Thursday, April 26, 2018

Building a cabin or raising a barn?

Whichever it is, I am halfway through. When this photo was taken I still had 6 blocks to assemble to finish the row, and they are now completed. If you could see my design wall now, there wouldn't be that unfinished row at the bottom.
I am grateful that I had these logs on hand (sent from Karen @ log cabin quilter blog) so there was something I could sew while the rotary cutter was still off limits. It is exciting to be making good progress on a large quilt, even though I haven't felt like I can do all that much.
I decided to make it 12x14 blocks, and this marks the halfway point.

The other project that has received what little sewing time I have been able to scrounge is "Sophie", from Edyta Sitar's book "Little Handfuls of Scraps". This is my April mini for Wendy's mini-a-month SAL.
This was easy to put together using mini charm squares and leftover strips that I could trim with scissors. Even the binding strips were leftover from another little quilt.

After completing the stitch-in-the-ditch with my walking foot, I really wanted to hand quilt the diagonal lines, and even gave it a try. But I had not used a good scrap of batting for hand needling. After trying to pull the first few stitches through, I could tell it was stressing my shoulder, so I backed off and did it all by machine.

I have been playing with a new-to-me thread, thanks to a blog reader, Joyce L. She introduced me to DMC Machine Embroidery thread, which is recommended for miniature quilt making by mini quilt maker extraordinaire, Sally Collins. 
I only knew DMC for its embroidery floss, but was pleased to learn about this thread. It is 50 wt., 100% cotton, and comes in a wide variety of colors. It is very fine--even possibly a hair finer than 50 wt. Aurifil. This means it doesn't add bulk to seams (very important in mini quilts), and it looks more to scale when you machine quilt on mini quilts.
This zoomed-in photo shows it in comparison to the other two threads I use for most of my piecing and quilting.
 
I have done a lot of piecing with it, and a little bit of machine quilting, along with some binding. It works beautifully for piecing, as mentioned above. 
I had no trouble with the little bit of machine quilting I was able to do before my shoulder surgery, but since then I have only been able to quilt with my walking foot. I do like the way it seems to melt into the ditch when doing SITD on little quilts. Heavier thread stands out and looks clunky, but this thread rivals the Aurifil. Since I haven't done a lot of machine quilting with it, I have not been able to gauge how linty it is. Mettler fills the bobbin area of my quilting machine with lint, if I use it for very long. I never have that trouble with Aurifil. It remains to be seen where DMC will fall in that continuum.
The only negative experience I have had has been with binding by hand.
I did quite a bit of the machine quilting on this little quilt using the DMC thread, and it gave me no trouble. But when it came to the hand binding, the end of the thread really frayed as I stitched.
It surprised me, because I haven't had a cotton thread do this before. It seemed more a "poly" characteristic. But it wasn't a major concern, as the thread never actually broke.

However, as I did the hand binding on the little "Sophie" quilt, shown earlier in this post, the thread broke not very far into the stitching process, and the ends looked frayed, as above. It isn't a deal breaker for me. This thread is much more reasonably priced than the other two, and it is available in  some colors that the other two are not. It is another great tool in my quilting arsenal, and I will just not use it for hand binding anymore.

I will end with a couple of photos my oldest daughter sent us of their recent visit to a tulip farm in Oregon. Wish I could have been there.

Until next time, 
Janet O.
 


35 comments:

  1. What an adorable photo of your granddaughter in the tulip garden! It's a beautiful place for family photos. I hadn't heard about DMC machine embroidery thread. It does look perfect for quilting your minis. I have the same fraying issue with Aurifil 50 wt when I try to use it for any hand stitching (bindings, etc.). Even the 28 and 12 wt threads tend to fray when used for hand quilting, but Thread Heaven (if you can still find some at your local store) or plain old beeswax coating the thread seems to help a bit with that issue. I have to clean out the bobbin area of my Janome after every 3 full bobbins and there's plenty of lint by then, but Aurifil is still my favorite thread for machine quilting. Love your latest minis, and so happy to see that you're feeling up to stitching again, even if it's for short periods of time.

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  2. Karen is so precious to send you some pieces to piece with! Your log cabin is half done? wow!! And it looks wonderful!! I have not tried the DMC thread, so I was interested in your experience. I did try Signature that Bonnie Hunter said was good, and it is too thick for my machine. I just go back to Aurifil, although it is pretty expensive...that is my favorite.

