, which I just love. Plus, it was fun to think about which prints might go well with which scents.

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

Next up is Citrus & Sage. It’s pretty dreamy and very bright smelling.

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

I’d say that the citrus-ness comes forward first, but then there’s a very mild herbaceous-ness that grounds it a bit. This one might be the one that seems to have piqued the interests most of my friends and family who have been sniffing all of my samples.

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

The third scent in our collaboration is Tea Flower, which I know…another tea-related scent, but I couldn’t help myself. It’s so good and quite different from Sencha.

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

This guy is a crisp and complex blend featuring a fresh aroma of green tea with long-lasting sweet and citrusy middle notes. In comparing Tea Flower and Sencha, Tea Flower (to me) has more of a sweet, floral quality, whereas Sencha is more verdant and almost grassy.

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

I’d say that all of the scents have a nice cleanness feel to them. Jenn does such a good job formulating the scents so they do not overpower. I find the level of scent to be just right.

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

While all 3 of these new, collaborative scents are in the shop (individually and as a set), I also thought it would be nice to offer up Jenn’s Natural gloss. I have grown to love using scented thread conditioner, but I also completely understand that that may not be the case for everyone or for every project. Natural has no additional fragrances added, and the familiar scent of beeswax and honey is delicate and modest.

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

SO, you can nab some of this in my shop too!

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

Yay, yay!

On a shipping note, if you buy 3 or more tins (or the set) I’m offering a little bonus of free domestic shipping and discounted international shipping.

It was so much fun working with Jenn on this project. It’s honestly my favorite conditioner to use, and I find that it makes such a big difference. My hope is that you will enjoy using it too.

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

Oh, and while putting together this post, I realized how much I like nerding out over thread. (Ok, maybe not new news…) And so I’ve created a follow-up post for tomorrow with some thread tips and tricks for you. Stay tuned!

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

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Cutting Up My Kona Card.

I have been planning on cutting up my Kona card for a while now. It has been a few years since cutting up an older Kona card, and my lack of a system for that one (they were all thrown into a box) plus the addition of many new colors has made working with it an ongoing mess.

Cutting Up My Kona Card . Carolyn Friedlander

Earlier this year, I did a rough poll to see how others are organizing their color cards, and the answers were really helpful! I recapped some of those different styles and approaches in this newsletter if you’d like to see.

The systems I saw ranged wildly in terms of additional materials required, time investment to set up and resulting usability. I love being organized, and I love how being organized can help you work more efficiently, but it’s also important to weigh the options.

For me, I prefer a direction that requires the least amount of upfront time and extra materials to set up, with the most appropriate level of usability in the end. Not only am I often picking swatches to coordinate with collections and to use for projects, but I also like seeing all of the colors as a whole. Because of that, I like the idea of having a way to see all of the colors together, as well as to work with them individually. With two color cards, and I knew that I could keep one intact and I could cut the other one up. With just 1 card, it might be better to go in a different direction, maybe one like @modernhandcraft installed, which is impressive, but that would also require a lot of time and equipment to set up, as well as the physical space to put it. I’m not mad at a system that I can fold up and put away.

Instead, I was drawn toward @houseonhillroad’s approach which uses a special box to store the swatches. I think her box is one for storing embroidery floss that you could find at a craft store, but I also heard of others using tackle boxes and other things similar.

To be honest, all of this was fantasy thinking, because projects like these aren’t usually my favorite. They can be easy for me to dream about but not anything I’m quick to act on. There are too many other things I’d rather be doing and making! However, the stars aligned and I happened to find the perfect slotted container at the Dollar Store, when I was there rooting around for something else. I picked it up hoping it would be about the right size, and it turns out that it totally was! Yay! Plus, it was only $1. You can’t beat that.

Cutting Up My Kona Card . Carolyn Friedlander

There were many good tips that I learned from others. For one, I numbered the back of each of my swatches as well as their position on the uncut card. This way, I can easily find what I’m looking for AND put it back when I’m done with it.

Cutting Up My Kona Card . Carolyn Friedlander

It really helps to cut the swatches to the same size. This was made easier by the fact that the newest Kona color card has standard sizes for the colors. Because of the layouts on some of the older cards, the swatches were different sizes. Having them all the same size makes everything easier to work with, and it makes them stack up so nicely.

