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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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WainwrightAL #3: Basting Progress.

WainwrightAL #3: Basting Progress.

While away from home, I’ve been basting away on my Wainwright–yay for portability!

Wainwright QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

The cool thing about it being basted is that it’s ready to go anywhere.

Last week I mentioned my palette for this QAL project, but here’s a better look. I’m using mostly greys and darker fabrics. I have added in some Kona solids, but I also have fabric from my botanics, euclid and gleaned collections as well as a print from Erin Dollar’s Arroyo collection. As I go, I might decide to add and/or subtract. That’s the beauty of it–you can see how things are looking and make adjustments as needed.

Wainwright QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

A note about cutting and arranging your pieces and templates. As noted in the pattern and in Week 1, the fabric ratio to keep in mind is that 1 square of appliqué fabric can yield 2 blocks. This means you’ll want to set aside 2 background blocks for each set of appliqué shapes that you cut. Personally, I find it helpful to grab 2 background fabrics when I grab 1 appliqué fabric to take to the ironing board to fold and press at the same time. This way I know I’m keeping my ratio in check. Of course, if I decide a background isn’t working, I may prep an extra or two later, but in general, I think this is a good way to start.

Wainwright QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

If you take a look at the cutting template, there are 3 (solid) cutting lines, and (dashed) lines to show how to align the template to your block. Make sure to align along folds and raw edges as noted. Once you cut the appliqué (your top shape) along the cutting lines, you will have 3 sections (that nest) to place onto your backgrounds. Take note that the small circular corner pieces don’t need to be used. They’re tiny.

Wainwright QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

The great thing about this stage is that you can really see how things will shape up. I like to cut things up and lay them out as I go so I can see how my fabric choices and shape mixing is working out. We have an 1/8″ seam allowance, so just keep in mind that there will be a little more space around your shapes as you stitch them down. For example, the black appliqué in the above photo (bottom, left) is actually 2 shapes with a cut line separating them–although it looks like one right now. The shapes match up before being stitched, but a gap between them will appear after each side is appliquéd. You can see this a bit better in my first version (below). The first few rows have already been appliquéd, and so you can see that gap appearing between the neighboring shapes.

Wainwright QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

Work in the way that feels good to you! For me, I like cutting and laying things out so I have a good idea, but if you prefer to cut and arrange in smaller sections, by all means do it! This is the beauty of appliqué, you can see how something is coming along before even sewing it together. You can see that I haven’t pinned anything down yet. Since I’m auditioning different shapes and fabric combinations, I keep things loose. Once I decide I like a combination, I pin them down with the appliqué pins, and then do my basting.

Wainwright QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

If you want to join in and need a copy of the pattern, you can find it here.

Otherwise, you are all posting some beautiful starts!

Tips:

+ Sometimes using a longer needle works well for basting. Because of basting not needing to be a super-short stitch, the longer needle can help you stitch along more quickly and easily.

+ Machine baste or hand baste? Both work, but I’m personally more of a fan of hand basting for a few reasons. One, it’s portable. Two, once you get comfortable doing it, I find it to be faster and much easier than navigating tricky shapes on the machine. Three, it’s more gentle on the fabric. If you are machine basting, make sure to use a fresh (sharp) needle. Four, hand basting is way easier to remove than machine basting.

+ Using a fun basting thread is just that–fun! I pretty much always use my Aurifil 1104 for basting–except for when my fabrics match 1104–which happens! I do love that color.

+ Basting stitches are temporary, so you do not need to knot them. Leave thread tails loose and on the top side of your work. This way you know exactly where they are when you’re doing your appliqué stitches later.

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WainwrightAL #2: Tool Updates and Travel.

WainwrightAL #2: Tool Updates and Travel.

appliqué supplies . carolyn friedlander

We’re moving along with week two! I’m seeing some great starts from many of you on instagram, and I’m moving along (quite literally) at QuiltCon in Pasadena. Since this is a traveling week for me and because handwork is super portable, I thought it’d be fun to put a slight travel twist on things. In addition to going over some of my favorite appliqué supplies, I’ll be making note of some of my favorite travel-friendly tips as well!

It’s been a little while since I’ve updated my appliqué tools-of-the-trade post, and really, not much has changed. Those are all still my favorite things, but I do have some updates to add in to the mix.

wainwright quilt appliqué supplies . carolyn friedlander

First, clover clips! With many of my appliqué designs being folded and cut multiple layers at a time, these little clips are super handy for holding everything together. There’s even a new set with a thinner profile, which is just perfect.

