Tag Archives: Aurifil Thread

The Sometimes Perplexing Scant 1/4″ & What’s Thread Got to Do with it?

“Use a scant 1/4.” I’ve read this in multiple patterns and though it’s not necessarily a difficult concept to get my arms around, knowing why – or more importantly when – to use it has always escaped me for some reason, until yesterday.

First, let me show you the current view from my desk at any given time during my day (when I’m not cutting fabric or living life, in general).

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Carina Gardner’s gorgeous Posy Garden on the bottom shelf (from which I’ll be creating my next project, no question!) and the Sweetwater Bella Solids Collection on top which, if you ask me, has got to be one of the most joyful collections of simple solids ever assembled on purpose. I’m in love with these fabrics together beyond words!

Add to this to my growing love affair with Bella Solids in general, I’ve been trying to carve out some time to create a quilt with Moda’s Sampler Shuffle – a series of 30 – 6″ blocks designed by Moda designers – which were released to quilt shops last November at Quilt Market, Houston.  I can’t say I’ve seen them created with Bellas, but as I’ve spent the last week or so staring longingly at the above image, The Sweetwater Bellas became an obvious choice.

So far so good…

Sweetwater Blocks

Blocks 1 and 2 of the Moda Sampler Shuffle set of blocks, in Sweetwater Bella Solids.

All was going well until I made the 4th block, which had an awful lot of pieces (equating to an awful lot of seams)

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Needless to say, I made it once, but decided to remake it. Here’s why:

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The block on the right is Block 1 in the series which does have a fair few pieces, but went together comfortably with a standard 1/4″ seam allowance, finishing up at the correct 6 1/2″ needed.  The center block, however, is my first attempt at Block 4, using a standard 1/4″ seam allowance without thinking much about it. It’s at least 5/8″ too small all the way around. The block on the left is a remake if Block 4, using scant 1/4″ seam allowances.

Meh. 5/8″ isn’t all that big of a deal, right? Actually, it’s not the end of the world, until you’re trying to put a bunch of blocks together that are supposed to be the same size. 5/8″ can be a lot and I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want to have to stretch my seams that much to make them line up comfortably.  This is where the proverbial ‘scant 1/4 inch’ comes into play and why it is sometimes a pretty handy and necessary process for making our blocks the right size.

A scant 1/4″ is really nothing more than this:

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A scant 1/4″ is merely defined as a slightly smaller than 1/4″ seam allowance than a standard 1/4″ seam allowance. Where it’s useful in particular, is when you’ve a small block with lots of small pieces.

Essentially, it all boils down to just how many seams we’re incorporating into any given block.  Think of it this way – the more seams, the more seam allowances; the more rows, the smaller each block has the propensity to become as we go along, depending on how much attention we pay to seam allowance with each seam we create.

ALSO! In case you wondered – the fineness of the thread we use can make a difference as well.  It’s why when I first tried Aurifil 50wt , I switched to it without even passing Go or collecting $200 (Monopoly never really leaves your psyche once you play it as a kid, ya know? But lest I degress…). Anyway, while you wouldn’t think the density of thread would matter much, I find that it makes my seams less bulky, which can make a sizable different across the span of a quilt, not to mention – a bunny outfit.

Sophie Daytime Nighty Aurifil

According to the bunnies, their clothes fit a whole lot more comfortably when the seams are less bulky.

4 Sampler Shuffle Blocks

As I go along making 30 – 6″ blocks, it matters in the grand scheme that they’re all as close to 6 1/2″ (unfinished) as possible, if I want them to line up fairly comfortably in a finished quilt.

“What did you do with the poor, little too-small block?”

Great question.

