Aurifil Thread Club - Red Panda Quilting Idea's

Aurifil Color Builders Thread Club - Red Panda

We hope that you've been having fun with your Red Panda quilt block and that our club members are enjoying everything so far. We've already seen some blocks popping up on social media and have to admit it's pretty exciting!

Today, we're back to share this month's quilting tips & tricks from Aurifilosopher HollyAnne Knight of String & Story. Thanks so much to HollyAnne!

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Welcome to month two of the Aurifil Color Builders Endangered Species BOM! I don’t know about you, but I’m simultaneously discovering a love of foundation paper piecing and an intimate awareness of just how quickly those seams can bulk up! 

Check out these techniques and tools that can help make your paper piecing more manageable. Let’s take a quick look at those before I share this month’s quilting plans.

Pressing Tools
What we use to press our blocks helps achieve tight, crisp creases that will minimize bulk as much as possible. I keep two tools handy for pressing at all times: 

  • Mini Iron. Confession: I got rid of my big iron. I mean, it’s probably around here somewhere, but the Mini Project Iron is hot, heavy, and my absolute fave. I pair it with heavy starch for sharp, sharp seams
  • A wooden roller. I don't get up to press every seam with the iron, so I also keep a wooden roller handy to add a little extra force to my finger pressing. I like it better than a wooden stylus because it doesn't damage the fabric threads or create the "shine" of too much friction.

Pressing Choices

As a general rule, I press all seams to the side, especially when doing paper piecing, but there is one noticeable exception. When I am joining large sections of Paper Piecing tops together, I sometimes press the seams open.

A Glide Foot

I “introduced” you to my glide foot during last month’s quilting video, and if you’re quilting your Endangered Species BOM yourself, and your machine brand makes a glide foot, I highly recommend the investment. It makes the quilting process so much easier and reduces tension issues caused by fabric bulk BIG TIME. If you can’t get one, be sure to slow way down as you approach those bulky seams. Oh! And be sure to go up a needle size as you quilt to prevent breakage– I’m working with at least a size 16 on my quilts.

As I said above, bulk is unavoidable in many places on a detailed paper piecing project, but these few tips and tools will make them much more manageable and prevent the quilting issues that can arise from extra layers of fabric.'

Quilting Idea # 1 - Introductory Quilting

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These are some of the simpler ideas you could use to quilt your Red Panda blocks. As with the Sumatran Elephant, I like the idea of the background being pretty densely quilted, but density doesn’t have to equal complexity– make use of a tight meander or tight straight lines. The Red Panda is already visually very interesting, and has many bulky seams, so keep the plan equally simple here but less dense with stitch in the ditch or perhaps a few switchbacks to add shape to the Panda’s body. I couldn’t resist drawing woodgrain on the tree, but you could use wavy lines to similar effect.

Quilting Idea # 2 - Beginner Quilting

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If you have a little more experience under your belt, check out the textures we can create with this Beginner level quilting plan. My favorite version of the Red Panda still has pretty simple quilting, but I love the texture that paisleys add to the background. Paisleys give the effect of leaves on the trees, adding more life to our quilt block.

Quilting Idea # 3 - Intermediate Quilting

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As a “more is more” type of quilter, I couldn’t resist creating leaves with feathers instead of paisleys and using McTavishing to add some really interesting texture to the Panda. The biggest challenge with executing so much stitching on the Red Panda will be the seams, though, so make sure your foot will be able to stitch over the whole block before going to town with this motif.

Check Out The Video!

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