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  3. Beautiful picture of your granddaughter. I did not even know they had tulip farms in Oregon, that must have been amazing to see !

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  4. Beautiful photos of your girls! Precious.
    Love, love love the barn raising layout. This one so needs to be done. So glad you decided to stitch it up.
    The mini turned out perfect to me, and I am glad to see you have figured out how to get some stitching and small things done.
    I am not sure on the thread....DMC is probably a short fiber cotton and fraying is more liking. It all comes down to friction between the thread and fibers we stitch....and the batting.

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  5. Love your Sophie! And that Feathered Star, oh, my, it's wonderful. Thanks for the DMC info, I have lots of it, I like it for hand appliqué but had not thought to use it for machine piecing or quilting. I'll try that now--think I need a Sophie for myself.

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  6. Very cute little quilts! I love doing small pieces and I use YLI Soft Touch thread. It’s 60 wt 2 ply and it just disappears when you sew with it. Oh yes, 100 percent cotton. I think I bought mine online from either YLI or Uncommon Thread. Think Red Rocks carries it too. I buy them by the dozen to get free shipping❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ This thread.

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  7. The cabin/barn raising quilt is wonderful. You have such a way with putting fabrics together. I was thinking the same thing when I saw your mini quilt. I just love the fabrics. Interesting review on the thread. You know, until recently I thought thread was thread.... I am truly finding out that is not the case. I love when I learn new things from you more experienced quilters. I also am learning that a needle is not just a needle... I am struggling to find the right needle to do some big stitch quilting using perle cotton. lol I love the pic's of the tulip farm and that cute little girl. (both of them are cute) We have a semi local tulip farm that my mom and grandma went to visit many years ago. We got some really nice pic's that day. Sweet memories now! I hope your shoulder continues to improve!

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  8. Your Log Cabin quilt is going to be beautiful. I love the colors. Your feathered star quilt is by far my favorite quilt. What an adorable grand daughter you have. Hugs

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  9. Wonderful log cabin! And your minis are always darling. I really like the simple squares one and your quilting is beautiful. Thank you for the thread comparisons, too.

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  10. The tulip farm is amazing--I can't even imagine so many all together, especially since we still have piles of snow on the ground. I have used the DMC for hand piecing with great results--seems to be very strong. I used it to piece my Texas Stars. I does get a little "fluffy" from the friction but doesn't snarl which is a huge plus! Your little feathered star is adorable!

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  11. Good to hear you are coming right along with that shoulder!! Sophie turned out great and thank you for the instructional on the threads!! It will be fun to see your logcabin/barn raising quilt pieced and quilted, it is lookin' good!! I have never heard of the DMC and since I am huge disciple of Aurifil, I guess I am going to have to give it a try!! If you and Sally like it, it must be pretty good!!

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  12. Oh, P.S. Great pictures of your DD and GDD at the tulip farm!! I wish you could have been there too!! Would have come over for a visit!!

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  13. Just knew you could find a way to continue with stitching those wonderful minis! And your April dolly quilt is adorable...the scrap of batting that I grab for mine was not a wise choice either and after finishing the simple hand quilting I did, my fingers are proof of it...ouch! DMC used to make a quilting thread too - not sure if they do anymore? But I used that to hand quilt April’s dolly quilt. Have a number of spools in various neutral colors but each spool is small and not a lot of yardage on them. Still a nice thread though. I tried using Aurifil when doing EPP’ing and it frayed somewhat but worked ok. Their colors are so nice.

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  14. Love your little "sophie" quilt! I made that but used 5" charms....in fact, I made two but only one is finished (no surprise there!). So glad to see that you were not completely sidelined following your surgery! And that darling little Maggie! How she has grown since the day I saw her when about 8 months old?

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  15. Beautiful new mini, so glad you are able to still do some piecing while recovery from surgery. What a kind friend to send you pre cut logs! Thanks for the tip about thread, I will look this brand up to see if I can get it at my local shops. Hoping to go to a proper patchwork shop this weekend, but buy backing, but always on the look out for thread too! Your grand daughter is very sweet, what a lovely head of hair!

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  16. Nice new postcard! I obviously need to catch up, because I didn't know about your shoulder!

