Christmas Quilt Show Time – Yay!!!

It’s Christmas Quilt show time, and I’m ‘almost’ ready. And isn’t that the way it always is — no matter how much we prepare, there’s just a little more we want to do to be completely ready. This time, it’s the quilting – and it’s going on my frame today. Here’s my project.

Winter Sparkle


This quilt show was the impetus to make a new wall hanging to go over the mantle. We moved into this house in July, 1994, and have had the same wall hanging over the mantle ever since. This is the year that will change. Thus, the “winter” rather than “Christmas” theme. It will be at least February before a spring wall hanging is created ūüôā

The one I made is the “cool” version – and this is the “warm” version from EQ7:

Winter Sparkle-Warm

And here are the details: I used Aurifil Mak0 50 wt cotton thread color 2805 for the embroidery and a four patch background of Fusions and batik prints. The batik is what gives me the “sparkle” with it’s round white snowy drop design.¬†¬†The Aurifil thread is fine and shimmery and “frosts” the applique shapes with an edge that I designed especially for quilts and quilting.

Large Snowflake from Holiday Medley Die
Small Snowflake
Snow-Laden Christmas Tree

Applique Stitch: Quilted

Often quilters ask how the applique stitch will look after it has been quilted and the quilt has been laundered. For most of us, having a quilt that is not only pretty but that we can use for comfort and warmth is important. Since we just went through the rick rack tutorials and the best way to apply the rickrack is with the applique stitch, it just seemed logical to do a test and show you some pictures.

The first quilts were the blue and red rickrack quilts for the twins. Here are some photos of the red rickrack after quilting, but before being laundered and then the second photo is after quilting and after being laundered. As you can see, the applique stitch that was used was close together and fairly wide. In addition, there are two layers of batting – just to make sure that these had extra padding for building forts and the like. Knowing that these quilts were going to little boys and their purpose was to keep them in their playroom, it seemed logical that they be as durable as possible. However, I have heard that they already insist on taking them from the playroom to their bedroom upstairs for naptime every day. It’s going to be fun to see how long they last.

Quilted - before being laundered


Quilted - after being laundered

The photo below shows the Wild Animal Panel quilt where the rickrack was stitched in the ditch. The SID really defines the rickrack.

ricrack showing stitch in the ditch quilting
photo showing stitch in the ditch quilting

My favorite colors of Aurifil thread for quilting

As one of my friends so aptly said, “I’m a thread snob.” Yes, I’ll admit, there’s just no thread like Aurifil. It costs a little more, but in my opinion, is well worth it. I have tried lots of other threads, both cotton and synthetic, and the only other thread that even comes close is 100 wt Silk for quilting–and that’s not a thread I use lightly–no pun intended. Aurifil has a sheen that I haven’t seen in other cotton threads. And it runs like a dream on my longarm with absolutely perfect tension. It isn’t too thick or too thin, it’s just right. In quilting, I use 50 wt Aurifil and buy it on the spools of 1440 yards/1300 meters. While I could get larger cones, it’s nice to have one spool on the machine and one on the bobbin winder.

It’s so hard to decide what color to use on a quilt. There are several things that matter to me. One is a preference for using the same color top and bobbin, however, with Aurifil, sometimes the colors are different and it works just fine. In determining what thread to use on a given quilt, I will pull several lengths of thread off the spool and puddle them on the quilt before making a decision.

I’m going to list my favorite colors and tell you how I use them. I don’t often use dramatic colors for quilting, but subtle colors that enhance the quilting.

Favorite Aurifil colors

Color 2021 is almost white and works on anything that needs white. I like that it’s just almost white because it seems to create a little bit of shadow on a solid white fabric and enhances the quilting.

Color 2715 is a light blue and works beautifully on a lot of blue quilts. There’s enough blue that it isn’t too stark on a dark blue and it’s light enough to look nice on light/white fabrics.

Color 2805 is a light seafoam blue-green which I just purchased but haven’t used yet. Already I know it’s going to be one of my basics. It’s the same intensity as the light blue (2715) and light green (2902), but will be perfect on quilts that are blue-green.

