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WonderFil Specialty Thread Blog

WonderFil brings you the latest news, events, upcoming thread lines and special tips and advice. Follow WonderFil Specialty Threads on our social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Youtube.

Our Teacher of the Month: Australian Helen Rhodes

Calista Ngai

 
Helen met Andrew ( WonderFil's founder) at a show in Melbourne in 2009.

Helen met Andrew ( WonderFil's founder) at a show in Melbourne in 2009.

Helen Rhodes

Helen does art quilts that depict the flora and fauna of her native Australia. She started out as a florist, which gives her a real understanding of the colors and dimensions of plant life.She teaches at retreats and workshops all over Australia, and has a large sewing/teaching facility on her property in a rural area one hour south of Perth in Western Australia.Helen got up at 2:00 am her time to let out her dog and grant us this interview!

 

Q: How did you start making art quilts?
A: A few years ago my husband had a stroke and I had to quit my job to be his full time care-giver. I was told that it would be important for me to find something to do when I wasn't caring for him, so I took up quilting. I used to paint watercolors in my spare time, so the transition to art quilting was a natural one. ( My husband is recovering nicely).

Q: Where do you find the inspiration for your quilts?
A: I live in Western Australia. It is a huge state with a low population that is know for its mining and wineries, but it also has incredible scenery and is famous for its wildflower season ( September- October). My father raised us to really appreciate nature and there is a wealth of plant and animal life for me to observe where I live.

Q: What are your favorite WonderFil threads?
A: I use DecoBob in my bobbin 100% of the time. It is perfect when you are doing a lot of stitching. And I absolutely love Mirage! It has such brilliant intensity and shine. Because it is random dyed,I just watch what color is coming off the spool and move my work accordingly to accent a different area. I will then use Accent ( 12 weight rayon) in areas I want more emphasis.When I want less shine, I will use Konfetti Tutti, and Fruitti.

Q. What is next for you?
A. I will be teaching at the Misty Mountain Getaway next week.Then I would love to take 2-3  months just to travel through Western Australia and photograph and paint the area.
 

 

WonderFil Thread Uses Chart

Calista Ngai

WonderFil carries 25 lines of thread ranging from 100wt to 3wt in different materials. Have you ever had hard time deciding which thread to use for your projects out of all those thread lines? This Thread Uses chart will help you to decide which thread will best suit your projects!

Download PDF File here
Find out all WonderFil thread lines here

Our Teacher of the Month: Susan K Clevelandp

Calista Ngai

 
Susan has been in the WonderFil Teacher Program since 2010. She has designed a line of Spagetti colors exclusively for WonderFil

Susan has been in the WonderFil Teacher Program since 2010. She has designed a line of Spagetti colors exclusively for WonderFil

Susan K Cleveland

Susan is a quilt designer/author/teacher/inventor and admirer of all things quilterly! Her quilts are loosely based on traditional designs with a fair bit of unexpected surprises and details. They showcase precision piecing, thread embellishments and bold color. Piping is used in her quilts to accent curves and special binding techniques. She enjoys sharing her quilts and passing along her techniques to others.


Q: How did you start quilting?
A: I have been sewing since I was a child, mostly making garments and home decorations. When my kids were small I went into a fabric store and saw a panneled fabric that coordinated with a tablecloth I had, so I decided to make a wall hanging. I remember being upset that the panels didn't allow enough fabric for a 5/8" seam allowance!

Q: How many quilts do you estimate you have made?
A: My records show that I've made about 170 quilts. I can't believe it myself! I mostly make smaller quilts and wall hangings. I enjoy using a variety of techniques and like to incorporate several techniques in each quilt.

Q: You use such vibrant colors in your quilts;where do you find your inspiration ?
A: I have no idea! I attend a lot of quilt shows and get a lot of exposure to what others are doing. I like to use a lot of color in each quilt. I will usually lay it all out and see what I like. Then I have to step away for the night and revisit it the next day. Sometimes what I loved yesterday, I don't even like today.

Q: What materials do you work with?
A: I like to work with solids and prefer hand dyed fabrics that have very subtle texture.

Q: What are your favorite WonderFil threads?
A:  Spagetti!! When I first started quilting, I realized that I didn't enjoy free motion quilting. There are so many people that do such a beautiful job of it, but it just wasn't my thing.Then I was lucky enough to attend some classes by Maurine Noble and Libby Lehman.They really influenced me. They taught me how to quilt with the feed dogs up, which led me to enjoy working with heavier threads, and Spagetti is perfect for that. I also love InvisaFil , as I  like to stitch in the ditch, and machine appliqué and the InvisaFil disappears beautifully. I love to pass my passion on to my students, and quilters are so appreciative, that teaching is a joy!


Visit Susan's Website

Our Teacher of the Month: Dominique Ehrmann!

Calista Ngai

Lady Gabie

Lady Gabie

 
Dominique specializes in 3D quilting and Thread Painting

Dominique specializes in 3D quilting and Thread Painting

Dominique Ehrmann

Dominique lives in Ste Sophie Québec in a house she and her husband built surrounded by a pine fôrest. "I was a Chocolateand special event cake makerfor more than 25 years, creating customizedcenter pieces. I discovered quilting and wall hangings in 2005; it was a life changing experience. Since then, I have taught myself to quilt, to draw and to create 3D quilts because it is the way I imagine them. I put my chocolate career behindand started teaching in 2007, at Courtepointe Claire in Laval. I am still teaching mostly there but now I travel to teach and give lectures in Québec, Ontario, and US. My quilts are different and when I enter a contest, I never know if I will win a ribbon or be rejected. Since 2008 I have entered contests and won awards every year. I am known to 'rock the boat' in the quilting world because the show organizers do not quite know where to categorize my work."

