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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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Gleaned Pillow Shams using Rin and Alturas patterns.

I love making pillow shams. They are less of a commitment than a full quilt, and yet they can make just as much of an impact. Here’s a look at some Gleaned pillow shams using my Rin and Alturas patterns.

Gleaned Rin Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

Towards the tail end of losing power after Hurricane Irma in September, I had a hankering for some Rin appliqué. You’d think that I would have been hand appliquéing it up without power, but the truth is that so many other things were on my mind (mainly my lack of a roof) that I really didn’t have the mindspace or time for it. Sadly. This is why it was nice when I started thinking about appliqué again towards the end of that first week.

Gleaned Rin Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

I made a pair of these guys, because I really like how a pair can show off how the variety of shapes can play together. And, a pair is also good for expanding on your fabric combos.

Gleaned Rin Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

There’s something about exploring a fabric theme across two shams that’s really fun. You have more room and opportunity than just doing one sham, but not too many opportunities like when picking out an entire quilt where it’s easy to get overwhelmed in the picking process.

Gleaned Rin Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

With this set, I had this lime-y, pale purple-y, olive group in mind with a fun mix of textures between the prints and the fabrics themselves. All of the printed fabrics are my new stuff coming out, and then there’s a bit of Essex linen in there too. The main print from gleaned that I wanted to use has a special edge design, which is always fun to play with in appliqué. There’s some of that happening here.

Gleaned Rin Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

There’s also more happening on the back with the backing panels.

Gleaned Rin Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

Finding fun finding places to use these special edges is always enticing to me, but of course, you can definitely use the fabric normally as well.

Gleaned Rin Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

Cording on a pillow sham is a great place to kick it up a notch. In this case, I like how it also ties the two shams together by using the same fabric.

Gleaned Cording . Carolyn Friedlander

Gleaned Rin Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

Gleaned Rin Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

My Alturas pattern was another motif that had been on my mind.

Alturas Pillow Sham in Gleaned Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

Again, I liked the idea of making a pillow sham, because it would be a great size to play with and the end results could be used to spruce up anything.

Alturas Pillow Sham in Gleaned Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

I used the same print as with the Rin shams for the appliqué but in another colorway.

Alturas Pillow Sham in Gleaned Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

With the Alturas design especially, I like using fabrics that change and offer new ways for seeing the appliqué motif itself. Even though all of the shapes are the same, the way the fabric can be used makes them look a little bit different.

Alturas Pillow Sham in Gleaned Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

Oh, and BTW, with the size and shape of Alturas, I’ve long searched for the right size scissor. It’s a small-ish shape that is cut multiple layers at once, so sometimes a big scissor can feel a bit too big. As soon as Kai released smaller sizes in their 7000 series, I knew one of them would be perfect for cutting this shape. This is the reason that I decided to offer this size and this one in my shop. Either are great, and I’m constantly on the fence about which size I like better.

Alturas Pillow Sham in Gleaned Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

For the backing panels, I went with a gray theme using two prints from Gleaned.

Alturas Pillow Sham in Gleaned Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

There we go. So many new pillow shams!

Gleaned Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

Patterns : Rin, Alturas

Fabrics : Gleaned, Essex Yarn Dye in Olive (Robert Kaufman)

Some Tips:

+ I’m recently a big fan of the Ikea FJADRAR cushion insert.

+ Use a stiletto when sewing cording–it’ll save your fingers from danger! (Ask me how I know…)

Gleaned Rin Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

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