A Winner, A Winery, and a Wickedly Helpful Tutorial

Awesome Alliteration: You know I'm not above using inappropriate adjectives and making up words to achieve it. So with that said, I have a lot of ground to cover. Here goes:

A Winner

2014 NewFO Challenge

First, it's time to announce the winner of the November NewFO Challenge Linky Party. Thanks to all who linked up. Mr. Random Number Generator has spoken and he has selected:

#8--Mary Crowther

Congratulations, Mary! I've sent you an email, so check your inbox.

Don't despair if you didn't win because there are two big giveaways coming up during the month of December here on Cat Patches. I'm participating in 

which starts tomorrow bright and early. I have something terrific for you, so be sure to check back tomorrow.

Also, we have one more month of NewFO Challenges. During December, I'll be giving away this "Pine Tree" lapel pin. 'Tis the season, right?

But that's not all. We're celebrating the end of the NewFO era with a special giveaway, and I'll have something else to give away to one lucky winner. Be sure to start something new during the month of December so you can link up and win!

A Winery

Last night, Mike and I attended a nice dinner party at the Sokol Blosser winery where we have been members for a long time. 

In fact, we've been informed that we are the "oldest members" of their wine club. The woman who informed us of this hastened to say that we were the members of longest standing rather than the oldest chronologically, which only made me feel the tiniest bit better at this dubious distinction. 

The winery hosts these dinners at least once per year, but this was the first time we'd attended one in their brand new tasting room. (You can see photos of their fancy new digs right here.) The events we've attended in the past have always been held in the wine cellar, which was wonderfully rustic, if a little chilly. Last night's event was so much more elegant. Can you tell we were prepared to drink some great wines?

They served up a sparking Evolution when we came through the door, and then a pinot gris with this yummy shrimp cocktail. Something else new is that they've hired their own chef who did all the cooking last night. She's also starting a line of food products to sell at the winery, including their own cocktail sauce that was served alongside the shrimp last night.

After that they served up the first course which was a caramelized onion & wild mushroom bisque with truffle oil. This was to die for. 

With that, they started serving up the pinot noirs, which are my favorites. We had both a 2011 and a 2012. The 2012 was more to our liking and it was an estate bottled wine, meaning that the grapes came from their own vineyards. 

Mike and I always love reading the descriptions. The 2012 was described thus: "ripe raspberry, baking spice, tarragon". And I said to Mike, "I totally picked up on the 'baking spice', didn't you?" (Not.) Still, it was smooth and tasty. And then they served up the main course, which was prime rib and a "root mash". It wasn't potatoes. We agreed with the Canadian couple sitting across from us that it contained some parsnips, but there were some other root vegetables in there too. It was delicious.

And we really enjoyed the Canadian couple. They have traveled by RV quite extensively in the United States, and so we had a lot in common. They are Oregon wine lovers, and they travel down from Vancouver, B.C., fairly frequently to purchase their limit of six bottles to take back across the border.

Then they served up the dessert, which was a really nice spice cake with orange zest goat milk ice cream and their Sokol Blosser maple rosemary nut brittle. That's a hunk of nut brittle in the foreground...a kind of candied nut that was perfect with the spice cake and ice cream.

And here we are. I was feeling so smug having actually found a pair of dress slacks that I was happy with. 

Just now I noticed the arrow extending from my head to the sign that says "salty". And just to be perfectly clear, I am only salty when I'm sewing with metallic thread. (See my Wickedly Helpful Tutorial below.)

On the way home, we had to turn around and go back to stare at this home in an ordinary residential neighborhood, all lit up for Christmas...complete with music!


The lights were delightful, but I'm not sure I would enjoy having the accompanying music if I were one of their neighbors.

Okay, so now I'll get on with my

Wickedly Helpful Tutorial

It might be an overstatement to call this a tutorial, but enough of you commented on my use of metallic thread 

from yesterday's post that I wanted to say just a little more about it. I've used metallic threads both successfully and unsuccessfully, and I always think the best place to start is with a list of all the bad words you know...just in case. You don't want to be at a loss for words when you need to really let loose. Everyone in the house will be safer. Trust me on this.

Once you have your list in place, take a look at your thread. You want to use a good quality thread. Yesterday I was using Sulky brand, and it was a dream to work with. I've also had good luck with Superior's metallic threads. The spool on the right in the image below is Superior. The one on the left is a no-name brand. And not to pick on any particular country, but this one was made in a country whose name begins with C-H and ends with I-N-A.

You can tell just by looking at them on the spool that the thread on the right is of higher quality. Unwind them from the spool, and you can really see the difference. In the image below, you can see that the thread on the right comes off the spool without kinks, while the one on the left...oh my. That is going to cause you difficulty every time one of those kinks passes through your needle.