 

Q: What was your first 3D quilt?
A: My first quilt was called Lady Gabie (image above). It was named after, and made for my oldest daughter, who was turning 25 and just graduating from design school. I wanted a gift that would impress her! I was also thinking of the day when she would have children of her own, and wanted them to be able to see the quilt from their level. I first built it  in scale out of cardboard, then got to work with my quilt.

Q: Where do you find your inspiration for your quilts?
A: My projects always start with a story. I tend to think in 'cartoons', and I always need the story first. I believe my work with chocolate may have also affected my approach, as  I specialized in 3D centerpieces. My father was an architect and I inherited the desire to 'build' ( I used to take my toys apart to see how they were made). My husband and I built our house when we were 22, just the two of us. It took us three years.

Q: What materials do you work with?
A: I work with traditional quilting materials and my 3D quilts are all sewn...I never use glue. I want them to still be soft like a quilt. I do sometimes use foam for structure.

Q: What are your favorite WonderFil threads?
A:  I always say that if I were on a deserted island, the one thread I would have with me is InvisaFil ( 100 weight polyester). I use it in the top and bobbin for piecing, in the top for quilting, and I can double it or triple it up in the top, with different colors to create different effects. I use it for hand stitching my binding on, and for hand and machine applique.


Visit Dominique's Website

 

Making a Placemat for Your Easter Table

Calista Ngai

Here is a simple idea to freshen your Easter table. It requires few supplies, and is quick and easy to make. WonderFil threads add the color and fun!

Materials:

  • 14" x 18" Fabric. (We used a firm white linen, but a burlap would also be cute for a more rustic look.)
  • Scraps of fabric for rooster and fusible web.
  • WonderFil™ Threads for couched edge: We used WonderFil™ Eleganza #3 (#EZ09-Seaglass and #EZM30-Crushed Clementine and stitched it down with Tutti (Variegated 50wt cotton-colour #TU02-Bright Day.)
  • WonderFil™ Eleganza #8 in White and Red(#EZ24) for embellishing.
  • InvisaFil (100wt Cottonized Polyester #IF104-White) to stitch hem.

 

image 1

image 1

1. Press down ¼” around perimeter of rectangle.

image 2

image 2

2. Carefully measure a 1” hem around the edge and press again.

image 3

image 3

4. Mark a line with disappearing marker ¾” from pressed hem edge.

5. Pick a spot (not on the corner) and with a large eye needle, thread the two heavier threads from right side to wrong. Starting with the heavier thread ends pulled to the back will make it easier for you to have a clean finish at the end of your work.

 

image 4

image 4

6. On the right side, feed the threads into your cording foot (keepingthe heel of the foot close to where the ends have been pulled to the wrong side)and, following your marked line, begin stitching. You can use a simple zig zag, or pick one of you machine’s decorative stitches. Adjust the width of your stitch so it just clears the top threads on each side. We stitched two threads down at once, but you could opt to stitch two or more single rows. A couching or cording foot like the one pictured is helpful to keep the strands evenly spaced . You will be laying the heavier threads on top of your fabric, and stitching them down with the decorative stitch and Tutti threaded through the needle. As we always do, we used a DecoBob prewound bobbin in the bottom (in white).

 

image 5

image 5

7. When you get to the corner, stop with your machine needle down and to the inside of your rectangle, to make a square corner.

 

image 6

image 6

8. Complete your rectangle, lining up the finished threads with your start.

image 7

image 7

image 8

image 8

image 9

image 9

9. Leaving a tail (image 7), cut your top threads and then use the large eye needle to thread them through to the wrong side (image 8&9). Knot threads and trim them close

 

image 10

image 10

image 11

image 11

10. Using your marking pen, mark a spot double your hem width from the corner (in this case 2”). Make sure you make this measurement from the first ¼”  pressed down hemand not from the raw edge (image 10). Repeat on the other side of the corner (image 11).

 

image 12

image 12

11. On the wrong side of your fabric, draw a line between these two marked points.

 

image 13

image 13

12. Fold the corner right sides together and stitch along this marked line, back stitching at ends. Trim seam to ¼”. Repeat on all 4 corners. This will create mitered corners for your hem. Turn right side out and press lightly.

 

image 14

image 14

13. Using the 100 wt InvisaFil, stitch hem down.

 

14. Cut a half moon shape out of a scrap of fabric for the body of the rooster and a beak and comb shape from another scrap. Use a fusible web paper to fuse these to your place mat in the corner. Use the 8 wt Eleganza to blanket stitch around these shapes. We used a long Bullion knot for the legs, and a daisy stitch for the tail and feet.

Your placemat is complete! You could make just one for a centerpiece, or one for each place setting at your Easter table.

Top 9: Most Popular WonderFil™ Threads

Calista Ngai

We have ranked the "Top 9: Most Popular Wonderfil™ Threads” that people like to use. With this, it gives you an idea to which WonderFil threads and colours people are most interested in, and it will give you a reference to which types of threads to get when you can't decide.. #threadthursday

WonderFil™ 40wt Polyester Threads

Calista Ngai

WonderFil™ Specialty Threads carries 25 lines of threads. Have you ever looked at WonderFil™ threads and thought, “Some of them have same weight(wt) and material, what are the differences between them, and which one should I use?” A very frequent question people ask is about the 40wt polyester threads. WonderFil™ carries 4 lines of polyester threads that are 40wt. Even though they may sound the same, their characteristics and uses are all different. This post will provide answers to your questions so whenever you are trying to choose the right polyester thread for your project, there is no need for hesitation!