I also have an update with the thread conditioner. I’ve always liked it, but I’ve recently decided that it makes a bigger difference than I was maybe willing to admit. Full disclosure, I’d mostly gotten lazy and wasn’t using it as much in recent years. I always would have it with me, and I’d use it occasionally, but I’d generally just fallen out of the habit of using it. It’s an extra step–not a hard step, at all–but definitely a step that is easy to skip when you’re wanting to cruise through a project. When I was making my first Wainwright, I was having issues and decided to give it a try. Immediately I noticed a huge difference. It’s not that I didn’t notice a difference before, but I think that because I basically made Wainwright in a straight-shot marathon, it was much more noticeable how much of a difference it made. It makes it glide through the fabric much more easily. Without it, the thread feels like it’s dragging, not in a super obvious way, but definitely in an obvious way if you’re really in tune to the process.

wainwright quilt appliqué supplies . carolyn friedlander

Another big update is thread! Since my last appliqué supply post, some magical thread things have happened. Aurifil released their 80wt cotton thread, and it is my FAVORITE thread to use for hand appliqué. I still use their 50wt cotton to baste, but 80wt is the only thing I use for the appliqué itself.

wainwright quilt appliqué supplies . carolyn friedlander

And, I’m delighted to have my own appliqué thread set which I put together to cover pretty much all of the major colors you’ll need–or that was my goal anyway. (And I have some in the shop now too.)

Carolyn Friedlander Aurifil 80wt Thread Appliqué

One more new discovery that isn’t pictured is my new Daylight Slimline light. I’ll have to take some good pics once I get my handwork set-up back in order. I started seeing these lights at QuiltCon last year, and I was very intrigued. Unlike most of the sewing lights, they look really sleek. Plus they offer a wide bar of light that you can adjust in all kinds of ways. Eventually, I picked one up, and it sat in the box while I was making my first Wainwright. About halfway in, I realized that I wasn’t seeing things well, and so I opened the box and was immediately kicking myself for not having done so sooner. It is a game changer. It perfectly lit up my project and was easy to orient so that there were no shadows on my work–which was the issue I’d been having with my other lights. Now, I’m a massive convert. It’s worth the investment.

appliqué supplies . carolyn friedlander

To recap, you can read this post about my favorite appliqué supplies here while keeping in mind the updates mentioned above.

+ Thread for project (such as Aurifil Cotton 50wt for basting and Aurifil Cotton 80wt for appliqué)

+ Appliqué needles (such as Clover Gold Eye Appliqué Needles No. 10)

+ Appliqué pins (such as Clover Appliqué Size 12)

+ Large fabric scissors (such as Kai 7230 9″ tailoring shears, or these other favorites)

+ Small fabric scissors (such as Kai N5100 4″ scissors)

+ Removable marking tool (such as Pilot Frixion pen–always test on fabric before using)

+ Seam gauge (such as Dritz Measuring Gauge)

+ Iron

+ Heavy paper or template plastic (for copying template)

+ Thread Conditioner (such as Thread Heaven or beeswax)

Optional supplies: Thimble (I like the adhesive leather pads), needle threader

Finally, here’s a look at the fabrics that I’ve pulled…

carolyn friedlander wainwright quilt along

I’m wanting to go grey…so we’ll see! I think I’ll probably add in some solids too. Maybe.

carolyn friedlander wainwright quilt along

Tips:

+ Fabric tip – Solids vs Prints in appliqué: In general, solids hide less and prints hide more. If you’re new to appliqué, using a print–even a subtle one–can be a little more forgiving than a solid. Of course, if you’re most excited about solids and you’re a newbie, don’t let me stop you!

+ I always travel with my Nest Egg tote, the very first one I made in fact. It’s still going strong, and I really like how I can zip it up and throw it into my backpack. While on the plane, I take it out, and open it up on my tray table and work away.

nest egg tote and supplies . carolyn friedlander

+ Also handy when traveling is a fold-up thread catcher. The one I use was a gift, but I put together a quick tutorial for you that will be coming out tomorrow. Stay tuned…

nest egg tote and supplies . carolyn friedlander

+ The Aurifil smaller spools are my preferred travel-handwork thread, and the smaller version of the Petal Pouch by Noodlehead fits them perfectly.

Carolyn Friedlander Aurifil 80wt Thread Appliqué

+ This tip skips ahead a little bit, but I know that many of you have already started your appliquéing, and so I hope it will be helpful. Inner points in appliqué can be tricky to turn when you’re just starting out. This is easily the step/shape I demonstrate most in workshops, and while it is helpful to see it in action, it’s also a case of practice really being the key to making it easier. I promise! This is also why I like designs like this, because they can give you great practice in tackling such shapes. After doing several of these, you’ll no doubt see improvement. It is helpful to see this step in action, and so I’ll highlight my Appliqué Quilt Top class on Creative Bug–which you can find here. This block has many tricky inner points, which makes it a great one to watch for seeing how to do it. Hope that helps!

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