This is probably the last finished project of this year – the Fat Quarterly Aurifil Challenge.

In the meantime I’d better introduce myself – my name is Ethne, and I blog at Flaming Stitches.  I’ve crafted in one format or another, pretty much all my life.  In the early years it was knitting and crocheting, but on one visit to one of those big Hobby Craft Exhibitions, I fell in love with some fabrics.  Picked a pattern and in 3 weeks pulled together a quilt for my niece.  To be honest I hadn’t a clue what I was doing.  The front is piece correctly but the sandwiching, well I tried to put it together like a quilt.  Years later I’m still trying to get it off my niece, no luck, she loves the quilt.  I’ve learnt the correct way to do things now but still experiment in what I’m doing, and work often using instinct.

This project / challenge is a good example of me going with my gut instinct, in both the design and the quilting – I hope you like it.

So back in this post I mentioned receiving a set of Aurifil threads to try out.  After deliberating for a few days I finally decided on a cushion for this challenge, and, taking into account next years Free Bee virtual quilting bee, I thought I’d also use this project as a bit of a tester for a possible block option – the freeform hourglass block.

The idea was to make 5 blocks as a panel for the front of the cushion.  These freeform hourglass blocks were sewn together and for any of you wanting to have a go at something similar I have created a little tutorial for this block here.  When the 5 blocks were sewn together border / framing strips added.  Batting added, (Dream Poly, basted into position using washable PVA glue, used sparingly).  Then I started quilting using the Aurifil threads.

Firstly, it was the 40 weight red thread for the ovals framing the hourglass blocks and forming a zone for the front feathers which were quilted using the 50 weight thread.  Now this is the first time ever that I’ve used this thread, and it was smooth, and I mean smooth.

close up of cushion front

first FMQ'd feather

Though the thread is fine it is strong and flows freely and smoothly through the needle and fabric sandwich.  It was so easy and comfortable doing the ovals that when it came to quilting something into the elliptical shape left in the central zone, instinct took over and I ended up quilting my first feather.  Now I have been sketching feathers on paper, doodles really, for a while but they never seemed to work out smoothly when sewing the LHS.  You see I would draw the RHS first but never got the left to mirror it properly, I’d always over think it.  However when it came to sewing, the RHS worked out really well and the LHS followed nicely too.

So when completed I decided to do larger feathers on the two back panels, one above and one below the zip/seam.
last feather
back panel
cushion back
Just to make sure I got a good feel for the differences in threads I decided to use another cotton thread (grey) for other background quilting – and I can honestly say that there is a difference, a notable difference.  The thread worked fine, it did it’s job, but it didn’t feel as silky smooth to use in comparison to the Aurifil thread.

So in conclusion I can say that I will be slowly starting to build a stock of the Aurifil threads – probably the 40 weight for quilting and piecing, but if necessary the heavier grade for piecing if necessary in projects like bags. So if you get a chance buy a spool and try it out for yourself.  And thank you Fat Quarterly for the opportunity to try the threads out.

finished cushion

So in conclusion here’s a photo of the cushion, completed and washed.

finished cushion back
So remember to visit the Fat Quarterly blog again to see what other bloggers think of the Aurifil threads and what projects they created using them.

signature panel