Our First Teacher of the Month: Calgarian Ana Buzzalino!

Calista Ngai

Just before the lights come on

Just before the lights come on

 
Ana Buzzalino is a fiber artist and quilt instructor living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Ana Buzzalino is a fiber artist and quilt instructor living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Ana Buzzalino

Ana has been a teacher on a variety of quilting techniques for the past 20+ years.  Some of the recent workshops have focused on free-motion quilting, and on surface design.  She is currently working on a new series of work that includes mixed media.  She is a frequent contributor to Quilting Arts Magazine and Quilting Arts TV.

Ana’s quilts have won several awards at local and national shows, and have been juried into major International shows.  

Ana has been part of our Teacher Program since 2009.

 

Q: How did you start quilting?
A: I was working in downtown Calgary and I went for a walk one day at my lunch hour. I ended up in Kensington and saw a beautiful 'blanket' in a store window, so I went in to ask the lady if I could buy it. She said it wasn't for sale but she could teach me how to make one (it was a quilt shop).So I joined a class and haven't looked back since!

Q: Where do you find your inspiration for your quilts?
A: Everywhere, really. Photos,words in a book, magazines...I have more ideas than I have time to create. So if I start a project that I don't like,I don't necessarily finish it. I only work on what I like.

Q: What are you currently working on?
A: I am doing more dying of my own fabrics, and a lot of free motion work. I will often do small protypes of pieces to make sure they will work in larger pieces. I keep these , and sometimes frame them as small art pieces.

Q: What are your favorite WonderFil threads?
A: I only use DecoBob or InvisaFil in my bobbin. In my needle, I love the 40 weight rayon ( Splendor) because it has such a great sheen and never breaks on me. I also love the variegated Silco (35 weight cotton) because it has such a silky finish.


Visit Anna's Website

 

Dawn over Heritage Park

Dawn over Heritage Park

How to Choose the Right Wonderfil™ Threads

Calista Ngai

WonderFil™ carries rayon, cotton, polyester threads. Many of the experienced quilters would already know the differences of each characteristics and will be able to choose the right threads for various projects but you will actually be surprised to see how many people still find it hard. There are people who struggle when choosing suitable threads for their projects. This chart will give you a better understanding on the different types of threads and how to choose them wisely.

 
 

Quilt Along - Master Quilter™

Calista Ngai

We've started a Quilt Along with several talented ladies, and these are the results of our first month! Every month, we'll be featuring a new thread and our group of Quilt Along participants will use it in their own quilts. The differences in personal style while using the same thread is always interesting and inspiring to see.

Here are the results of Master Quilter™, a 40wt cottonized polyester thread.


Debby Brown Quilts

www.debbybrownquilts.com
Instagram: @DebbyBrownQuilts
Facebook: Debby Brown Quilts

Quilted on a Handi Quilter Sweet 16 using MQ08 - Pink.

Debby Brown has been a Handi Quilter educator since 2005 and has inspired quilters all around the globe. In addition to teaching at retail shop events and guilds, Debby teaches at major quilt shows nationally and internationally, and teaches machine quilting classes at craftsy.com.

Since Debby began quilting in 1986, she has completed several thousand quilts for herself and others. When not busy teaching, she is constantly creating in her studio in upstate New York. She and her husband were just promoted to "grandma and grandpa" and are very enthusiastic about their new roles!


Jodi Robinson

jrdesigns.wordpress.com
Instagram: @jodirdesigns
Facebook: Jodi Robinson

Quilted using MQ06 - Medium Grey on a Gammill Vision 2.0.

Jodi Robinson has been a quilter for the past 22 years, and has been a professional longarm quilter for 20 years. She is a Gammill Quilt Artist, and has been teaching nationally at quilting shows for the past 12 years. Jodi has won numerous national awards for her machine quilting skills, including the award for Best Modern Quilt at AQS shows in 2014, and the Outstanding Modern Quilt Award at the 2015 Road to California show. In addition to teaching, Jodi designs pantograph designs, has self-published nine machine quilting design books, and provides professional longarm quilting services to her clients. Jodi's books and classes focus on using quick and easy methods to create beautiful freehand machine quilting designs that will personalize and make your quilting unique.

What she started with.

What she started with.

Making the basic design with her Crossed Squares stencil.

The designs stitched.

The designs stitched. She will later be adding fills to the design using thinner thread.


Ken Casey

Quilted with Master Quilter™ using a Bernina 440, loosely outlining the water lilies in this beautiful Philip Jacobs print.


Mandy Leins

https://mandalei.com
Instagram: @mandaleiquilts
Facebook: @mandaleiquilts or Mandalei Quilts

Pieced the top using 50wt Konfetti cotton thread and started quilting using Master Quilter.

Mandy is a pattern designer, author, teacher, and longarmer who used to be a classical archaeologist, believing the work of our hands is what connects us to who we are as human beings, and crosses over time and place. 

Mandy’s favorite thing about quilting is that lightning bolt of an idea, nurtured and realized until it is a completed piece. Her inspiration for this piece is our National Parks and standing up for what's right.

