my Kingfisher progress, thread & next steps!

my Progress

My latest batch of hexie flowers includes a bunch of favorites from Mediterraneo by Katarina Roccella for Art Gallery Fabrics.  

Mediterraneo fabric flowers.jpg

Almost!  I have just four flowers left to English paper piece.  And then, it'll be on to the next phase of my Kingfisher quilt.  Attaching the flowers to the diamonds and joining the diamonds is going to transform this project into a real quilt top!  

Which is not to say that I haven't enjoyed the slow stitching.  I really have!  I just love to see a quilt come together, a concept fleshed out in cloth.  Also, I'm repeating a lot of fabrics, which takes a little of the fun out of making so many. Still that vary repetition led to this diamond play:

fussy cut diamonds hexie flowers.jpg

Who knew there were so many different ways to make diamonds dance?


Best Thread for EPP

Now that I've hand-pieced over 40 flowers, I can confidently weigh in on my earlier question about best threads for English paper piecing.  I began with threads I had on hand:  Connecting Threads, Mettler, Aurifil 50 wt, Aurifil 80 wt and Aurifil monofilament invisible thread.  All of those were frustrating, for reasons I laid out here.  

On your advice, I decided to test Superior Thread's Bottom Line and MicroQuilter threads.  Superior generously sent me some spools for the experiment.  

best thread for English paper piecing.jpg

And the conclusion?  Either one!  Both Bottom Line and MicroQuilter are strong and super thin.  These threads don't break like Aurifil 80 wt, even when I tug my stitches tight.  They don't constantly slip off the needle like invisible thread and, best of all, the stitches practically disappear!  Use a color that's similar to your fabrics for best results.  Doesn't have to be a close match, but something similar makes a big difference. 

I really can't tell the difference between Bottom Line and MicroQuilter for English paper piecing.  So, probably go for the Bottom Line - it's cheaper!  Using a thread better suited to EPP had such an effect on my enjoyment of the hand stitching.  I'll definitely invest in more Bottom Line when I need other colors for hand sewing.

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Sponsor of the Week

The Confident Stitch

All Quilting Cottons on sale through Saturday, July 7th.  They're 18% off in honor of Independence Day 2018.  

Sale includes some of my favorite basics from Cotton & Steel, like Sprinkles prints, XOXO and Netorious.  You'll also find Loominous prints by Anna Maria Horner including Illuminated Graph, which I've been loving for garments.  Have fun!

on to Applique

This week two guest posters contributed applique tutorials to our Kingfisher Stitch-Along.  As always, you can find links to all stitch-along posts at Kingfisher HQ.  Kirsty at Bonjour Quilts demonstrates how to machine applique your hexie flowers, while Lucy at Charm About You shares a tutorial for hand applique.

applique hexagon flowers.jpg

I'll be machine appliqueing mine.  I'm happy to see I don't need any stabilizers.  Kirsty's tip to make folds to find center is much appreciated, as is her simple pinning technique.  I'm appliqueing with a straight stitch in matching thread.  Oh, and the papers are popping right out!  Not gluing to the papers and not stitching through the papers (I basted in several different ways), is paying off.

I hope your Kingfisher is also coming along.  Next week I'll be sharing a tutorial for joining the diamonds of the quilt center.  Hmm... that means I better be appliqueing these flowers!