Color 1320 is a medium blue that works well on quilts that have little white in them but lots of different shades of blue. It is definitely a color that completes my blue collection.

Color 2902 is a light sage green and works as beautifully on green quilts as 2715 works on blue quilts. it’s just the right shade of green to blend with almost any dark green, but light enough to look nice on light/white fabrics.

Pinks and purples don’t get as much play on my quilting frame. But the very pale pinkish-lavender–color 2510, and the darker purple–2520, work well for almost any pink and/or purple quilts.

Color 2310 is a very light beige and works great on fabrics that have darks and lights, but not necessarily stark white in them. It is probably the color that I use most.

Color 2314 is a darker beige and is used like 2310 where the “light” fabrics are more of a beige.

Color 2370 is a dark khaki and works great on dark colored quilts. It is one that I use a lot on quilts for men. The khaki color blends with almost any other dark color including dark blues and browns.

Color 2155 is a coppery color and I absolutely love it on green and red Christmas quilts. It blends beautifully with the green and the red.

Color 1135 is a very bright golden yellow. It is great for bright colored quilts and especially baby quilts. It adds a real sparkle to any bright colored quilt.

Color 3920 is a variegated yellow and it works just as beautifully as 1135 on brightly colored quilts.

Color 3817 is basically a primary color variegated and I love it for quilting and machine embroidery. It works great for quilting on brightly colored quilts and for machine embroidery when using the applique stitch on batiks.

Hopefully, I got them all. They seem a bit neutral, and I’m definitely a bright colors girl, but these colors are wonderful for quilting.


Some days it would be nice to post about a lot of different little subjects, but this blog software says I have to have a title for every post. It’s sort of like email, but even more insistent that there be a title/subject. So today will be a little of this and that.

There was an essay in today’s paper about how quickly computers get old and planned obsolescence. It made me think about our sewing machines and the fact that a good sewing machine lasts at least 20 years. And look at the Singer featherweight machines. Of all the machines I have owned, that is probably the one that I enjoy using most of all. And if I had a treadle machine, I would certainly learn to use it so that I could exercise while sewing.

Speaking of exercise while sewing, do you sit at your machine with everything right at your fingertips, or do you organize things so that you have to get up out of the chair and go to different “stations” to do things. I have my ironing station in another room. Yesterday, I set up my cutting station so that it is also in a different room than my machine. Of course, my children grew up and moved away, so I have rooms to use. . . Of course, my husband thinks my quilting has taken over the whole house. . .

The twins will be three this weekend, so I’m still working on the digger quilts. Will write more about them tomorrow.

Table Runner Using the Chisel Die

Linda in Arizona sent me this photo of a beautiful table runner she made using the chisel die. I think I love everything about this table runner. The design is beautiful and especially the way she used the beautiful print fabric for the border and picked up all those colors in the chisels. This is a great project and I think we all need one of these for every season. I love the applique flower in the center too.  After I got her photo, I tried one in Christmas red and green and you can see my piecing steps below.


Linda's Table Runner

Here are the steps I used in making the green and red table runner. The first step is to stitch all the chisels for one side together with the middle square. For me that works best by chain piecing so that it is easy to see that all the chisel points are going in one direction.

Stitching middle square to chisels for one side of table runner

The next step is to cut the center square which is a 6 1/2 inch square (finished size 6 inches). Then stitch a single chisel onto the square first and then stitch the pieced chisel and square next.

Stitch right side first, then left side

Continue adding chisels until you reach the desired length.

Chisel Die – More Options

Yesterday, I gave you some options for the Chisel Die. I started playing around in Electric Quilt and came up with some more options. The individual block will be shown first, and then the quilt layout from EQ7. Some of these are just positive/negative changes rather than completely different blocks. Play around with this and see what you can create.

