Friday, March 20, 2015

WHY THREAD MATTERS

I have had several posts in mind, but just not the time or energy to actually put them together.  So today I want to share with you a few fun tips I have learned, or been reminded of, as I have been busy stitching away these last few months.  Here are some thoughts on thread.

This is a quilt that uses log cabin blocks.  As you can see, there are several seams in each block--about 7 pieces across each block.  The more seams you have in a block, the greater chance you have for it to be distorted or come out the wrong size.  For instance, if you don't sew in an EXACT 1/4" seam, the block can be bigger or smaller than it should be. 


You can see here that there are 10 blocks in each row going across this quilt.  What if I was off by just "a smidgen" in each seam--that's 7 seams per block and 10 blocks, so 70 places where I can goof up the sizing of my quilt!

I am not one to freak out over accuracy, but I do a few things to check and make sure things are coming out right.  It just makes everything easier!  I measure each block as I go and make sure they are the right size before sewing them together.  I trim the ones that are a bit too large, and mark the ones that are too small, so that I can adjust in the seam allowance of the block seams.  This way my borders always are cut to length and go on perfectly.

One thing that REALLY helps with keeping my seams accurate is the thread.  I use Aurifil 50 wt on my machine for all my piecing.  This strong, but very thin, thread sews in so smoothly, and doesn't take up any room in the seam allowance when pressing the seams to one side.  It may seem (seam) silly but it really does make a difference.  If you think about being off by just 1/70th of an inch across this whole quilt, I would be off by a WHOLE INCH in the row!

That is one reason that I love Auriful 50 wt thread--very accurate piecing.  Your machine will love it, too for it's smooth and lint free finish.  And, bonus, because it is so thin, your bobbin will hold a ton, and not run out so quickly!

Oh, and I should not forget to tell you that my quilts are quilted with Aurifil, too.  Maika did a beautiful job on the quilting of this one, as usual--I wish you could see it up close!

As you know, I also use Aurifil 50 wt threads for my applique.  (Remember, the 50 weight thread comes on the orange spool.)


I love how the fine, thin thread just melts into my fabrics and never shows!  It doesn't tangle as I stitch, either.  I think this is because it is a 2-ply thread and doesn't have as many twists on it as a 3-ply.  Still, it is very strong because of the high quality long staple Egyptian cotton it is made of.  The colors are amazing, and I can easily find a match for my applique pieces.

If you haven't tried Aurifil threads before, I think you should.  I have been so happy with them!  They make me a better quilter.

To recap,  the top 10 REASONS WHY I LOVE AURIFIL:

1.  Fine, thin 50 wt--thinner than other 50 weights.
2.  A heavy, dense thread that is very strong for it's diameter.
3.  Makes piecing more accurate.
4.  Smooth and lint free--my machine's favorite!
5.  Doesn't show in my hand applique
6.  Doesn't tangle when hand stitching--perfect for bindings and applique.
7.  My bobbin doesn't run out as fast!
8.  Hundreds of beautiful colors.
9.  Perfect for machine quilting.
10. I have used it for 15 years, and wouldn't use anything else!

Stay tuned, I am planning to do some work with some of the heavier weights of Aurifil in the near future.  I just got my samples today in 40wt, 28wt and 12 wt.


Delicious colors, right?  Do you use any of the heavier weight Aurifil threads?  I want to hear about it!  Leave me a comment about how and where you use them,  and you can help me with my new post!

Thanks!!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

My Sweet Friends

Hi folks!  Last week I had a surprise visitor at my door.  She brought a gift to me, and I just can't wait to share it with you.  Cori Blunt of Chitter Chatter Designs had made this beautiful pillow for me.  The embroidery is so sweet-- "Friends are like bras... close to your heart…and there for support."


The appliqued roses are incredible--I wish you could see them in person!  And I wish you could get a sense of how big this pillow is--it is hard to tell in the photo.

Maybe this pic with me in it will give you and idea of the size.  (at the risk of looking really weird with no hair and no make-up--oh well--I want you to look at the pillow, not me!)


Anyway, Cori had made this pillow for me in a blog challenge.  The blog hop was started by my good friend, Madame Samm of "Sew We Quilt."  She is also a sweetheart and called to tell me that I was one of the reasons she started this hop.

You can see Cori's post here.  It was all about overcoming breast cancer, and I am honored that she chose me to feature.  She is one of my favorite people!  And very, very talented!  I hope you are familiar with her designs--they are soooo awesome.