Mandy-Leins1.jpg

Angela Clark

www.threadwaggle.com

Used Master Quilter, 50wt Tutti cotton and 40wt Spotlite metallic thread.

Angela used the APQS Quilt Path to build a panto and the merged it with a circle and used 3 different threads. She loved that she could easily switch between 40wt Poly, 12wt cotton and Metallic with very few issues. Her plan is to create a bunch of these and then use the 100wt InvisaFil to fill the background, keeping the style modern and about the thread.


Joanne Flammand

ArtisticQuiltdesign.wordpress.com
Instagram: longarmjo
Facebook: Artistic Quilt Design

I have loved being a long arm quilter for over 6 years! This career has evolved to include a Sales Rep and Teacher for APQS Canada, and the Long Arm Advisor for Wonderfil Threads. I love every aspect of quilting, piecing to binding, and sharing my knowledge in classes and on line, and teach and work out of my Long Arm Jo’s quilting studio in Leduc, Alberta.

This fabric is “snow dyed” from my collection several years ago. The pattern is a design from Sue Patton, traced onto the fabric with a blue wash away pen. Stitched with two colours of Master Quilter: MQ09, Dark Pink, and MQ51, Dark Sky Blue.

Crochet by Machine Tutorial

Calista Ngai

Crochet is a beautiful way to craft or embellish anything from clothing to housewares, however it can also be a time consuming project. Here's an incredible way to replicate the look of crochet by using only your sewing machine and your favourite 12wt WonderFil™ thread! For our demonstration, we're embellishing the edges of a pillowcase using crochet by machine techniques.

Materials:

  • 1 or 2 colours of a 12wt thread (we used Accent™, a 12wt rayon. You can also use Spagetti™ and Fruitti™ if you want a cotton look)
  • Water soluble stabilizer
  • A #16 topstitch needle
  • A bi-level presser foot or an open toe appliqué foot
  • The fabric or project you wish to embellish (we are crocheting the edges of a pillow case in this demo)
  • A sewing machine with an overcasting stitch

Size L bobbins wound with 12wt Accent™ thread.

1. We chose to use two colours of Accent™ thread: ACM01 in the top and AC944 in the bobbin, so that the two colours will blend together in the crochet. To begin, ready some bobbins wound with your selected 12wt thread. The number you will need will vary depending on the amount of stitching you will be doing, however our suggestions are based on crocheting all four edges around a standard square decorative pillow. If your machine uses L Size bobbins, pre-wind 5-6 bobbins. If your machine uses Class 15 bobbins, pre-wind 2-3 bobbins. This will prevent you needing to wind more bobbins during the middle of your stitching.

2. You may need to loosen your bobbin tension before stitching as there is a heavier thread in the bobbin. Select the overcasting stitch on your machine (#36 pictured in the left image below), then attach the presser foot (suggestions in the materials section) to your machine. We used a bi-level presser foot which has a raised level on the bottom of the foot (see image to the right below).

Overcasting stitch #36.

Bi-level presser foot.

3. Pin two or three layers of water soluble stabilizer to the edge of the fabric you plan on crocheting. The stabilizer will be the surface you will be stitching over to create your crochet.

We will be crocheting all four edges of our pillowcase, so have attached water soluble stabilizer to every edge.

4. Choose any side to begin your crochet. If like us, you are stitching all the way around your project, we recommend starting in the middle rather than the corner of your fabric as this will make it easier to line up your crochet when you come back around. Before starting, line up the fabric so that the right side of the needle catches the raw edge of the fabric. Stitch all the way down to the corner and pivot to the next edge.

Starting our stitch.

Stitching down the edge of the fabric.

Pivoting on the corner of the fabric and continuing down.

5. When you finish stitching around your fabric and return to the beginning, select the zigzag stitch on your machine and shorten the stitch length so that the stitches sit close together (satin stitch). Work your way around your fabric again using the new stitch. This will help hold your crochet together.

Selecting a zigzag stitch.

Shortening the stitch length to create a satin stitch.

Stitching around the fabric with a satin stitch.

6. When you have worked your way around the fabric with the satin stitch and return to the beginning, you can now select the stitch you wish to use to create the crochet design. You can choose any decorative stitch on your machine, however it is better to choose one that doesn't stick out too much on the bottom. Depending on which stitch you choose, the crochet will look different in the end. We chose stitch #154 pictured below.

We selected decorative stitch #154 to use for our crochet.

Stitching with a decorative stitch.

7. Before beginning, ensure the left swing of your needle is on the left side of your satin stitch or you will end up with holes in your crochet.

Using the decorative stitch you have chosen, stitch all the way around your fabric once again. When you have made your way around to the beginning, repeat step 6 and use the satin stitch to finish the bottom edge of your stitching, once again working your way around the fabric to the beginning. Your stitching should now look as pictured below.

8. Repeat steps 7 and 6 to create several more layers of decorative stitching. The more layers you stitch, the larger the crochet piece you will create. In total, we stitched 7 layers to create a relatively large crochet piece, however you can do fewer if you want a shorter fringe.

After 3 layers of decorative stitching and satin stitching.

9. When you have finished stitching your crochet layers, wash your project to remove the stabilizer. Your finished project will have a beautiful crochet edge!

Making Serger Lace Tutorial

Calista Ngai

serger lace

If you love the look of lace but don't have the time or patience to painstakingly craft bobbin lace by hand, we have a fast and beautiful solution that only requires a serger and your favourite mid-heavy weight WonderFil™ thread.

