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Fabric and quilting.....you'll like this newsletter!!
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Well it's school holidays in my little part of the world so that means I have a long long list of things to achieve whilst not teaching. Usually that also means I have a long long list at the conclusion of the holidays too....lol.
I am endeavouring to complete a special quilt and am about to quilt it.

I will talk about quilting later in this newsletter, but for now check out these 

rolls of fabric yumminess

I have been busy rolling some lovely 5" fabric strips. I find smaller bundles of fabrics perfect for English paper Piecing projects. These 5" strips can also be cut into 5" charms......imagine all the possibilities.
Choose from..........

Vintage florals from Skipping Stones Studio
Pretty Paisleys from 3 Sisters
Folky Style in mauves and blues by Lynette Anderson
Retro style of Riley Blake design by Sue Daley

Each roll is only $22 each
Bump up your fabric stash by buying all 4 rolls and I'll pop a 

FREE CHARM PACK

into your package!!

Just scroll through  Sandy's Selections category, pick which charm pack you'd prefer and leave me a comment in the order notes with your choice.
I quilt all my own quilts, and I am self taught. I always get quizzed on how I manage to achieve such lovely results, so.......

Let's talk about quilting

Sandwiching
I have no fancy ways to sandwich my quilts. I like to use 100% cotton batting for it's vintage type of appeal when quilted.ie it has weight and drapes nicely. I steer clear of all the adhesives such as iron on battings and sprays as I value my sewing machine too much and feel they add certain chemicals which my quilt and sewing machine don't need. I baste onto a table, securing the backing with old-fashioned bulldog clips, and basting using safety pins, repositioning and re-clipping sections of larger quilts, and I get lovely flat results using this method.

Quilting Designs
I have just re-stocked my quilting 'bibles'!!. I just love Keryn Emmersen's quilting design packs and use them endlessly. Each pack is jam packed with designs for continuous quilting (that is imperative as it means there's no stopping and starting required). You can use your printer/copier to re-size the motifs/ designs to fit your quilt. Each design is printed on A4 or A3 paper to make this super easy for you.

 
Marking a design
I will sometimes mark simple designs with the Sewline air erasable marker. It simply disappears after several hours, and is safe for lighter fabrics too.
More detailed designs such as feathers etc which are generally taken from the design packs above, I will mark onto Golden Threads quilting paper using a Pilot Fineliner pen from the local stationary shop. (be careful when marking your paper as some pencils and pens will get picked up by your needle and transfer to your quilt....I learnt this the hard way.... and only use a pilot pen now!)
This paper is fantastic.
I can't recommend it enough, and it's the secret to my quilting success, as it takes the fear of losing your direction away completely.
This is a fine paper, you trace the design onto it, pin it to your quilt and simply stitch over the lines, and tear the paper away afterwards. Of course you need your machine set to free motion quilt (ask your sewing machine shop to help you with this.....you may need to purchase a special foot). 

18" wide x 20 yards for $29.50

12" x 20 yards roll for $24 
Just cut long strips and sticky tape them together for your borders...too easy!!
Thread
I like to use Madeira Bobbinfill in my bobbin. These are pre-wound and hold so much thread so you don't need to stop and start to re-fill your bobbins. I like the way the thread kind of disappears into the quilty folds, even on darker fabrics.....it's all I ever use. You may need to slightly adjust your bobbin tension.
I have a Pfaff machine with a small bobbin casing,and so I gently peel the paper from each side of the Madeira bobbin and I find it works better. Don't worry the thread does not unwind, it stays perfectly well together without the paper sides.
And for the top, I just use a good quality thread such as Guuterman, in a colour to suit. I prefer cotton, I'm not into shiny effects as I like the more traditional styles.

Gloves
If you want to drive your quilt smoothly around all the curves of your quilt design with ease, then you need good quilting gloves. I love Machingers Gloves. Only the tips are 'dipped' and the rest is light cotton, perfect for our climate to avoid hot sweaty hands. Using gloves helps to reduce shoulder/back strain.
Your machine
Now you have seen all the tools I love and use when quilting, we should talk about machines. That old saying that a workman shouldn't blame his tools is pretty much the case here I think. All my quilting is performed on my domestic Pfaff machine. It is a good computerised machine but not 'Mickey Mouse", top of the range and not new!!

You need to have your machine set up for free motion quilting ie lower the feed dogs, adjust your tension if need be, and use a foot that allows you to lower the presser foot part way down so it allows quilt movement (differing machine brands call this differing names)


It is usually the operator not the machine that provides the lack of confidence, as long as your machine is set correctly.

The most important thing
Practise, practise, practise. I could have nearly covered the floor space in my house with practise quilts/pieces in the early days!!!
Also.......relax, be in the right frame of mind to embrace a new challenge, and maybe enjoy a glass of wine to loosen up your joints!!....lol....but seriously I do think this advise (that was passed onto me) has helped....only one!!  I am NOT saying 'hit the bubbles'....those girls who this refers to will know who they are!!!!
The main point is you need to relaxed. It is only fabric and there's plenty more everywhere. Obviously don't attempt to quilt your masterpiece for your first attempt!
Good luck, and let me know if my tips and tricks have helped in any way..
So happy sewing.
If your children are home on holidays, I hope you are having a lovely family time......
I'll be back very soon with Lucy Boston Block 6. 
Sandy
Copyright © 2015 Shiralee Stitches, All rights reserved.


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