I am so grateful for the quilters in my life!  You all have added so much to me, and you inspire me daily!  Keep on stitching!


Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Road Report

I was able to attend Road to California a few weeks ago.  It was wonderful to get out and see so many wonderful quilters and quilts!  My sisters went with me to help in the booth and they were awesome! Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of all of us together.   I guess we were just too busy.  That's a good thing.

Here I am with Margaret and Judy.  Another sister, Susan was also there, but I guess she was taking the picture!  Anyway, we had a great time together.  Aren't sisters awesome?!


The booth was very simple, but showed the quilts well.  I didn't hang my awning or lay any fancy floor as usual.  Hopefully people could still tell it was a Jillily booth.

I took some fabric to sell yardage and it went really well.  I came home and had to order more!

We kept the demo area of the booth busy with lots of quilters learning about bias tape and Appli-Glue and Poke-A-Dots.  I love teaching the demos, but it is exhausting!  Good thing Margaret was there--she's a pro!


Susan was busy running the check-out counter with Judy.  Our booth was in the "Pavillion," or tent.  It is an additional area attached to the convention center.  It was a great spot, but on Saturday we had quite the wind storm, and some booths were knocked down.  Ours was very windy and all the quilts were blowing in and out--it kind of looked like we were on a ship!  Because of the wind noise and flickering lights, I think some of our customers stayed inside that day, but it was still fine.  We're sorry if we missed you!  We didn't blow over after all.

I wanted to show you two new projects I just introduced at Road.  The first one is called "Checkmate."  It is a small table topper or wall hanging in red white and black.  There is just a tiny bit of applique to add to the design.


The next one is called "Tangled Daisies."  This little runner is made up in the green colorway, but I think it would also be fun done in the reds or blues of Park Drive.  Don't you?

I am amazed that I was able to go and do a big show like that and stay well and not get too tired!  I have been so blessed!  I am home and busy working on new projects for upcoming fun stuff.  I have started scheduling workshops again for 2016.  If your guild needs a speaker or teacher, I would love to come!


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Sewing Rows Tutorial

Hello quilters!  I have a tutorial for you today, but first I want to let you know that I will be vending at Road to California in a few weeks!  Yes, my doctors are letting me get out of town, and I can hardly wait! I have lots of new quilts and new kits, and books, patterns, thread, etc.  I hope I see you there.  If you are in that neck of the woods, please stop in and see me!

I thought today as I was working on a little project that I would show you my method of putting blocks together when there are a lot of them in rows.  Sometimes we can get them mixed up as they go from the design wall to the machine.

Here is the quilt up on the design wall.  The top section is all sewn together.  The center bottom section is just blocks that need to be sewn together in the correct order.


There are four rows that I want to sew in one section.  Each row has six blocks.


I gather the blocks in each row from left to right.  Make sure you keep the orientation correct.

I place the stacks of blocks for each row by my machine, with row 1 at the top, then row 2, 3, and 4.  I pick up the first two blocks from the row1 pile and sew them together.  Then without cutting the thread, chain on to the next row--sew those first two block together, and the next and so on.

When I have chained together blocks 1 and 2 together in each row,  I pull it back up to the first row and add block #3 to each row.  Continue to chain together so the rows stay attached.

Now I have three blocks in each row, and the rows are held together by the threads between.

Continue adding each block in order on each row.


Now my rows in the bottom section are all sewn together.


Take it to your pressing surface and press the seams on each row in alternating directions so they will nest together.

I forgot to take the last photo!  But you can get it--just take the chained-together section back to your machine and sew the rows together.  Then press the seams down.  That's all there is to it, and it sure makes it easy to sew a lot of blocks together.  Especially if the orientation of the block is critical, as it was in this quilt.

Hope that is useful for you.  Happy sewing!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

WINNERS X Three

It's about time I get back to this!  The Random Number Generator has chosen 3 winners!  Here you are:  If you left one of these comments on my blog, please email me your address so I can send out your prize right away!  ( jill@jillilystudio.com)

WINNER #1:
 ‪Lori said...
wow your quilt is gorgeous. I so love the colors on white. I like starting with one fabric that would be my focal point and adding to that. This is one of the best/most fun parts.