Materials:

  • a 4 thread serger
  • 3 spools of Konfetti™ 50wt cotton or 12wt Spagetti™ cotton (we recommend heavier weight thread as it tends to look better).
    * These WonderFil™ cotton threads are the ideal choice as they are extremely low on lint, meaning your serger will stay much cleaner.

image 1

image 2

1. Thread the serger with your thread. It is very important with sergers to put threads in the right order. Use the instruction guide on the machine or have your instruction book out as not all sergers thread the same.

2. Set up the serger for a 3 thread wide overlock stitch. We are going to use our left needle and both loopers. Make the cutting width as wide as possible.

image 3

3. Turn your hand wheel for a couple of stitches into a chain. When you are starting off, one thing that you want to decide is if you want to sew along the raw edge, or you want to fold your fabric up, and do your first row of serging this way. This is the first row (image 3).

image 4

4. For the second row, some people like to lower their upper blade on their serger to do serger lace, but we prefer not to (but that is a decision a sewer can make). On the presser foot there are two markings: one marking for the left needle position, another marking is for the right needle position. Guide the edge of the fabric along the edge of the right needle position and that is the mark we are going to use. Stitch down the entire edge in the new position so you end up with another row of serging (image 4).

image 5

5. When you have completed your second row of stitching, you will repeat step 4 about 5 more times, creating new rows of stitching over the last. This isn’t a technique where you want to sew really fast because you want to make sure that you're catching the previous row of your stitching (otherwise you will end up with holes in your lace). If you find it falling out of position, simply raise the foot and reposition the fabric.

image 6

image 7

6. After 5 rows, do a couple of rows with a shortened stitch length, from length 3 to 2 (image 6 & 7).

image 8

image 8

7. After a few more rows, shorten the stitch length again to 2 or 1 (making stitches even closer together). Create a few more rows until you start to get the wave look (image 8).

10. Your serger lace is now complete!


* When sewing serger lace on a curve or circle, be more gentle when turning the fabric. We recommend having a fabric piece bigger than an 8 inch circle because a smaller circle will make it harder for the serger. Otherwise, all the steps will be exactly the same.

How to Quilt a Thread Painted Surface

Calista Ngai

We're sharing this post by Christine Baker from QUILTsocial, a fantastic site where you can find blogs featuring tips and projects about all things quilting!

A short while ago we posted about thread painting with Konfetti™ and Tutti™ which you can check out here.


Check out my finished thread painting!

I had so much fun playing with my Konfetti™ and Tutti™ threads, embellishing my book cover with thread painting. It’s equally important now to know how to quilt this thread painted surface!

I love how the threads make the fabric designs stand out more – check out the before and after photo of the large flower:

Thread painting with Konfetti™ and Tutti™ – before and after

Thread painting with Konfetti™ and Tutti™ – before and after

Time to rip out the interfacing

The next thing to do before we get quilting, is to rip out the excess interfacing from the back of the fabric. Depending on the type of interfacing you use, you may not need to do this, but mine is “tear-away” interfacing, so it is quite easy to remove. Just follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the type of interfacing that you are using.

Pulling the interfacing away from the back of the fabric

Pulling the interfacing away from the back of the fabric

Layering our quilt sandwich

First of all, let’s press the embellished fabric as it has shrunk in some spots due to the thread painting. Now we need to cut a piece of batting and backing fabric the same size. When I am quilting small pieces like this I love to use 505 Spray.

To use it, first spray your backing fabric with a light coating of the adhesive spray then place your batting on top. Next, spray your batting with the adhesive then place your top fabric on top. Smooth it out with your hands, flip it over and smooth the back and then flip AGAIN and smooth the front one more time. Next we are going to quilt!

Fuse the layers of the quilt sandwich together with 505 Spray

Fuse the layers of the quilt sandwich together with 505 Spray

Quilt as desired

Are you one of those people who just hate it when your instructions say “quilt as desired”? As a pattern designer, I’m guilty of using that phrase, but have no fear!!

For this project I’m just going to meander all over the fabric, avoiding the pieces that I embellished with the thread painting. I’m going to use the pale pink Konfetti™ thread to do my quilting as it will blend in nicely with the white background.

Meander quilting around the thread painting

Meander quilting around the thread painting

Below are some tips from another post by Christine Baker on QuiltSocial. For the full post click here.

Some tips for success with free motion quilting

When I teach my machine quilting class, I ALWAYS give my students these tips BEFORE we start:

  1. Relax and breathe! And don’t be too hard on yourself. Becoming proficient at machine quilting takes practice – LOTS OF PRACTICE.
  2. Free motion quilting is like doodling with your threaded sewing machine needle – so practice with pen and paper first until you get the feel for the new design.
  3. When you first start stitching a new design, first focus on the shape, and then as you get the hang of the shape start to try to get your stitches more uniform in length. If your stitches are really small then you need to move your hands faster. If your stitches are really big, you need to move your hands slower OR speed up your machine.
  4. If you get frustrated, STOP and TAKE A BREAK.
  5. There are no right or wrong ways to execute a particular free motion motif. No one but you knows what design you planned to stitch on your quilt, and therefore no one will know if it looks different than you intended. As you practice you’ll find that you develop your own style of quilting – one that is comfortable for YOU.

