Wednesday, June 04, 2014

And So They Sewed!

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See this spool of thread?

I’m about to confess to something that might make some of you shake your heads and waggle your fingers at me ---BUT:

I started longarm machine quilting in 1995.  I can’t tell you how many hundreds of dollars I have spent on cones of machine quilting thread. Large and small, 40 wt, 100 percent cotton, brands like Superior, King Tut, and yes, even Star when only a small amount was needed in a color to complete a small quilt ---hence the remains of the chubby spool you see here.

While I love expensive thread, I can’t justify letting a fortune in heavier longarm quilting thread just sit there and rot.

I’m sewing with it.  And I’ve found a way to make it feed easier on my machines…these chubby spools get an empty aurifil spool inserted inside.  This neon green thread is ALMOST a neutral, isn't it?  And better than that, it is ALMOST GONE.

Heavier thread does take up more space in the seam allowance.  And so I measure my units and adjust the seam accordingly.  It’s the unit size that matters –just compensate for the thickness of the thread by adjusting your seam allowance width.

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We've been busy little quilters today!

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Adventures in Chain Pressing!

These photos are not in color because this quilt has a deadline for a future publication – still I couldn't leave you high and dry, could I?  I love to chain press….and snip my units apart on top of the ironing board after pressing.   It keeps everything in order, in the same orientation, and is so much quicker than picking up one unit at a time to press it.  Try it, you’ll like it!

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Progress being made!

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Good Morning, Sunshine!

This morning we awoke to a beautiful dawn ---but we had to WAIT a few hours before heading out for a morning walk –because…check this out:

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Barely over 30 degrees!!  Holy COLD!

The high desert warms up rapidly – by the time we were out at 9am, we barely needed a sweat jacket.  By the time our walk was done, jackets were tied around our waists and we were panting…

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Pond on our walk!

And something I’ve been asked to do---I’ve been sharing “Quiltville of the Day” over on Instagram and Facebook, sharing ONE quilt a day from a past book, lest it be forgotten!  Emails have come in suggesting I post them HERE also for those who don’t use Instagram or Facebook.  So I’ll be posting these in my evening posts for the next while –one quilt a day!  Maybe you’ll find one you haven’t seen before that you want to make.

Or you will remember that yes, you bookmarked that page already and really want to start it!


Today’s Quilt:  Mad City Mama!

Mad City Mama was featured in the first Adventures with Leaders & Enders book.  Named after a menu item on a brew pub menu in Madison Wisconsin—Mad City Mama’s Meat Loaf was not to be forgotten!  Signed copies of Adventures with Leaders & Enders and other titles available HERE.

And with that I better get back to the machine --There is more patchwork to be sewn!

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  1. You clever girl...black and white photos! Enjoy your time sewing! Love the quilt a day!

  2. Bonnie- waste not want not! I am just like you when it comes to thread. I sew a lot of play clothes and 'pjs' for the grandkids and if you turn them inside out lord only knows what color thread you will find....I started doing this as a single parent making a living sewing clothes for other people I was barely scraping by and NOTHING was ever wasted... have fun on the left coast!!!

  3. Bonnie, you crack me up! I would be over run with thread spools if I didnt use up the *little left* ones--I do that more specifically with your quilts :-) scraps and scraps!! If I could walk in 30 degree weather right now, I wouldnt hesitate! enjoy your stint on the West Coast.

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  5. See why we think of you as one of us!!! I won't just let threads etc. rot or get thrown away either. My cash is not growing on a tree in the yard LOL...

    LOVE that quilt!!!!! AH another to-make Bonnie quilt.
    Smiles, JulieinTN

  6. Bonnie, The best way to use those cross wound spools is by pulling off the top. That is why newer machines have two types of thread spools, one for cross wound, the horizontal so thread is coming off the top and one for straight wound where you pull from the side. With your antique machines that don't have the alternative spool holder you should try the stand alone that brings it up through the bracket....The Bernina folks I ought my machine from taught me this information.

