Tag Archives: Aurifil thread

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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.

Keep up with Sarah by signing up for the Sarah Goer Quilts Newsletter.

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The thread featured in this post was given to my by Aurifil.

Seven years ago, when they were small, I started making garments for my children. They were fun little projects and much faster than making and finishing a quilt. These clothes were all made out of quilting cotton, though once I made a satin skirt for a friend's daughter. Quilting cotton is easy to sew with.

For years now I've been wanting to make garments for myself. In August of 2017, I started listening to the new, weekly Love to Sew podcast. Co-hosts Helen and Caroline are an inspiration as they "engage with the global sewing community and encourage listeners to create their dream wardrobe by sewing their own clothes." But still, I didn't sew myself a single garment. In January 2018, Caroline's shop, Blackbird Fabrics, offered a black and white bamboo jersey knit (95% rayon from bamboo/5% spandex). One of the things I love about her shop is that the fabric listings include recommendations for what types of garments a fabric is suitable for. This information is gold to a newbie garment sewist! And I'd been wanting to make a Blackwood Cardigan. So I ordered the fabric. And I love it. The more than two-year procrastination of actually making said cardigan was some combination of not liking the size I am, intimidation about sewing knits, and living an overextended/busy life. As an Aurifil Artisan for 2019-2020, I was delighted to see Me Made May as the May Artisan Challenge. I seriously thought I'd get it done way ahead of time and then share it in May. Nope. True to form, I was still sewing at the 11th hour. Last Friday, I started cutting out my fabric.

This project was the perfect opportunity for me to try out Aurifil 40/3. This thread was created with longarmers in mind, but I'd heard of other garment sewists who prefer this weight for their garments. It worked well for me. I pieced my cardigan using a zigzag stitch with a stretch needle. Due to my inexperience with sewing knits, during my test sewing I struggled to get a nice topstitch that didn't create puckers. So I opted to leave the pockets off (where will I put my M&Ms!?) and I should add topstitching to the front band later (the final step). I'll continue with the trial and error of finding the right settings/needle combination to get a result I like for topstitching. More needles are on the way!

My 8-year-old daughter took photos of me in the cardigan.

The pattern was clear and easy to follow. It certainly could have been sewn in a day or two. My cardigan is the long view in XXL of the original version of the pattern (equivalent to a 20/22 B-cup in the current version). I added 2" of length since I'm 5'7" and like my cardigans long. I don't think this was necessary, but I figured that I'd rather it be too long than too short for my liking. :-) It was hard for me to measure myself to really understand how long the pattern would be on me... and I failed to take into consideration that it would stretch a bit when it was on from the weight of the fabric.

Tips from my experience sewing my first knit garment:

  • Be really careful of fabric stretching when you lay it out to cut.
  • Mark notches using a marking pen.
  • Pin liberally.
  • Do a lot of test sewing to find a stitch that works well. Label each sample with your settings/needle. (See above.)
  • Maybe don't choose stripes for your first project. It added a level of difficulty.
  • Try stretch, jersey, and ballpoint needles (as the pattern recommends) as you may get different results with each.

Check out what others are sewing and wearing for Me Made May on Instagram at #memademay. See more Blackwoods at #blackwoodcardigan.

Since I mentioned them, here are a few of my favorite garments that I made for the kids years ago:

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When I heard that this week's Project QUILTING challenge was Vibrant and Vivacious I immediately thought rainbow.

Before I forget, this is your official reminder that we're nearing the end of Show Me Something Rainbow! Be sure to link up your finished rainbow projects by the end of March. There's still time to finish something up in the next nine days. :-)

I chose a rainbow of fabric in lighter and more vibrant tones. I realized as I started piecing that my wonky, irregular log cabin wasn't really very wonky, but I went with it. My strips were cut without a ruler, approximately 1.5" wide.

Once my quilt top was complete, I started to consider my options for quilting. I couldn't resist pulling a rainbow of thread for the quilting. Including white for attaching the binding, I used 14 colors of thread on this project.

From left to right, the thread I used: Aurifil 50wt Light Lilac (#2510), Light Robin's Egg (#2710), Light Avocado (#2886), Champagne (#2105), Fleshy Pink (#2420), Baby Pink (#2423), Dove (#2600), Red (#2250), Burnt Orange (#1133), Yellow (#2135), Green (#2870), Medium Delft Blue (#2783), Dark Violet (#2582).

I considered wishbone quilting but opted for this variation with loops on one end and points on the other. In the end, I like that my quilting looked like a series of Vs for the Vibrant and Vivacious challenge. I wish I could say I planned it. ;-)

My quilt finished at 16" x 16". The great part about making a mini this size is that you can back it with a fat quarter. I chose this black and white silhouette fabric for my backing. I wanted black and white so my many colors of thread would be visible on the back.

Thanks for visiting. Be sure to hop over to Kim's blog to see the 100+ quilts made this week for the Vibrant and Vivacious challenge.

And on to my next rainbow project! I'm participating in the Mini Series SAL on Instagram and I've chosen a rainbow to feature in my blocks.

I've linked up to Free Motion Mavericks.