Start with the basics – meander (stippling) and loops

The first stitch to learn when machine quilting is stippling or meandering. And then progress to loops. These are the basic building blocks for most other designs. And even if you don’t become comfortable with more complex designs, you CAN meander or stipple quilt any quilt! Here are samples of my meandering and loops and you can also view this YouTube video which goes over the basics of free motion machine quilting.

Meander machine quilting pattern with Fruitti™

Meander machine quilting pattern with Fruitti™

Loops machine quilting pattern with Fruitti

Loops machine quilting pattern with Fruitti

Swirls, swirls everywhere

Once you perfected your loops you can progress onto swirls and waves. These can be used on their own in borders and backgrounds or integrated into other designs with other motifs such as hearts or leaves. Here’s a picture of a few different swirl and wave designs that I often use:

Swirls and waves free motion quilting design

Swirls and waves free motion quilting design

Christine Baker from Fairfield Road Designs demostrates how to free motion quilt a star design using her Gammill longarm.

An Interview with Author, Designer & International Teacher: Sue Spargo

Calista Ngai

We've had a chance to talk to one of our favourite hand embroidery artists: author, designer, and international teacher Sue Spargo! This lovely lady works closely with WonderFil Specialty Threads™ and we've had the opportunity to create several lines of thread (and wool fabric) in her name.

Eleganza™ 8wt, 5wt, & 3wt 100% Egyptian Cotton
Razzle™ 8wt Rayon
Dazzle™ 8wt Rayon + 1 Strand Metallic
Efina™ 60wt 100% Egyptian Cotton
Ellana™ 28wt Wool/Acrylic


Southern Africa had a considerable influence on Sue’s creativity. She was born in Zambia and then educated in South Africa. She is still influenced by the energy and color of traditional African designs. Later Sue moved to England; this shift between two very different environments also inspires many of her designs. All these early experiences combined to stir her love of “primitive” arts and crafts and grew into a focus on contemporary folk-art.

The United States had always beckoned and in 1989 that dream was fulfilled. Sue moved to Connecticut and subsequently to Tennessee, Utah and Ohio. Each new state presented sharp contrasts and stirred more new ideas. With each move she was influenced by many wonderful, quilt enthusiasts.

All Sue’s current designs are available as books or patterns. Her first technique book, Creative Stitching, was published in 2012 followed by Creative Texturing in 2014. Martingale published a coffee table book ‘Stitches to Savor’ of Sue’s work which was released in late 2015.
Sue’s other absorbing passions include being with the four strong and fulfilling personalities that are her children, tending her garden and traveling to new and exciting destinations.

Q&A with Sue Spargo:

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Q:  I understand you have gotten a lot of inspiration from the places you have lived. Is there one particular place that really inspired you?

A: I would have to say that a lot of my influences came from growing up in South Africa. I lived in Johannesburg for most of the first 30 years of my life (apart from a short move to the UK). The colors and art there were a strong influence.

Q: You are known around the world for your beautiful hand stitching. Has that always been your focus?

A: Oh, no. I started out as a traditional quilter. I have really only been doing the hand work for about 8 years. About 15 years ago, I started dabbling with wool, as a way to add texture to my quilts. Then I added a few embellishing stitches. I became fascinated with the texture and depth it added, and I found that my students were very enthusiastic about working with wool.

Q: So did someone teach you the stitches?

A: No, I am totally self-taught. I looked through many books to find the right stitch for the particular piece I was trying to accentuate, and I started to become fascinated with the difference made by the threads I chose.

Q: You are very much in demand as a teacher. What is your favorite part about teaching?

A: I love getting my students to be more creative; I want them to believe they can make their own choices. Rather than saying ’Do this’, I like to encourage them to be their own artist and grow to be confident in their decisions.

Q: Tell me a bit about your company; I understand it is a bit of a family affair.

A: Yes, three of my four children work full time for the company. My daughter Kelly is the manager, my son Jason takes care of the dying of colors, a lot of the graphics for my books, and the ribbons, and my daughter Amy is our accountant, and has really taken charge of our non profit work.

Q: How did you end up partnering with WonderFil for your Eleganza, and your new wool thread (Ellana) and fabrics?

A: That was really all Andrew. He approached me about it for 2 or 3 years in a row at Market, and I always told him I was happy with what I had. But in the end, it was just good timing. The more I did the hand work, the more I understood what I liked and didn’t like about the threads. I really wanted a thread with a shorter variegation, and he understood that. He has always been fabulous to work with, and when he says he is going to do something, he really gets it done.

Q: Do you have a busy year scheduled for 2017?

A: Yes, I am going to start teaching again in January, and I have a couple of new things up my sleeve. I will have a new book out for Market, and of course, we will be promoting the new wool thread and fabric.

Thread Painting with Tutti™ and Konfetti™

Calista Ngai

We're sharing this post by Christine Baker from QUILTsocial, a fantastic site where you can find blogs featuring tips and projects about all things quilting!

Ready…Set…Go!

We are finally ready to get stitching. When you are thread painting (or doing free motion embroidery – both terms are used) you can either stitch with a zig zag or a straight stitch.

If you can NOT drop your feed dogs and have to use a cover that only has a small needle hole, then you can only use a straight stitch. I’m going to try both to see which one I prefer.

First things first – the greenery

I decided to stitch the leaves and stems first as they seem the easiest things to start with. First of all I’m going to try using a straight stitch. I’ve got my feed dogs down and I’ve pulled my bobbin thread up to the top of the fabric. I hold both of the threads in my left hand (to prevent them from being pulled to the back) and I start stitching!

