Tag Archives: Aurifil thread

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Six for six! This little quilt completes season 12 of Project QUILTING. And true to form, I waited until the last 24 hours of the one-week challenge to get started. And as you know, the later I start, the smaller the quilt gets. ;-)

This week's challenge is Ab Intra, or "from within." At first glance, I think the theme is a little intimidating. But really, there are so many options. So far, there have been a variety of deep, personal, or lighthearted submissions.

It was hard for me to roll over the one year mark of being home during the pandemic this week. Beyond the general stress of the pandemic and the waiting for our turns in the vaccination line, there are numerous things that have been weighing on me recently. I told a friend I may just make a quilt of this emoji: 🤯 (the head exploding), because that’s it what’s inside a lot of the time these days. I consider this little improv quilt to be the fabric equivalent of that idea. I had no plan, just grabbing a couple solids to get started and moving between the sewing machine and the cutting table as I worked.

My quilt finished at 5" x 6 1/2". I used Aurifil 50 wt Desert Dawn Variegated (#4648) for my quilting and binding, chosen because it was leftover from another project and already had a bobbin wound. It was backed and bound with remnants. (One of the best parts of smaller quilts is the likelihood that I have remnant binding made that will work for the project.) I quilted with a zig zag meander, one of my favorites. This quilt marks Day 50 of my 100 Days of Free Motion Quilting. (I'm overdue on sharing on the blog, but I've been posting daily on Instagram @sarahgoerquilts.)

A shadowy pic to show off the texture:

Plenty big for my water cup and room for a snack!

Be sure to hop over to see the other entries this week!

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This week's Project QUILTING challenge is You're Crazy, inspired by the "crazy quilt" movement of the late 1800s. I honestly hesitated a bit about participating, because I've become more aware of ableist language and I've tried to edit the word crazy out of my everyday vocabulary. Ableism is defined as discrimination or social prejudice against people with disabilities based on the belief that typical abilities are superior. It includes the use of ableist words, many of which people don't realize have an impact on people with disabilities. If this isn't a concept you're familiar with, I encourage you to check out those two links above.

But in the context of this challenge the word "crazy" is being used as a historical reference to a widely known style of quilts from another time. I've chosen for my small piece to be inspired by crazy quilts by the style of piecing, use of a non-quilting cotton fabric (the denim I used to back it), omission of batting, and use of embroidery (which I used to hand quilt my little art quilt).

I chose a variety of embroidery stitches in five colors of Aurifloss. MMXXI = 2021 for the year.

My piece finished at approximately 6" x 6".

Old jeans for the backing.

I'm linking up with Project QUILTING. Hop over to see how others were inspired by the quilts of the 1800s.

P.S. My Show Me Something March linkup post will be coming out soon. But, FYI, this month it's Show Me Something with Squares! (I hope to see some creative uses of squares, but welcome

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The products featured in this post were given to me by Aurifil, OLFA, and Michael Miller.

I'm excited to share that I'm today's stop for the final 2020 installment of the Aurifil Slice and Stitch Challenge. Way back in November of 2019 I signed up as one of the Aurifil Artisans to participate. I was very excited about the Color Builder thread boxes that Aurifil had recently released. (They are such a feast of color!)

For the challenge I received the Florence Brown Aurifil Color Builder with three large spools of 50wt in Ermine (#2312), Toast (#6010), and Chocolate (#2360), a trio of Michael Miller Cotton Couture fat quarters in Khaki, Ginger, and Brown, an OLFA 28mm rotary blade (with refills), and a 24” x 36” OLFA cutting mat in Navy.

I enjoy planned improv piecing. I start with a set of rules or guidelines. This might be a color palette, a tool, a technique, or something else. My color palette and tools were provided for me. I knew I wanted to add a little bit of another color. Eventually, I landed on improv curves as my plan. (Scroll down for a mini tutorial on how I cut and sew improv curves.)

Initially I was considering a table runner with improv curves in khaki, ginger, and brown and thought I'd appliqué on some leaves in fall colors. I'm not terribly fond of the process of appliqué, so I pivoted to just improv curves. I eventually settled on a two-sided square table topper, because I had just enough fabric to make it entirely from my three fat quarters.

To complement the curved piecing, I opted for organic, curved walking foot quilting in four colors, adding a tiny splash of color with Aurifil 50wt Dark Turquoise (#4182).

My finished quilt is 16 1/2" x 16 1/2".

Thank you to Aurifil, OLFA, and Michael Miller for supplying me with everything featured in this quilt.


Improv Curve Tutorial

In general when I create improv curve piecing I make units that are oversized and trim them down after piecing. In the third photo from the top of this post above you can see my in progress work on my cutting table. The top and bottom edges are not aligned at all. If I wanted to create an 8" block I would probably start with pieces of fabric that were 10" wide.

Step 1: Lay two fabrics right side up, overlapping by a couple inches. (Not shown.) Slowly and carefully (keep those fingers out of the way!) cut through both layers with your rotary cutter (but no ruler or template), making a smooth improv curve. Always cut away from you. Remove the edges you've cut off of both fabrics so you have two pieces that fit together like a puzzle with the same curve cut. (This is more easily seen in the step 2 bottom photo below.) Here I have removed a little of the khaki fabric to the right of the cut and the edge of the brown fabric to the left of the cut:

Step 2: Using your marking method of choice, mark points that align on the two fabrics. Here I have chosen to use two straight pins, one in the khaki and one in the brown. These points should line up when piecing the fabrics together. If the fabrics are difference lengths, also mark where the edge of one fabric hits the other. I have not pinned the fabrics together at this point, as you can see in the second photo below.

Step 3: Flip the right piece of fabric over and place onto the left piece, right sides together. Use your marks as a guide for pinning the two pieces at those points only. Since I had two pins that were used for marking I have pinned twice at each point. A single pin should work fine as well.

Step 4: Sew with a quarter inch seam allowance. The curved cut gives you a bit of stretch along the edge of your fabric. As you sew, gently stretch the (only the) longer fabric between each pair of pins. This will change depending on which part of the curve you are on. In general, you'll be gently stretching the fabric that has a concave curve in that section. Do not remove pins until you get close to them. Take care to make sure that your bottom fabric is laying flat to avoid puckers. If you are ending up with too much of one fabric when you get close to the pin try stretching the longer fabric a bit more when you sew that section. This part take a little finesse, so practice until you like your results. Smoother, flatter curves will be easier to sew. This technique is not recommended for a drunkard's path 1/4 circle where the two pieces really need to be cut from different templates.

I generally prefer to press my seams open, but improv curves are a time when I press the way the fabric wants to go. If you are using high contrast fabrics you should be able to press to the dark side. And if you want to try it, pressing open can work as well. The seam shown above is the left seam below on the finished back of the quilt.


Sarah is a quilt artist, pattern designer, teacher, and lecturer who is passionate about using bold color and geometric design in both traditional and improv quilts. She enjoys inspiring others in their creativity. As a former math teacher Sarah loves the geometry and math of quilting. She is currently visiting guilds virtually to present lectures and workshops on Zoom. Sarah lives in San Jose, California with her husband and two quilters kids.

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