Thursday, September 22, 2016

What's in YOUR Threadbox?

Here's a little peek at the secret life of our thread... and a little discussion of our own color mantra.
We'd love you to join in with your observations down below!

Just a little look at our green drawer will tell you a lot... no, we're not partial to one brand of thread. Sulky, Madeira, Magnifico, YLI, and even AdMelody live in perfect harmony here. You've seen our bumper stickers... you know, "Coexist." Once, upon a time, an intern had them all organized by hue, shade, and tint, but that was days ago and this is where we are now.

The truth is, you can argue about the color fastness, durability, and strength of all of these brands, but to us, having the absolute perfect color needed at any given moment trumps all. We'll let the machine embroidery archivists deal with the faded, shredded mess of our stitch outs in 100 years--immortality was never a goal of ours, and in 1,000,000 years anyway our Sun will breathe its last anyway, thus turning the lights off on our little corner of the universe. So we're living for the moment.

Having a business where all this thread is a write off and sometimes even a gift is a big advantage, but even if you don't, we do find ourselves reaching for some of the same colors again and again. Here's the lowdown on our essentials.

Yup! Here's the perfect pair... although black and white in the purest form do not really occur anywhere in nature, they're are bound to be in just about every embroidery design... if only the highlight in an eye, or the darkest single stitched line in a shadow. So be sure to never run out! We buy the big spools.

Add a beautiful cream and a smooth, warm gray and you have a quartet. If these were the only four colors you could have, think about it... any design, from floral, to seasonal, to decor, could be reduced down to these four values and would stitch out, without fail, to be the classiest, simplest, most sophisticated thing you'd ever seen. Need proof? Here's our brand new Summer's End flower basket reduced to a fabulous four:


But in the end, ROY G. BIV was right. A little pop of color is a good thing. So for our next thread essentials, be sure to have the following always in your arsenal: a fire engine red, carrot orange, bright yellow, grass green, royal blue, and purple.

Now we're going to expand our rainbow... to your red, a little burgundy makes a great dark accent. And in general, a light, medium, and dark tone is all you need for some beautiful shading. Although not the greatest fans of pink, we have hot pink, medium pink, and light pink just for flowers.
 To shade through orange to yellow, pick a golden orange, then a gold, a bright yellow, and a pale one.
 Leaves can usually be stitched effectively with just two shades.... but who can resist a hunter green...
 To your blue, add a pale and a navy... purple is already a dark color, so just add a lavender.

 We are not big into browns, not being neutral types at all, but you do need a couple... we love rust, a light brown, and where would we be without chocolate?

So those are our essentials... just 25 in all. But quilters are allowed their fabric stashes, so embroiderers may have their spools... be sure to always have your favorite colors, in thread. A design stitched in YOUR colors will never go badly. Left to right, we love gold.  And yellow orange was my personal favorite crayon color from kindergarten on, back in the day before the 64 pack came out with the fancy names like Macaroni and Cheese and Mauvelous. Next, peach--- so much easier on our eyes and dearer to our hearts than pink, and our favorite fruit to boot... and why not try a variegated or metallic, too?

So what's in your thread box? Do you have lifelong favorites or do your colors come and go with the wind? Are you a brand snob? We'd love to hear about it!

Friday, September 2, 2016

The End of the Road... Road Trip 2016

Our 2016 Road Trip is over, and the summer with it! So here's one last look at the ride.We'll show you how we added our borders, and also how our Quilts of Valor are coming along. And if you make to the end, there's even a cute kitty picture!

In case you have been feeling tired lately, here's why! If we had actually driven this, it was 6,883 miles, or 109 hours and 6 minutes in the car. (I love MapQuest.) That side trip to Vegas was worth it, though, don't you think? 

But what we really did, was sew 212,750 stitches. If every stitch was a mile, we drove around the earth 8-1/2 times. ( I love math.) So that is definitely taking armchair travel to new lengths!

Now back to reality. Here's a quick photo tutorial if you'd like to add borders like ours. Just load the design provided on the Road Trip web page with 2 layers of heavy stabilizer in a 5" x 7" hoop. Pick two colors; one for the words and one for the stars. We used white, then blue. We made four of these in all for all four sides.

Unhoop and trim your pieces apart right on the stitched line between them. Cut them into 2-1/2" high strips. Then cut 1/2" away from the letters on each side. At this point, remove as much stabilizer as you can, and trim up any of the larger jump stitches between the letters.

Sew the saying together with 1/4" seam. 

Pick a corner accent fabric, (we used a navy blue with stars), cut two pieces 2-1/2" square, and sew one to each end of the piece; there's extra, so just trim it even with the sides of your main piece.

Do the same for the top border. Then the side borders are done the same way as well, except out of the corner fabric, you'll need a longer scrap, roughly 5" x 2-1/2," for the ends of the side pieces.
Voila! (I love saying, "Voila.")

If you are too tired at the end of this whole trip, just buy some nice red, white, and blue fabric, cut it to 2-1/2" strips and use that for a border. Or you could just make one saying for the bottom border and do the rest out of fabric. It's all about you. <3

We were SO tired after last year's trip, nothing ever happened with it! So this year, we plan to finish it. These big breaks in projects are something you may have noticed with your own work-- it's okay, it's just a bit of resting time before it becomes clear what the embroidery wants to be. Sort of like dough resting. There are no UFOs in our studio-- just resting dough.

Et Voila!

And look how impressive they look together! Makes us want to go ahead and digitize every city in the whole world, huh!

And finally, in between cities this Road Trip, we did get a few more star blocks finished for our Quilts of Valor-- that is what we will have when this project is fully baked. A little photoshoppin' here, folks, but honestly, we're pretty close to finishing one now that the centers are done.

And that makes it a wrap! We were going to post a picture of a sunset last to symbolize the end of the road for Summer 2016... but all we could really pull up was one of the office cat taking a sip of water from his teacup while the rest of us groveled on the floor with the above quilt blocks. 

If you enjoyed the road trip, please comment below with your first name, town, state, country... it's like carving our names in a tree when we all reached Seattle. Happy Fall! <3