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Being an OLFA ambassador this year has provided so many cool opportunities. This one has been my favourite. I got to be part of OLFA and Aurifil's Slice and Stitch Challenge! How cool is that? OLFA provided a tool and Aurifil provided a specific type of thread and then I got to let my imagination run wild and create until my heart was content! And Voila!

 

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OLFA anda Aurifil gave us a list of tool combos that we could choose from. I could have gone safe with things I use all the time, like a rotary cutter and 50wt thread. Do I play it safe? Yes. Do I play it safe in quilting? Heck no! I checked out the list and picked the tool that made me the most freaked out. I like to live on the edge. So I picked the Chenille cutter and 40wt thread. I was fairly confident that I would love Aurifil 40 wt thread. The Chenille cutter however scared me. The only time I’ve really seen it used was in flannel quilts and I wasn’t really sure how to make it work for my style of quilting.

 

Many hours of playing with the cutter and exploring ideas brought me back to one of my current obsessions, flowers and stripes! Specifically, pink flowers paired with bold black and white stripes. I'm not sad at all that I went with this combo, in fact I may be a little awestruck with what I created. I coudn't resist adding in a few stripped flowers. I like to keep things interesting! Are there real stripped flowers out there? I really hope there are!

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I really wanted to use the Chenille cutter in a way that created interest and depth. I layered my fabrics from darkest to lightest allowing me to create a gradient. Focusing on revealing the lightest layers in the middle helps draw your eye into the middle and for the flowers to really pop. The Chenille quilts I've seen in the past have their channel cuts fairly close together. I spread these out so you could really see the black stripes. The picture below is before I gave it a good steam and press. I think I've lost my fingerprints on a few of my fingers from this. If I did this again I would use less layers, it got really hard to press the strips open in the middle due to the bulk.

 

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For the flowers I made each petal and leaf indvidually. Time consuming and fussy but worth every single minute. It took me a few tries to get the scale and shape of each petal right and I wasn't too fussy on making them look exactly the same. Using Aurifil's 40 wt thread was perfect for these flowers and leaves. The slightly thicker thread really made the details a stiched around the edges and on their surface pop. The thread has a lovely sheen to it which really catches the light. The flowers are fun to play with, you can adjust how the petals lay and make them look more closed off or more open. I resisted the urge to hand stitch every petal in place to allow for an ever changing look. 

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Prior to this project I’ve never used an OLFA Chenille cutter. I jumped in and spent a lot of time playing with it and I’ve learned a thing or two that I would love to share with you. 

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                1. I like to mark the dial with little piece of tape to remind me what blade position I’m on. I often turned the dial the wrong way thinking I was selection the channel width.  It is very clear on the cutter which way to turn, this was total user error. The little piece of tape made sure I wouldn’t miss using some of blade and I could put it back. I line it up with the arrow window that open is open and in line with the open channel. When you select a new channel the blade rotates with it.

              1. When sewing your channels prior to cutting make sure the width is very even. I sewed mine with a bit of a generous channel so my cutter would sail through it smoothly.

              2. Img onmachineWhen selecting fabric to use with your Chenille cutter make sure you pick fabrics with a similar weave and thread size. In my project some of my fabrics where tighter woven with smaller threads than others. The looser woven fabrics fray easier and give your project a different look.

              3. The cutter can get clogged up when using it. I used a pair of tweezers and moved the blade and channel guide around to gain access to all the lint. Be careful of hitting the blade with any metal, you may dull the blade. 

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As for the 40wt Aurifil thread, well, it was a dream to work with. It comes in over 270 colours and is 100% 2ply Egyptian cotton. 270 colours! Do you know how happy that makes me? Ridiculously happy! I used this pink on the left with two different pink fabrics and it worked beautifully with both. It's like magic! It also has a most glorious sheen to it as well. Not too shiny, but enough to catch your eye in the light.

 

I used the thread to outline the edge of each flower petal and leaf and then used it to add additional details to the leaves. Adding the edging around the outside really gave the petals/leaves a more defined shape (Petal on the left is edged, petal on right is unedged). Although this thread is thicker than the 50wt thread that many people use for piecing and typical sewing it still works perfectly in your bobbin.

 

The photo below you can see more details of the flowers and leaves. I had a lot of fun 'drawing' on the leaves and petals to create more details that you often see in nature. I hand stitched all the flowers onto the background and the Aurifil 40wt worked beautifully! 

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Working on this project was such a great stretch for me. It reminded me to really appreciated all my quilting ancestors. Times change, trends change and quilting changes but there really are many ways to take inspiration from the past and modernize them. Did you know they use to have to cut these with scissors? I can't imagine the hand cramps you would get making a full sized quilt! Thank goodness we now have access to OLFA's Chenille cutter! 

 

~~ If you would like a chance to win your very own OLFA Chenille Cutter enter below! ~~

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4f738f131/?

 

Thank you for popping by and checking out my OLFA and Aurifil Slice and Stitch Challenge piece!


Catch you next time!

- Amanda