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I made it into a little 6″ placemat I can use at my desk for a bowl of soup while I’m working over lunch. It also makes a great little nightstand mat for my cell phone. In all, what I appreciate about Sweetwater fabric collections is how versatile they are.  for the binding of my little mat, I used a fabric from the Cookie Exchange, a current Sweetwater holiday line. My point is, when it’s altogether – it’s festive and Christmassy – but often, when used individually, Sweetwater Christmas fabrics are versatile enough not to scream CHRISTMAS! unless you want them to 🙂

In the end, the question begs: is it really critical to pay so much attention to precision at the tiniest level with respect to seam allowances and thread density? Well, yes and no. It really comes down to two things – the longer we’ve been quilting, I think, the more it begins to matter to us that our work reflects our level of experience. Secondarily, every little seam, whether attentive to exactness of seam allowance or what kind of thread we use, adds up.  For the purpose of this post – I’m just giving you a little food for thought 🙂

I wish you happy sewing my friends,

Pam

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A Couple of Quilt Finishes, Some Thoughts on Social Media, and a New Addition to the Serendipity Bunny Team

As usual, it’s been a while since I’ve shared here at the blog.  Frankly – pesky social media sites – it’s always easy to toss up a quick photo on Instagram or Facebook, which is a bit like posting to the world on January 1st that you’ve resolved to lose twenty pounds.  Somehow, proclaiming it diminishes the urgency to actually follow through.  I always mean to write a blog post to share completed projects, but if I share it on social media first – the blog post tends not to happen.

So – other than a few ‘in progress’ photos I shared of my newest Sea Holly quilt, I’ve saved my ‘finish’ post for here there I could toss out a few helpful hints I thought you might find useful.

Triangles

For instance, this quilt required a whole boatload of triangles sewn together. Sometimes, if I’m not careful, I invariably sew down the wrong edge and wind up with a whole boatload of seam ripping to do. To avoid this, I lay out all my pieces on a portable something I can carry from my cutting mat to my sewing machine so that the edge that needs to be sewn faces my machine exactly as it will sit beneath my presser foot.

Sewing

Then I can just pick each piece up, sew all at once in a daisy chain which I can then cut apart and press once I’ve carried it back to my table.

Bits

Aside from preparing all my pieces for what I planned on being an ‘assembly over time’ sort of process, I took a much needed step away from quilting to create a new bunny friend.

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Meet Caroline.

In all honesty, I expected this quilt to take me a whole lot longer than it did, so I intended to just do bits every day.

Sea Holly and Caroline

But after I got everything organized (with Caroline’s help), I found that everything went together so quickly, I couldn’t stop!

Block

Before I knew it, and coincidentally right before a weekend, I had the entire quilt top assembled.

Top

Since I’ve made up my mind not to shelf a quilt top for any period of time (else it tends to think it now LIVES there forever, unfinished), I sandwiched it on Friday night for a fresh start to machine quilting on Saturday morning.

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Yep, I could have and probably should have done some straight line quilting to showcase the lovely pinwheels on this quilt.  However, I find Stevie Wonder-style swirly/meandering in an all-over stipple stitch to be relaxing as heck! Also, my new favorite Aurifil thread shade lately has been 2410 – Pale Pink.  I used it for my Love Quilt below too (which admittedly, I posted on social media but not here)…

Love Quilt

I used the fabrics from our Happy Little Love bundle to create the Cloth Parcel’s Candy Shoppe quilt. Of course you can always ping us with a message to create a custom kit with this pattern, but a half yard bundle would work beautifully.

 

For both quilts, the Pale Pink Aurifil for machine quilting made especially good sense because I used this same gorgeous Art Gallery fabric for the backing…

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It’s called Sublime Stitchery Spring and is from the Bijoux line by Bari J. We have a few yards left in our shop (and it’s even on sale) here Sublime Stitchery Spring fabric

As you can see above, I couldn’t help but piece the binding since there is quite a bit leftover of the fabrics showcased in the quilt.

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Sea Holly fabrics and quilt kit can be found at our shop (though the pattern is available free at the Michael Miller website, we include a printed copy along with the quilt kit we assemble). The fabric is designed by Sarah Campbell and the pattern (which goes together like a dream and quick too!), is designed by Susan Emory

Ultimately, my main draw to this quilt design in particular (aside from being completely in love with the Retro colorway of the Sea Holly collection), is that the finished quilt is 58″ square, and I have a frequent need for multiple square quilts…

Emma and Sea Holly Quilt

Above is the ottoman that lives in our living room.  Emma and her gal pals, Ruby, Tess and  Ivy tend to spend quality time on said ottoman, playing with toys, chewing on tiny tennis balls, eating treats, and occasionally throwing up those treats all over whatever quilt happens to be beneath their sweet little schnauzer bodies at the time.  Lest I mention another reeeeally good reason to choose premium quality fabric: it launders beautifully and fades SO MUCH LESS than discount fabrics.

