Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Thrifty Thread Shopping!

Here I am again, just a week later and posting again! Don't worry the world is not ending, I'm just using the few free moments I have to share some info with all my quilty friends out there, starting with a few little research projects I have done recently.

The boyfriend has wrapped up nursing school, which also means school loans are no longer showing up in our bank accounts each semester. A good thing, yes, but it also means I had to take a close look at my budget and sort out what was necessary, and what could wait until after he started working. After narrowing down the necessities I went back and took a look at my quilty expenditures.... yeah, take a deep breath for that one. We all know it is not the most inexpensive hobby to have, but I keep thinking to myself, there has got to be a few things I could be saving on here! I coupon (not extreme) and I shop the sales other places, so why not pay more attention on the things where it can really add up! This week I'm starting with one that I never really gave much thought to before, thread.

It's a necessity of course, but when we know we need so much thread of a certain color I think many of us do the same thing... toss it in the shopping cart (live or virtual) and skip on over to the fun stuff, fabric!Thread is not nearly as exciting to most of us, and much less fun to 'pet' and play with, but it is an absolute necessity! I've seen quilts made from old clothes, sheets, and rags, but I've never seen a quilt made without thread!

So I started to take a look at some sites and stores I generally shop from and low and behold there really is some significant differences in prices. Below I've chose a few different threads, some very popular and some less well known, to give you all a glimpse into how much you can really save!

Let's start with the uber popular, Aurifil! We all use it and love it, and I can't speak for anyone else, but I definitely cringe a little at the price. Sorry, sweet Aurifil, it's just a habit! Below shows some of the best options for your Aurifil shopping! If you notice, there are actually three shops that all came in at $9.50 for the 1420yd, but only Red Rock Threads carries both the 220yd and 6452 yd as well. This is where you weigh your own opinions on what matters to you most... price, selection, free, shipping, etc.

And just in case you were wondering, a totally different shop takes the cake on the 40wt Aurifil, Carmen Warehouse!

Next up is Guttermann. I've heard both positive and negative on a pretty consistent basis, but I'm including it here simply because it is more affordable than many options, and also very readily available. Love it or hate it Guttermann is not going anywhere, and these prices might be part of the reason why! See that there.... 3,281yds of Guttermans 50wt Cotton as Joann's as opposed to the $40.00 you would easily spend on the Aurifil. Things that make you go hmmmmm.

I also included the comparison on Poly for Guttermann as well. I know I'm not the most experienced quilter, but I've yet to have a Poly disaster with any of my quilts, so if I know I'm making it for me or just for practice, this tends to be my go to thread.

These last two are kind of wild cards. The first one is Isacord Polyester. Honestly when I started learning to free motion quilt I watched A LOT of Leah Day's videos. One thing I remember reading was that she uses Isacord Thread exclusively. As much as that tid bit stuck with me I have yet to try it (yeah, that makes no sense), so I decided this was a good chance to figure out the cost savings if I decide to give it a try. Yeah, $15.80 for 5000m! It might be worth it!

This is a true odd one. I have never used Mettler, but it seemed to be comparable in price so I wanted to show it here. I'm hoping someone will fill me in on it as it seems to go on sale quite a bit! 

So who comes out on top? Well short of breaking it down on how many cents, or percent of cents (say that five times fast) we are all paying per yard of thread, I decided to just give you the two best online retailers that 'won' the most categories. Drum roll please.......

Quite interesting that each store led the way in one Cotton and one Polyester category. Anyhow, I know this isn't rocket science, but to me it was quite an eye opener. I was paying $11.99 for my 1420yd of Aurifil. That means from three other stores I could have ordered and saved myself $2.50 per spool. No, that's not much, but if I take it one step further and change over to Gutterman 50wt Cotton I can save nearly $18.00 for every 6500 yards of thread, and I think that can really add up.

So this is my first attempt at sorting through some Quilt Cost Saving. It's not a perfect science, and the prices will continue to rise and fall with the trends, but for me it works. Next up, solid fabrics!

xoxo, Carly Ann

Here is where I put all my personal disclaimers:

1. I have not ordered from all of these suppliers, so I can in no way vouch for their personal delivery time, condition, quality, etc.
2. Yes I estimated some of the conversions for Meters to Yards. I think you all know which size spool I'm referring to, and if not, email me.
3. These prices to not take into account sales, coupon codes, shipping charges, etc.
4. I was not paid or asked to write about any of these stores. I do not have any sponsors or take any gifts to write these posts.
5. If you have read this far you deserve a prize. How about you go get yourself a piece of candy and enjoy the sunshine for a few moments! Happy Tuesday!

