A few days before Christmas, I got an email from Alex Veronelli, the Product Manager for Aurifil, letting me know that I had won the contest.
I absolutely could not believe it, but he assured me it wasn't a joke, and a very large box of thread showed up at my house the week after Christmas.
I now live in thread heaven! Every color under the sun was in that box. And it was the large spools of thread, too. From their website, I learned that this wool thread can be used for hand embroidery and applique, but also in both long-arm and domestic sewing machines for machine applique and quilting.
I finally had a chance to give it a try this week. First, I pulled out a wool applique pattern I'd bought a few years ago - A Time to Plant by Threads That Bind (Shawn Williams).
I had traced the pattern pieces onto freezer paper, but hadn't cut anything out yet. Why? Because I really didn't want to use the same color brown floss for all the pieces, I wanted to color match each one. And I didn't have that much floss on hand. And I find that regular thread is a little too thin for wool applique work.
But now I had the luxury of having available every possible color I needed, and I got the colors selected and the pieces cut out quickly. I used the Lana thread to hand-applique the stripe onto the pig, the door onto the bee skep, the inside shadows on the watering can, the holes on the birdhouses, the white stripe onto the flag, and the pots into a stack. The Lana thread just melted into the wool, and blended perfectly into the background. LOVE! Here are a few detail shots:
I've got a ways to go, but a few nights' of TV watching should have this finished up in no time.
Then I decided to give the thread a try in my machine. I have to admit, that I was a little concerned about how thick it was, but it threaded easily. Using a sketch, I put together a highly-textured block of burlap with squares and rectangles of silk, scrim and organza. I zigzagged the edges down with the Lana thread, and it sewed beautifully, and due to it's heavy weight, sat on the surface and became a lovely design element.
At Christmas, my brother gave me some silk hankies by the Tentakulum group, and I wanted to play with them. (Examples can be found at the YLI website.) I needle felted them down onto a disk of wool, and got these lovely, dimensional flowers. To create the centers, I added some wool locks from Living Felt (my favorite online wool distributor), and added a few beads to give just a bit more sparkle. Aren't they gorgeous?
After blanket stiching down some wool stems and leaves (again using the Lana thread), I removed the flowers (they were not attached yet) to prep the top for quilting. I wanted to balance the quilting across the whole piece, so I added two "ghost" flowers to the left side of the panel, simply using green, turquoise, and purple thread to outline flowers comparable in size and scale to those with the silk and wool. The heavy wool thread sits beautifully on the top of the batik background fabric, providing a nice design element without detracting from those gorgeous silk flowers.
I used an elongated stipple for the background, and everything popped nicely. Here is the finished piece, which is 16x20. I used the faux piping binding technique that was so beautifully described by Trisha at TLC Stitches.
So, thanks to Aurifil for such a generous giveaway. To pay it forward, I will be doing a few giveaways here on the blog, and giving some to the members of my bees. Stay tuned!