Lastly, I mentioned social media here and there throughout this post. I guess the point is that even though my preference is to blog about the things I make so I can share a bit more detail, it’s not always possible to find the time. With that said, if you are a social media bug, you can find more of my daily goings on at the following locations:

Instagram

Twitter

Facebook

and my ESPECIALLY NEW favorite: Ello

Happy Quilting, Friends 🙂

Pam 🙂

 

 

Serendipity Woods Shop Happenings

Whew! What a whirlwind of a July and already HALF of August! Happy Thursday, All. I’m inclined to apologize once again for how long I’ve been away from my CLH Blog, but as is abundantly clear to me now – the early dynamics of having a Quilt fabric business are more than a bit consuming! With that in mind, how about if I don’t apologize, and just get right at what I’ve been up to! Perhaps I’ll categorize a bit as well, so my head doesn’t just explode onto my keyboard in a completely nonsensical manner…

First – A few views of our shop, this very day:

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I can’t decide whether or more excited about all the new fabric we’ve accumulated to share with you, or the clever storage design Superman has come up with, which houses everything in such a versatile way! In case you wondered, from left to right (atop each structure) is Mrs. Peabody Owl, Gracie Elephant, Big Sophie Bunny, and Gloria Bear (oh, and the ever-present Charlie in her newest yellow dress, not wishing to be left out).

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Though not originally intended, we found that not only does the peg idea work great for housing fabric bolts, but also – if we employ a simple 1/4″ smooth board, they work wonderfully as a shelf holder for precuts and other quilty wares.

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Truly, no matter how much my studio begins to resemble an actual quilt shop, all it takes is for me to turn my back for just one second, and my animal friends determine a comfortable spot upon which to perch (perhaps in fear of becoming irrelevant – which, I remind them just in case – is not possible).

Studio photos aside, things have been going really great and we’re learning lots! While Superman continues to navigate brilliantly through the financial logistics, storage solutions, and just cheering me on in general, I’ve been having great fun interacting with so many new and returning customers, as I ship them the treasures they’ve been finding in our little shop.

Especially popular in our shop:

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If you haven’t yet heard, this has been one heck of a FARM GIRL SUMMER! We’ve sold (and reordered, and sold, and reordered several more times) more of Lori Holt’s Farm Girl Vintage book than any other item in our shop.  Along with the book, folks have scooped up an assortment of Lori’s Modern Minis precuts as well, since this quilt, by definition, is as scrappy as the day is long – Precuts are working great for it!  In addition, Lori has also collaborated with Aurifil to create a perfect thread collection for use with all of her fabric designs (not just the current one).  We’re enjoying plunking it, and all of Lori’s happy designs into the post for our customers.

One more thing I have to admit – I’ve been bitten by the Farm Girl Bug myself! A few of my blocks…

Block 3Block 1Block 2

We’ve also had some pretty impressive (and unexpected) success with all kinds of patterns in our shop!

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We’ve done our best to select patterns that support precuts, since as we launched our shop – Precuts were some of the first items we stocked. 

While we still put emphasis on selling precuts because they’re so versatile, we’ve started to also carry yardage. Recently, we picked up the whole line of Tree of Life by Sue Zipkin for Clothworks.

While we're still learning about just what will be popular at our shop, Tree of Life was a complete no brainer.  Sue Zipkin's art is beautiful from every angle!

While we’re still learning about just what will be popular at our shop, Tree of Life was a complete no brainer. Sue Zipkin’s art is beautiful from every angle!

Okay – so I think I ought to wrap this post up so I can get some much needed sewing done! Before I do that, I wanted to share one more recent addition to our shop that I’m particularly excited about. To preface, we’ve been thinking about the fact that an awful lot of quilting going on today is of the scrappy nature. So great quality fabrics at great prices for stash building is important to you, and we’re on it! We’re thrilled to introduce a whole dedicated shop section called Serendipity SALE.  It’s all the same premium quality fabric we pride ourselves in carrying (Currently from Penny Rose and Riley Blake – but look for more manufacturers as we go along!), all at $3.00 per half yard/$5.95 per yard.

