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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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Kai Scissors in the Shop and a Look at My Favorite Scissors.

Kai 7230 Scissors

In all of my appliqué classes, we start with a little tool talk. I’m not one to push too many tools, but in cases where it’s important, I do. With handwork, this is especially true, because you can literally feel the impact of everything that you are using.

Kai 7000 series scissors

While scissors are essential when sewing, they are especially critical with appliqué–or at least in how I do a lot of my appliqué since it often involves cutting multiple layers of intricate shapes at once. It’s in cases like this where you really notice which tools are working and which ones aren’t.

It wasn’t until I was demo-ing at an event when my previous scissors failed in front of a class. That was embarrassing! At home, it can be easy to write things off as not a huge deal, but when you’re showing someone else how to do something, it’s suddenly very clear when something isn’t working. My scissors weren’t cutting to the tip, and I was very annoyed.

After that, I was on a mission to find something that would work better, and not to bore you with the details, I ended up finding exactly what I needed in Kai. The brand is incredible, their products are of the best quality, and most importantly, they stand by their product. If anything gets dull or worn down, you can send it in, and they’ll sharpen it for you at a reasonable cost. Since my previous pair of scissors could not be sharpened, I was especially enticed by something that I wouldn’t need to buy again.

At the risk of this post feeling like an infomercial, I still wanted to share it all with you, because I get asked this stuff all of the time. Since they’ve made such a big difference for me, I decided to start carrying my favorites in the shop. With them being a super new addition, I thought I’d go over what we’ve got.

Yay, for Kai!

Kai 7230 Scissors

First up is my first pair. After trying everything on their demo table, I arrived at the 9″ tailoring shears, and I’m happy to report that years later they are still my favorite–and they actually haven’t needed sharpening yet. Bonus.

Kai 7230 Scissors

It’s the right size for cutting my appliqué projects, the blades are super sharp and the cut is incredibly smooth. If you have plans to start a Kai arsenal, this is definitely my recommended first purchase.

Kai 7230 Scissors

We can continue chronologically, because somehow my own arsenal has grown parallel to how I’d prioritize them. Of course, your needs might be different, but hopefully this will give you an idea!

My next couple of pairs were their basic 4″ scissors. I grabbed up both their regular and serrated options. After getting just 1 of each, I realized I needed a pair for every handwork spot in my house and every travel bag. They’re lightweight, sharp and perfectly handy for thread clipping and fabric snipping.

Kai 5100 Scissor

Serrated vs non-serrated is a question of preference that I’m not sure I’ve ever decided on. I guess I don’t need to draw any conclusions, because I have and use both, all the time. A serrated blade grips the fabric as it cuts, and a smooth blade glides as it cuts.

Kai 5100 Scissor

A couple of years ago, Kai added a couple of smaller sizes to their 7000 series–my favorite series–which in my opinion, was exactly the right move. I quickly grabbed up all sizes to try.

These first two (7170 and 7150) are really great. They fill the need for a 7230-like scissor, but smaller, for those more intricate cuts. For projects like Alturas, these are my preference.

The 7170 has a 6 2/3″ blade and is a little bit longer.

Kai 7170 Scissor

The added length of this pair might make me like them slightly more than the 7150, but they are both really great.

Kai 7170 Scissor

By the way, both the 7170 and 7150 are great for clipping fabrics when garment sewing. Garment fabrics range from anything thick to thin, stretchy to super stable, and so I always have one of these nearby when I’m cutting out a garment. (Sidenote if you’re curious, I usually cut out garments with a rotary cutter, flat on my cutting table. I use scissors like these for snipping match points, grading seams, etc.)

Kai 7000 series scissors

The 7150 has a 6″ blade, so it’s just slightly shorter, but also super good.

Kai 7150 Scissor

A lot of this just comes down to your own preference when cutting. A shorter blade gives you more control on smaller, more intricate shapes, whereas a longer blade allows you to cut further more smoothly.

Kai 7150 Scissor

Last up is the 7100, which is a 4 1/4″ blade. These are like the luxurious version of the 5100. They’re a bit beefier, the handles are much more comfortable and the blades are of the same high-quality as the other 7000 series scissors.

Kai 7100 Scissor

They are snips that pack a punch.

Kai 7100 Scissor

There we go. That’s the scissor tour (and PSA). If you have any questions, leave a comment or shoot me an email. Kai stands by all of their scissors, and you can send them back to Kai for sharpening at a reasonable price. Personally, I’m over buying disposable goods and into investing in things that I can use for a long time.

Kai Scissors

Also, all of the 7000 series Kai scissors ship free domestically and have discounted international shipping rates.

Kai 7000 series scissors

Happy cutting!

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