The kinks can be helped by the use of a thread stand. My quilting from yesterday was done on my mid-arm, which has a nice long path for the thread to travel before it passes through the needle. On a domestic machine, you can achieve the same thing by using a thread stand. While it doesn't seem like it would make much difference, that extra several inches gives your metallic thread time to relax and uncoil and it will give you fewer headaches in your sewing. 

Also, use a metallic needle. You can read about the different kinds of needles on this helpful chart from Schmetz. The the bottom line is that a metallic needle has an elongated and larger eye than a universal needle as you can see in the image below.

Finally, as I mentioned in my post yesterday, the Sewer's Aid is a very helpful product. 

It is a silicon-based lubricant that will lubricate your thread and allow it to pass through the eye of your needle without snagging. The silicon will not absorb into your fibers either. Just run a thin line from the top to the bottom of your spool, and then massage it in like hand lotion. I've given you a link above that image to where you can purchase it on Amazon. While the price might seem high for such a small amount, that little bottle will probably last you for the rest of your life. And your life will be longer if you use it when you are sewing with metallic threads. Trust me on that too.

So, just to be clear, I'm not an expert on sewing with metallic thread, but these are some things that have worked for me. I hope they'll work for you too.

Today I have some housekeeping chores to do, but I'm going to continue on with my quilting. I hope you have a lovely day.

17 comments from clever and witty friends:

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Yes, the list of words is very handy. Super coverage of working with metalic threads.

Kate said...

Your winery dinner looks great. Looks like you had a great time.

Dasha said...

Interestingly, I attended a Wine Club dinner late last month. It was their 45th Anniversary dinner, and when I was accepted, I was their first female member. It was fun going to catch up with "old" friends. We don't go so much now as we live 1.5 hours from Sydney and that is a long haul at night after a big meal.
The area we live in has quite a few places where the houses are well decorated with lights at Christmas. Whole streets get in the act. The ones with music use FM radio to deliver it - very effective, and they raise a lot of money for charity.

Mary said...

Thanks I guess, should go to Mr Random Generator. I will be watching and waiting for my new pin. I love them all. Love the Christmas lights this tiem of year. I wish my Dh loved them enough to put them up for me. It's pretty icy and slick though so he doesn't do it. So safe is best. I'll decorate the Living Room and put lights in the windows.

Christine M said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time at the winery. That is a lovely photo of you and your hubby, Barbara. Imagine how long it took those people to put up all those lights!

Chris said...

If anyone needs help with their word list I've built up a good one over the last half century (I was a child stitcher). Love your very excellent tute on metallics...especially the thread aid. The wine and prime looked wonderful. :-)

Teresa in Music City said...

Thanks for the hints for using metallics. I've used them occasionally, but it's good to know what to have prepared just in case for next time. If I don't have enough words on hand, I know I can call on my friends to help me out :)

Now, hmmmm, what project do I want to start this month......? My favorite part of the NewFO Challenge has always been the joy of picking out and starting something shiny and new. Of course, that has really plumped up my UFO shelves LOL!!!! Maybe a break is just what my poor shelves need :)

Brown Family said...

That was a wonderful dinner! What a great treat!

Celtic Thistle said...

Thanks for all the great advice on using metallic threads Barbara, this is what I love about bloggers!

The winery dinner looks delicious.

quiltzyx said...

Congrats to Mary on her NewFO win!
Sounds & looks like you had a lovely time at the winery dinner! When I got down to the picture of the main course, I needed to quickly grab a towel so as to not drool on my keyboard...! The root mash seems interesting, and nice to have something a bit different.
Thanks for the metallic thread hints too - always nice to learn something new. :D

Dana Gaffney said...

The tips are great, I can't wait to try metallic thread again. Wow, for that dinner, very impressive.

Barb H said...

Your evening out sounds very nice, and I'm glad you enjoyed it with your great guy.
I learned about "Dr. Bob" of Superior Threads at guild and have watched his videos about threads, especially metallics. Your followers may want to take a look too, here: http://www.superiorthreads.com/videos/

Kathy H said...

It looks like you had a great dinner and those lights are amazing. I love to see the lights at Christmas but would probably not like to be their neighbors with the music. Thanks for the information on using the metallic thread. I usually change my mind about using it after the first few breaks. Will give your suggestions a try as I do like the look of it.

Kirsty said...

Great tutorial! I've always been a bit reluctant to use metallics in the machine but I'd definitely give it a try now that I know what to look out for. Never knew there was a metallics needle either. Good job! That winery looks awesome. Baking spice...lol. And I'm with you on that decorated house. Amazing! They must not have cats though. Can you imagine?!

LethargicLass said...

great photo of you two :)

liniecat said...

Sewers Aid is something I must try since metallic threads are hell on earth lol
That is such a lovely picture of you both.
You not only look a little alike but you both radiate happiness in your faces!

Michele said...

Oh I would have loved to join in that annual dinner. Too bad there aren't places here that do that. And thanks so much for the metallic thread info. I have yet to try using it but I know that I will at some point.