  7. I use up all those extra Bobbins when I'm chain piecing, too. I'm glad you had time to enjoy a walk today! That ;s a BUNCH of 4-patches!!!

  8. WHAT a tease!!! love the fact that you are hiding it though there are so few surprises in life anymore


  9. I use up all old thread and bobbins for piecing too! Waste not want not!

    I LOVE that quilt! Will have to go back through the books and marke it as a to do! Of course most of the quilts in your books are marked as to dos! LOL!!

    Glad you are having fun. Looking forward to seeing the reveal!

  10. I love the B/W photos.....too cute!

  11. do the same, why waste thread!

  12. me too, why waste thread!!

  13. I've used longarm quilting thread for quite some time. Especially when it gets down to not enough to quilt even a small quilt and I like to sew with matching thread when I can. Guess it's the former seamstress in me coming out. Thanks for the idea of black and white photos on a top secret project. :)

  14. I like to use those partial spools of thread that you will probably never use again when I am making string blocks using stitch and flip where accurate seam allowances are not crucial. Thanks for sharing your quilt of the day here.

  15. How clever! An empty Aurifil spool. I continue to learn how to make do from you. Thanks!!

  16. Bonnie, you have converted me to using up spools of thread without much regard for color. I agree, that thread is too darned expensive. Plus some day 100 years from now, when the quilt archivists are looking at my quilts, they will be scratching their heads and wondering what I was up to with all the different colored threads in my quilts. Love the tip about using the empty Aurifil spool as a filler with the larger one. And, I have pulled out my copy of the first Leaders and Enders book to see what else is in there that I have forgotten.

  17. I always use my old bobbins and thread. My college professor would be horrified. She was the matchy matchy type. But then again that was clothing.

    Love the idea of posting previous quilts. I forget what I have seen in books. To many choices, so little time. Would love for Open Studio folks to post their version of your quilts from previous books as well. Same time that you do. What fun!! Great way to get color choice ideas.

  18. Ah-HUH!!! I knew I wasn't the only one....LOL!!...fact is I love that thread! :)

  19. I've been happily reading your blog for awhile now Bonnie. Just wanted to say thank you for all the wonderful things you share, so warmly and so enthusiastically!
    Chain pressing - what a great idea!
    I love your 301 - I have one too and think it is the Bomb!

  20. I love this last quilt . The one not colourd i hope see it soon
    I have a question please
    The corners which is 25 small squres how you mesure the exact size?

  21. Oh Bonnie, your post is really spooky today, I took my copy of Adventures with Leaders and Enders to work today so I could peruse it at lunch time looking for my next quilt and which one did I decide on. None other than Mad City Mama. My leaders and Enders for the last year have been 1 1/2 inch four patches and I want to start lozenges so I am looking for something to do with the four patches. Here I am in rural Australia and I just love your books and quilts, thank you for everything you share with us. I wish someone would sponsor you to come to Australia one day soon.
    Take care and a big thank you

  22. Love the colors in "mad city mama". Great idea to post one each day. Lorna (Willmar).

  23. No wagging fingers from me! I use my quilting thread to empty almost empty cones AND cones I no longer want to have available for customers to choose from. I have been winding my bobbins with Signature for years because I have the stand alone bobbin winder and it is easier to have a box of 24 bobbins ready instead of stopping each time I run out to rewind.

  24. I like your way of thinking Bonnie, I do things like that too...there are no quilt police in my sewing room. Got my copy of Quiltmaker Magazine yesterday and MUST do the quilt you have in there.

  25. I too piece with whatever thread is at hand, especially if being scrappy. adjusting the seam allowance ... hadnt thought of that I just sew bigger units and trim down if I am working a pattern.
    if scrappy and the same project it doesn't matter I get the center big enough then add the border and mooove on down the road.....

  26. Shireen D8:55 PM EDT

    Love your tips and photo's Bonnie. So easy to read and also caters for visual people that like to see what you're writing about. Long time fan here. Keep doing awesome Bonnie. We love it.


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