Please note that since I’m using my left hand to hold my camera, you’ll notice that I’m only using one hand to stitch instead of having two hands framing the needle.

Straight stitch thread painting – YouTube
Christine Baker of Fairfield Road Designs demonstrates how to thread paint using a straight stitch and Tutti™ thread from WonderFil™

 

On to the zig zag

I’ve figured out that, like machine quilting, the faster the machine is running, the nicer the stitches look! But unlike machine quilting, you don’t have to worry too much about keeping the stitches consistent! I think doing thread painting would be great for those quilters who are afraid of free motion quilting. You can get the feel of moving the fabric with the thread dogs down, but this is MUCH more forgiving than machine quilting. So now that I am comfortable with the straight stitch I’m going to try out the zig zag – once again, I usually use two hands when stitching!

Zig Zag thread painting – YouTube
Christine Baker of Fairfield Road Designs shows us how to thread paint using a zig-zag stitch and Tutti™ thread from WonderFil™

 

As you can see in the following picture, the zig zag stitching on this leaf caused the fabric to pucker more that when I used the straight stitch. I’m sure that I was moving the fabric back and forth too quickly, but I also find the stitching to look messy, so I am going to stick with the straight stitch.

Leaf stitched with zig-zag stitch.

Using the variegations to your advantage

Now that I’m getting the hang of thread painting, I can see now that if I pay attention to the thread changing colour, I can use the lighter sections to highlight the lighter side of the stems and the darker sections of thread to stitch the darker side of the stems. I also find that I prefer to use the thread to outline the shapes and highlight sections instead of covering the whole shape – see what I mean in this photo:

Stems and leaf stitched with straight stitch.

Let’s try out some flower power

I’ve stitched enough of the leaves and stems (at least for now) so I’m going to switch thread color and start working on the large flower. Here is a close-up of my first stitches made on the flower. As you can see, my thread choice was quite similar to the color of the fabric, so my stitches don’t stand out that much. I think for the rest of the stitching I’m going to try to pick threads that are either lighter or darker, or more heavily variegated so that they are more noticeable in the finished product.

Close-up of flower center.

For the butterfly I chose to stitch with the green variegated Tutti™ and the peach coloured Konfetti™ thread. I found that these choices ended up making the stitching much more noticeable.

Close-up of butterfly.

I’ve got lots of stitching ahead of me…

I can see already that this new technique might be dangerous! Not only is it going to eat up lots of my threads but it might eat up lots of my time too!! The more colours you add to the thread painting, the more beautiful it becomes. I love how the design on the fabric is subtly changed and the tactile feeling of the embroidery is added to the fabric.

6 Reasons to Love DecoBob Pre-wound Bobbins

Calista Ngai

There are a lot of reasons to love WonderFil Specialty Threads pre-wound DecoBob bobbins. Here's a list of our top six reasons to keep these wonderful little bobbins in your sewing room:

1. They come wound with a higher density of thread than if you wind your own bobbin on a machine.

2. When winding your own bobbin you will often notice the thread filling a clump at one end before moving to the other end. DecoBob pre-wounds are wound completely evenly at the factory, which results in your stitches becoming a lot more consistent when sewing and quilting.

3. Unlike threads by many other manufacturers, DecoBob pre-wounds are not sprayed with any glue, which leaves a residue on the thread that can eventually cause build up in your machines and reduce stitch consistency. Using DecoBob in your machine will keep it happy!

4. The thread is wound in a reusable plastic bobbin, so you can always refill them again and again if you ever need to.

5. Because DecoBob is a super thin 80wt thread, it will reduce the bulk in all of your seams and allow them to lay crisp and flat. It is recommend to use DecoBob in the bobbin for all WonderFil thread lines because of this.

6. DecoBob pre-wound bobbins are available in 36 different colors, meaning you can find the perfect match to any project! Because DecoBob is a cottonized polyester thread, its matte finish will also help it blend into your fabric so that the bobbin thread shows less. 

With love and threads,

#WonderFil

If you enjoyed this blog post check out the Eleganza perle cotton in the fabulous Sue Spargo colour line!

Decorative Easter Eggs DIY

Calista Ngai

Happy Easter weekend, everyone! We'd like to send a little inspiration your way with these gorgeous decorative easter eggs that are sure to be a hit in your celebrations. With a few basic materials and WonderFil's 8wt Dazzle thread, you can make these too!

Materials: 

  • White glue
  • White vinegar
  • Gel food colouring
  • 1 fresh white egg
  • WonderFil 8wt Dazzle thread (we used DZ8201-White in this sample)
  • A large eye needle that is longer than the length of the egg
  • Gold or silver bead caps (these are sold at most craft stores)

1.  With a long needle, pierce each end of an egg. Insert needle far enough into egg to puncture the yolk, and then blow from one end of the egg to drain. We recommend doing this over a sink as it can be rather messy. Rinse and pat dry.

2. Mix a solution of food coloring and white vinegar in a glass bowl. There should be enough solution to submerge the egg. We used the gel style of food coloring; if you do not mix it thoroughly the concentrated dye will leave different colors on the egg, which was the look we were trying to achieve: i.e. a mottled egg look. Let the egg soak for about ½ hour, turning frequently to completely cover the egg with dye. Remove from solution and let dry on a paper towel, again turning often to prevent uneven color drying ( it is a good idea to wear latex gloves, as the dye will stain your fingers).