Friday, November 28, 2014 at 3:53:00 PM MST

WINNER #2
 ‪Nancy Brown said...
Congratulations on another informative & inspiring book, Jill. I finished your free pillow pattern of the Christmas houses by Dec 1 !!.....and sent wishes of love & healing with every stitch from our house to yours. If I were as techy as you, I'd attach a photo!
Monday, December 1, 2014 at 5:59:00 PM MST


WINNER #3:
‪Janie said...
I have not been able to pull fabrics together for a project. I have to either purchase a bundle, or buy a kit. I am okay with that. I have made a few quilt tops that, I chose the fabric for and they are hidden away. Thanks for the generous giveaway. Your work is simply stunning.
Sunday, November 30, 2014 at 7:17:00 AM MST

I will give you a week to email me, then if I don't hear from you, I will choose new winners.

I have been busy on that same quilt.  These things take time.  Ha Ha.  



I should also be working on some Christmas gifts, too.  How about you?  Are you done with your Christmas sewing?  It just hasn't seemed like Christmas around here yet because we have NO SNOW.  Crazy.  I have to have snow for Christmas!  

The kids were here at Thanksgiving and put up the tree and decorations. (Thank you!) I did my candy jars,
 and am working on the snowflakes.


The mantel and Nativity are up.  


That's about all I am going to get done this year, but it still looks beautiful.  

To those of you who did not win a prize, you can purchase the new book on my website, and remember, the proceeds go to the RED CROSS!


Friday, November 28, 2014

A FLAIR FOR FABRIC

Welcome back to the blog hop following your Thanksgiving break.  I hope you had a wonderful (and yummy) holiday.  Today is my day to give away some prizes!

We have been visiting with many of my Henry Glass designer friends on the  
"A FLAIR FOR FABRIC " 
blog hop.  I am so excited about this, because, well, it was kind of my idea-- along with my fellow designers--we all wanted a way to be able to help out the Hurricane Sandy victims.  These things take time--and we are finally ready!  All the proceeds from this book go to the American Red Cross, and that is AWESOME!

When we are so blessed, it is nice to be able to give back!


The book turned out even better than I had imagined.  I got my copies just the other day, and I couldn't stop reading it--cover to cover!  It is full of wonderful information and projects, and the design process for each designer.


I especially love the pages about choosing fabrics for a project.


The other designers have really outdone themselves with these projects!  You will be so happy with the great variety and number of projects in this book.  I am in love with several of them!

My project in the book is called  BREEZY.  It is my usual mix of pieced blocks with an appliqué touch.  I love how this photo turned out, so fresh and clean!  The crisp white and black with soft greens and blues have such a play together.


As many of you know, I love black, and use it often in my projects.  I love the high contrast and definition it gives to a project.  Given the timing of putting a book out, this quilt used a collection of mine several lines ago, called Beyond the Gate.  It's fun to see it again now that the fabric is mostly gone.

Don't  you love pulling together fabrics for a project?  Tell me about how you start choosing fabrics in the comments below, and you can win prizes!   Martingale and Henry Glass will award a free ebook and fabric bundle to a lucky winner.
(This bundle is from Beth Logan's Good Morning Sunshine collection)


Then, I want to give away a prize, too.  I can't wait to hear from you, so I will also pick a winner to win a bundle from each of my new collections, 
PARK DRIVE  and 
JAMS AND JELLIES.


I know you will be able to do something wonderful with them!!!!

Oh, and by the way, visit my website this weekend for our Black Friday - Cyber Monday sale on kits!!!
Sale starts at 10 am Friday MST.







Wednesday, November 26, 2014

New Project -- Jams and Jellies

I have been working on a new project that uses my basics collection, Jams and Jellies from Henry Glass  Fabrics.
 This collection is great to use with other pieces in my various other lines.  They blend together and use my favorite colors, giving me lots of options for appliqué and pieced design.

This time, I didn't really know where this was going, I just started with some blocks.

 Then I goofed around with various settings.


 Prepped a few appliqué pieces,


 and started stitching.


There is still  a lot of appliqué to go, but I do so enjoy this part!  It is just fun to sit and stitch.  I am going to add some dots and swirls, and then some borders.  I think.  Sometimes it turns out different from what I had planned!  Sometimes I don't really plan.


I can't wait to see what it ends up like!

(You can order Jams and Jellies on my website, or ask for it at your local quilt shop!)

Be sure to come back on Friday--that is my day on the HG blog hop with prizes and books and info and ideas!!  I will be having a give away, too.  See you then.