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  17. great you can get some sewing in, your log cabin looks scrumptious. Interesting 'review
    on the DMC thread, I have never tried it. I like using Masterpiece by Superior Threads for piecing, nice and fine. That Tulip farm is amazing! You know winter is not here in NZ but some of my "Spring" bulbs are flowering!?? Kiwi Hugs xx

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  18. Thank you for the DMC thread tip ! Are the colors the same as my DMC embroidery floss. For example is red 815 the same in both lines ? It sure would make selecting the thread color easier. I live in the sticks so I have to rely on online sources.

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  19. You saved the cutest photos for last. Beautiful! Both of your mini's are wonderful, even with your shoulder situation. You're amazing. I use to use the DMC thread for both piecing and machine quilting, but because no one carries it around here anymore I switched to Aurifil. Thanks for reminding me how much I liked it.

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  20. Beautiful granddaughter. Your log cabin is one of my favorites. So glad you are getting back into a little sewing and that your surgery is in the past.

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  21. Your log cabin will be beautiful with those great colors! Your mini is so sweet, and your feathered star is gorgeous! Your quilting on both is great, as usual! (I'm envious!) The darling pictures of your daughter and granddaughter will be pleasant reminders as years go by. Wish you could have been there with them too. Glad you are feeling better; do take care of your shoulder! ---"Love"

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  22. Happy to see a post. You just can't rest too much. The Mini's call to you.
    Happy faces on the tulips!!

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  23. Ahhhhh...sunshine, tulips and smiley faces! :-)
    You're stitching right along beautifully! Love that little Sophie quilt!
    Thank you for your input on the DMC thread too. I did not think there was a thread thinner than Aurifil? lol! Must feel like silk thread in your hands.

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  24. Hola, que bonita entrada. Tu logcabin está precioso y los dos minis son preciosos. Gracias por la información del hilo de Dmc, yo utilizo Aurifil y me gusta tanto para máquina como apliqué. Me hablaron de un hilo de poliester de Guterman, es la segunda marca y se llama Mara, nunca había usado poliester para coser y acolchar a máquina y el resultado es muy bueno. Tu nieta preciosa. Un beso

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  25. It's wonderful that you are able to use the sewing machine while recuperating. How big are the log cabin blocks? They look great! The small quilt is adorable. I will check out DMC thread. The colors look muted which is good for a lot of quilting. And using it on small quilts sounds like a great idea! The pictures of your daughter & granddaughter are lovely!!

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  26. It's good to see you are able to get some creative time Janet and you are finding ways to make it work for you :-) I love how your log cabins are looking! Interesting to read about the DMC thread - I'll have to see if it's available here. Have you tried the Aurifil80 weight? (Others speak highly of it although I've yet to put it through my machine but have used it for handsewing). Lovely tulip photos.

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  27. I use some of the DMC 50 wt. thread for stitching applique. I wish a shop locally would carry it.

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  28. Hello Janet, finally a chance to "visit you" .... we are having some computer issues & I have missed lots of blogs. Your end (tulip) photos are just beautiful ! I hope things are coming right from your shoulder surgery, it sure doesn't seem to be holding you back, your productivity is always amazing.

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  29. What beautiful photos of your daughter. Oh those sweet curls! and what gorgeous tulips
    your log cabin project is looking great. Are those chevron LC blocks?
    I would think that the finer the thread the better for minis. Have you tired silk or the new aurifil #80 weight? my friend loves it for applique and machine.
    hope your shoulder is healing well.

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  30. Log cabins--so many design choices--a beautiful quilt. Glad you are taking care of that shoulder!

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  31. Your grand daughter is sooo sweet ! Ohhh that smile ...
    I have some DMC thread but never used it with my machine ! Only quilting by hand and I never had any problem with it...
    Your feathered star is gorgeous !! WOW !

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  32. Fantastic mini quilt. I just realized I haven't posted the April blocks. I don't think I can be trusted to do a blog challenge if I can't even post at the right time! Love the pictures of your daughter and granddaughter!

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  33. I've been seeing many flowers from the tulips festival! I will have to go one of these years.
    I use the DMC embroidery thread for all my machine applique. They make it in many colors that match my pieces. I learned about years ago from the Piece O Cake girls.
    Love your log cabin!

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  34. PS, Your daughter and grand daughter are beautiful!

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  35. Your April mini is wonderful and so is your Log Cabin quilt! Thanks for the thread analysis. I think I'll try DMC. Love that last pic :)

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