3. Cut a long piece of WonderFil Dazzle thread (about 5 yds). The sparkle and brilliant colors of Dazzle add a beautiful dimension to the decorated egg. You will need a sewing needle that is longer than the egg from end to end, with a large enough eye to accommodate the heavier thread.  Thread the needle and carefully insert the needle through the egg, leaving a short tail. Pull thread around the outside of the egg and back through from end to end. Use a dab of white glue on the thread to secure it to the egg and keep it from sliding around. If the holes at the ends of your egg are around 1/8 to ¼ of an inch around it will be easier to put the needle through (we will cover these holes later). Try to keep thread lines an equal distance apart. When you have gone around the entire egg, secure tails with a dab of glue.   

4. Cover end hole with gold or silver bead caps, attaching with white glue.

Your egg is now ready for its debut!

Chevron Embroidered: Pillbox Pincushion

Calista Ngai

This month we want to share with you a project that would not only be fun, simple and easy to make, but also useful. For this project we decided to use the WonderFil’s Razzle and Dazzle threads.

The Razzle and Dazzle threads are perfect for hand embroidery, the silky soft 6 ply rayon thread adds a beautiful shine and sparkle to any project. Simple stitching and the usefulness of the pillbox make it the perfect project to try your hand at embroidering. This is a great project that can simply be modified and customize. Have fun with the pattern and design, these pillbox pincushions make the perfect little gift.

With a few simple seams and a little stuffing, you will be moving your pins into their new home before you know it.


Materials

  • Wonderfil Dazzle - 6180, 3130
  • Wonderfil Razzle – RZM03, RZM15
  • Wonderfil Designer -  White - DS426
  • Linen Fabric, 1/4 yd.
  • Fusible Fleece, 1/4 yd
  • Fiberfill stuffing
  • Button

Tools

  • Rotary Cutter
  • Ruler with 60 degree angle markings
  • Fabric Marking tool
  • Soft Sculpting doll needle

Basic Supplies

  • scissors
  • sewing machine
  •  pins
  •  hand sewing needle,
  • iron
  •  pressing surface

 

Directions

1. Fuse fleece to linen with hot iron. Cut: One - 14 ¼” x 3”, two -  4-3/4″ circles.

2. Using a ruler and the fabric marking tool draw a line along the length side panel at 1 ½”. Add the Chevron design by using 60 degree markings on the ruler. Spacing chevrons ½” apart draw a set of 2 (space them an inch apart), then add a set of 3 chevrons. Repeat pattern with 1 inch between each set.   

3. With the Razzle and Dazzle threads use a stem stitch trace along the marked chevrons in the sets of 3 alternating thread colors. Using a satin stitch sew between the sets of 2. In the same manner repeat this pattern on the remaining markings.

4. With the right sides together, sew the ends of the embroidered strip together to create the ring.

5. Fold the ring in half evenly and place pins on either side. Fold the matching pin mark ends with pins. Find the quarter marks on the circles by folding the circle in half, then proceeded to mark them in the same manner. Repeat to find the other set.

6. Match the quarter marks of the circle and the tumbler ring with right sides together. Proceed to pin it in place and machine-sew using 1/4″ seam allowance. Attach the bottom circle in the same manner, leaving 2″ opening to turn.

7. Turn the right side out. Fill the cushion with fiberfill until firm.

8. Slipstitch the opening and close using Wonderfil designer thread.

9. Position the button on the center of the circle. Sew through the center of the cushion using doll needle. Add the bottom button on opposite sides. Sew back and forth while pulling to make the buttons push into the cushion; secure.

by: Jennifer Davey from Be Still My Crafting Heart

With love and threads,

#WonderFil

 

Wrapped Easter Eggs DIY

Calista Ngai

Easter weekend is coming up and we have a quick and easy alternative way of decorating your eggs! Using only three basic household items and Eleganza perle cotton thread, this DIY is simple enough to do with kids and a good way to avoid the mess that comes with dyes.

Materials:

  • Sue Spargo Eleganza #8 perle cotton
  • A large sewing needle
  • White glue
  • A raw, fresh white egg
* This project can be completed with a hardboiled egg if you only plan on keeping it for a few days. If you use a hardboiled egg you can skip the first step.

 

Pierce both ends of the egg with the large needle, inserting it far enough to break the yolk inside. Then blow on one end of the egg until the yolk is expelled from the opposite hole. We recommend doing this over a sink for easy clean up. The empty egg will be fairly delicate, so handle it with care.

 
 

Pour some white glue into a small bowl. Dip your thumb and index finger into the glue and run it over the end of the thread up a few inches, then stick the thread to the surface of the egg. Continue spreading the glue on the thread as you continue while wrapping it around the egg in a random crossed pattern.

 

The random colour variations of Eleganza adds a colourful contrast and texture. Try making a few eggs in different colours to create a beautiful Easter basket or egg hunt!

WonderFil is coming to Cologne, Germany!

Calista Ngai

Cologne_Germany_Kolnmesse-03.jpg

Hallo, Deutschland!

WonderFil is coming to Cologne, Germany for H+H this Friday March 18 - Sunday March 20. This international trade fair for creative handicraft and hobby supplies features workshops, events, fashion shows, and an extensive exhibition hall with exhibitors from all over the globe.

You can find us at Koelnmesse in Hall 03.1 at stand C016.

For more information please visit: http://www.hh-cologne.com/handcrafts-and-hobbies/index.php