Chisel Friendship Star 1 Block
Chisel Friendship Star 1 Quilt
Chisel Friendship Star 2 Block
Chisel Friendship Star 2 quilt
Chisel Whirligig Block, Chisel Pinwheel 2 Block
Chisel Whirligig Quilt
Chisel Pinwheel 2 Quilt
Chisel Pinwheel 1 Block and Chisel Stretched Star Blocks
Chisel Pinwheel 1 Quilt
Chisel Stretched Star Quilt

Chisel Die Revisited

I was going through some old posts the other day and looking at quilts that are on my Quilt Bucket List and revisited this one. I first wrote about the chisel die a year ago. but there are two quilts here, so it’s worth re-visiting. The difference in these quilts is in the patch placement within the block for the dark and light. Below you will see two blocks which are actually the same, it’s just that the colors are reversed – or another way to look at it is that the chisel is turned with the short side to the inside strip on one block and the short side to the outside on the second block.

I called one a “star” and the other a “flower”, but the flower also looks like a pinwheel doesn’t it?

Chisel Star Block
Chisel Flower Block
Chisel Flower Quilt
Chisel Star Quilt

Drum Roll – And We Have a Winner

The winner of the Baby GO giveaway is by random selection from a comment by “kdisque at”. CONGRATULATIONS! Please send me your name and contact information so that I can forward it on to Accuquilt. I am delighted that you have won and hope you enjoy it very much and share with all of us the things that you are making using it.


There were 97 individual entries. I can’t tell you how much I wish everyone could win a Baby GO and three dies of their choice. So, if you didn’t win this one, please keep an eye on the many giveaways and hopefully you will win one soon. You can always check on the giveaways on SewCalGal’s blog if you aren’t sure where to find them.

Sashing Quilt Blocks with the Rick Rack Die

This rickrack die is absolutely fascinating. I wanted to see what would happen if I added rickrack to the sash of a quilt. Recently I bought a great novelty print that was meant to be a soft book. The soft book prints often make great baby quilts. But in order to add a little pizzazz, it’s nice to do something special in the sash or the border when using this kind of novelty print. Thus, the experiment with the rickrack die.

It took a little time to realize that it was important to have the curves turned in the right direction. The first image is the EQ7 rendering and the second is the actual quilt top that I put together. If you watch the video, you will see how I marked the die to make sure that I had a curve in the exact middle of each sash strip.

RickRack layout for sashed blocks
Rick Rack Sash quilt with novelty print

Quick and Easy Quilt using the Rick Rack Die

First, I’ll get down to giveaway business. The question was asked whether one could enter every day for more chances. I set this up very simply, so will have one entry per person per comment(s) ¬†for the week. ¬†Multiple entrants wrote twice, once to enter and once about the newsletter, so I think this is the fairest way to deal with that as it was not specified in the original instructions. If you have more questions, let me know and I will answer as soon as possible.

Now to the business of quilting. One of the reasons for getting the Rick Rack die was an idea that has been in the back of my mind for a long time. A very long time ago, I saw a quilt that had a single border of two inch strips pieced down the left side (like Chinese coins) and beautiful applique flowers on the right, separated by a strip of wide rick rack. That quilt inspired my first endeavor with the Rick Rack die.

I have had the fabric for my great nephew’s quilt for more than a year but have not gotten it made. The plan was to cut each of the animals out of the panel fabric and make blocks. But when I looked at the fabric and started to measure the circles around the animals, I realized that they are all different sizes and there is not enough fabric between to adjust for that. Thus the plan had to be changed. In the end, it was a much easier quilt top to make.

This is it – a panel, wide borders top and bottom, and a striped wide border on the left with Rick Rack separating the striped border from the rest of the quilt. It’s not as pretty as the applique quilt that I saw, but I think a toddler will like this quite well.

Quilt top made from Wild Animal Panel

The Rick Rack strip was cut from a 2 1/2 inch strip of fabric with fusible web attached to the back before being cut. The rick rack was fused over the seam and then stitched on the machine using an applique stitch and Aurifil 50 wt cotton thread.

Close-up of stitching on rick rack