Cutting Up My Kona Card . Carolyn Friedlander

This new system is already paying off in terms of time, mess and general convenience. Even though it took me a few hours to cut up and number the card and swatches, I’ve easily made that up in how easy it is to work with. I would totally make myself do this again with the release of a newer color card. Now having done it, I know how much easier it has made everything. It might not have been at the top of my list before, but it will be higher on the list moving forward.

Cutting Up My Kona Card . Carolyn Friedlander

I should note that I tried punching holes into a couple of the swatches. Also while at the Dollar Store, I nabbed some book rings, and I thought it could be nice to put the colors for certain projects into their own ring while I was working with them. I quickly discovered that you’d need either a stronger hole punch, a drill and/or more physical strength than I was willing and able to put into it, so I abandoned that direction after a couple of failed attempts. If I feel inspired, I can bust out my drill and add some holes in the future. For now, all is great.

Cutting Up My Kona Card . Carolyn Friedlander

You can find a Kona color card on the google or at shops like ilovefabric and plenty of others. Just make sure to get the latest card with all 340 colors, and you’ll be set.

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Quick Thread Catcher Tutorial.

quick thread catcher tutorial . carolyn friedlander

Yesterday I mentioned that I liked traveling with a little thread catcher, and so today I’m posting a quick thread catcher tutorial. This is based on one given to me by the sweet owners of the Janie Lou quilt shop in St Louis, Missouri. What I really like about it is that it folds up nice and flat, which makes it easy to bring with me anywhere. Plus, it’s silly how quick and easy it is to put together. I’ll be making many more of these for my sewing buds…

Materials:

+ Exterior Fabric – cut to 8 1/2″ x 17 1/2″

+ Lining Fabric – cut to 8 1/2″ x 17 1/2″

+ (optional) Interfacing – cut to 8 1/2″ x 17 1/2″ applied to Exterior.

Fabric/Interfacing Note: Neither of the thread catchers shown in this tutorial are interfaced. The one that I was given (above) has a sturdier canvas on the exterior. It’s nice. The one (outlined below) in this tutorial is made from un-interfaced quilting cotton for both the exterior and lining. I was mostly curious to see how it would turn out, and it’s surprisingly structured! I’m very pleased with it and will totally do it this way again. But of course, if you like interfacing, you can always incorporate it into your project.

All seam allowances are 1/4″. While I’m using my serger in this tutorial, you can just as well use your sewing machine. All raw edges will be enclosed, except where noted below.

Thread Catcher Tutorial . Carolyn Friedlander

Fold in half (RIGHT sides TOGETHER) so that short edges are aligned. In the photo below, my short sides are at the top, and the fold is on the bottom. Do this and the following for both the exterior and lining panels.

Thread Catcher Tutorial . Carolyn Friedlander

Pin (if desired) and stitch along the sides.

Thread Catcher Tutorial . Carolyn Friedlander

Thread Catcher Tutorial . Carolyn Friedlander

Create a boxed corner by pinching side seam to bottom fold on each side.

Thread Catcher Tutorial . Carolyn Friedlander

Mark a line 1 3/4″ from pointed edge. Stitch along this line.

Thread Catcher Tutorial . Carolyn Friedlander

Thread Catcher Tutorial . Carolyn Friedlander

Turn exterior (RIGHT side OUT).

Thread Catcher Tutorial . Carolyn Friedlander

Place lining inside exterior, aligning side seams. Pin in place (if desired). Tip: Alternate the direction of the side seams when you match them up. This will make things less-bulky.

Thread Catcher Tutorial . Carolyn Friedlander

Thread Catcher Tutorial . Carolyn Friedlander

Stitch along top edge. A serger will finish this edge as you stitch, but if you’re using a sewing machine, you can use a zigzag stitch to finish it. Or, if you want to bind it, you can totally do that too, but since the top is folded, it isn’t super critical.

Thread Catcher Tutorial . Carolyn Friedlander

Fold the top down a couple of times, and you’re good to go!

Thread Catcher Tutorial . Carolyn Friedlander

Thread Catcher Tutorial . Carolyn Friedlander

I hope you enjoy yours as much as I’ve enjoyed mine!

Thread Catcher Tutorial . Carolyn Friedlander

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