Friday, October 11, 2013

2013 Mission Accomplished!

So it's pretty well established that I am a horrible blogger. ;) I don't say that to be down on myself, just to acknowledge that this is not my top priority right now, and that means a lot of life 'stuff' generally gets in the way. Honestly, I have no idea how some quilty bloggers do it keeping up with family, kids, friends, jobs, and creating beautiful quilts and crafts. Simply amazing! Anyhow...

So what have I been doing? Well on the life side of things I've been working a ton all while holding my breath as Zach finishes up nursing school. He completed his last practicum (like and internship) shift at the hospital this past week, so now all that is left is to take his boards. Hooray! There were moments of doubt that we would both make it through the program mentally intact, but we survived, and now my handsome, caring, and oh so patient man gets to work his dream gig. That's some seriously good stuff right there!

And of course, I've been sewing. There are a whole bunch of things I could fill in this part here, but what I really want to share is that I accomplished a goal that I set out for myself back in January. It wasn't a true New Year's resolution, but a year long goal none-the-less. The mission was to create a quilt for each of my girlfriends for their birthdays! There are six of us all together and we have all known each other for years. The best way I can describe us is as sisters. None of us are perfect and none of our relationships are perfect, but we are absolutely there for each other. We are all different, work different jobs, have different home lives... Let's just say we cover the spectrum! I love these women, and am so happy to have them in my life, and what better way to celebrate that than with a quilt! So here they are (in no particular order).

I will start of here with Megan's birthday quilt. I've know Megan the shortest amount of time, but I adore her spunky personality and her absolute devotion to her boys. She's a seriously busy mom, so we don't get to see her nearly enough, but when we do she's always got a smile on her face. Her fun batik quilt matches her fun side (and also her new bedroom)! This was my first 'jelly roll race' quilt top, and was also one of the first quilts that I free-motion quilted. Very scary when I started, but I've discovered it's way easy and I wonder why I haven't been doing it all along!

Next up on the list is Donna's Quilt. At the beginning of this year I emailed all girls and asked them for their favorite colors, patters, etc. I'm not sure they all knew what it was for, but I just went with what I got back. Well, what I got back from Donna was: "...I like flying pigs in any color, hearts, polka dots, Xs and Os, and weenie dogs..."  HA! She really did it to me this time. But I pressed on, and came up with what I think fit the bill. It may be a little hard to see in the picture, but I covered all her requests and made sure the backing was entirely covered in weenie dogs! Lesson: be careful what you ask for! This was my first experience with rough edge applique. I wasn't sure how I would like it, but after I pulled it out of the dryer I fell in love with the 'shabby chic' look of the frayed edges. By far, one of my favorite quilts I've ever made.

I've known Kristie that longest of all the girls, and am happy to be celebrating with her as a bridesmaid in her upcoming wedding. She said jewel tones, so I went in that general direction, with a few twists. I found the bold floral print first, and it just seemed to fit her so well that I played the rest of the colors off that. I started doing a disappearing 9 patch, but decided it needed to be spruced up, so I stitched and sliced a few blocks a different way and ended up with this surprise! :) She loved it, and was so excited to get a picture that night of her and he new little kitties all snuggled up together on it! Seriously adorable!

Michelle's was probably the toughest to come up with, although I'm not really sure why. Odd how that happens. So anyhow, when I had a random thought I just went with it! She didn't have a specific request for pattern, but I thought back to her wedding a few years back which had the theme of All We Need Is Love. That combined with her love of trees I came up with this fun quilt. The adorable striped pattern backing had stripes of the woodgrain, little flowers, mushrooms, and lines that looked almost like ribbon. I love that fabric and used every last bit of it. I'm really happy with how this one turned out and I think she likes it as well.

Susan wanted something a little more muted (and my eyes appreciated the break LOL). She asked for small flowers, beige, white, and gray. I wasn't really sure I could pull this off seeing as I'm a little addicted to brights, but I started at the fabric store and came across just the right floral print. Again, I know you can't see it super well in the photos, but it combined all those requests and more. I added in the green and a few other small scale prints that brought out the pale yellow in the print all based on what I was sure would go with her house. This was the last one I just wrapped up last week after a crazy 3 quilts in 3 weeks month. I was concerned I would run out of steam, but I didn't, and this is one of my favorites of the year. It's simple, but it just works, and I'm happy to say I made a plan and stuck with it all the way through! That's a serious accomplishment for me! This is also the first quilt I've done where I'm 100% happy with my machine binding! Yay!
 So there you have it... MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! Funny thing is I was doing this for them, but I learned so so much in the process. I still consider myself a very novice quilter, so it was nice to have a reason to experiment and try new things. I made a bunch of mistakes along the way, but those teach the absolute best lessons. I might be pretty low on the blogger scale, but I'm feeling okay on the friend scale. Like I said these women are my family here and I'm so glad that I was able to stitch each of them up a little love to have in their homes.