I’ll bet you know that I’ve lots more I’m dying to spill into this post – but how about if I just hold tight and give you a ‘Next up’ hint…It’s scrappy, classic, and interactive – all at the same time. Stay tuned!

Happy Quilting,

Pam

A Launch Giveaway for Serendipity Woods!

Good Morning, All…isn’t it a great day for a Tuesday, And a Serendipitous Giveaway? In honor of our Serendipity Woods Shop Launch, we wanted to share with you some of the great product lines we carry at our Serendipity Woods Etsy Shop, along with several great ways to win a great little stash of Quilting loooove (Giveaway guidelines below the photos)!

A Giveaway at Serendipity Woods!

A Giveaway at Serendipity Woods!

Included in this Giveaway: 1 – 5″ Charm Pack/Stacker of EACH of the Following:

Modern Minis Collection

Modern Minis by Lori Holt, for Riley Blake Designs.

Berries & Blossoms by Peg Conley for Clothworks.

Berries & Blossoms by Peg Conley for Clothworks.

1930s Minis by Erin Turner for Penny Rose Fabrics.

1930s Minis by Erin Turner for Penny Rose Fabrics.

  • 1 Jelly Roll/Design Roll/Rolie Polie:
Wish, by Valori Wells for Free Spirit.

 Wish by Valori Wells, for Free Spirit Fabrics.

  • 1 Large 1422 yard Spool of the Most Excellent Thread on the Planet…
Aurifil 50 wt 2021

Aurifil, in color 2021, 50 wt.

  • 1 – 10 count package of…
Wonderclips.

 Wonderclips for easy binding!

As promised, the ‘several ways to win’ part – For each of the following, you’ll receive one entry:

  • Comment on THIS post, with your favorite item in this giveaway stash.
  • Like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CharlotteLovesHenry
    • Comment on the post there about this Giveway
  • Follow us on Instagram https://instagram.com/pamselkirk/
    • Comment on the post there about this Giveaway
  • Follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/SerendipityPam
    • (Do I sound like a broken record yet?) Comment on the Post there about this Giveaway
    • Oh! You could retweet too, let’s make that another way to win an entry

As I count them, that’s 8 opportunities to be entered. Now since this is the very first Giveaway we’ve ever done, I can’t help but want to share the following blurb, with heartfelt sincerity: I don’t ever want anyone to feel annoyed or pressured about a Serendipity Woods Giveaway. For this reason, we probably won’t do them often. The reality is that Giveaways are a great way to connect with more people that make take interest in what I have to share here at the CLH blog and also the items we sell at our Serendipity Woods Shop. But REALLY – what’s most important to me is the ability to connect with quilters like me who fall in love with fabrics and notions and just want to share our favorite stuff about quilting. Of final mention: Please feel free to take advantage of as many, or as few, of the above opportunities to enter this, or any other Giveaway the comes down the pike. This Giveaway – Rules/Guidelines:

  • Entries will be collected through Thursday, July 2, at 12:00am (midnight) EST
  • Open to US Residents only (sorry abroad friends – I promise to catch you on another Giveaway soon!)
  • Winner will be announced here, there, and everywhere On Friday, July 3rd.

I think that’s everything! Cheers and Good Luck, Pam

We’re Up and Running – Really…Finally…and With Bunnies to Help!

Hi All,

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you already know that our new Serendipity Woods Shop is up, running and feeling groovy! While not originally intended, my bunnies just sort of eeked their way into this new, otherwise unrelated, world of quilt fabric and notions, and frankly – I couldn’t be more delighted to have them along.

Charlie, our new resident Aurifil Expert, who really just loves all the colors!

Charlie, our new resident Aurifil Expert, who really just loves all the colors!

Sophie & her Favorite: 1930's Minis

Sophie & her Favorite: 1930’s Minis

Charlotte & Henry with our New (Yummy!) Kona Solids!

Charlotte & Henry with our New (Yummy!) Kona Solids!

And Lastly…

Henry Loves the Blue Wiltshire Daisy Bundle Best.

Henry Loves the Blue Wiltshire Daisy Bundle Best.

As always, I thank you for the support you’ve given us so far.  I promise, now that we are finally really up and running, I’ll be able to stay better in touch!

Cheers,

Pam and Crew

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