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Friday, June 19, 2009

Differences in Quilling Papers/Strips - Updated

I spent some time reviewing previous blog posts and realized that it was time to update my post about the differences in quilling strips. When I first started selling strips, Lake City was the main American supplier, now Paplin Products has a wonderful line of papers, as well as Quilled Creations. J&J Quilling (English) still leads the pack with some wonderful novelty papers, gilded edges, pearl edges; holofoil edges . . . read on to learn more about how these all differ and how they are alike.

A frequently asked question, especially from new quillers, concerns the differences in quilling strips. How are English strips different from American strips etc? Probably, the most obvious difference is in the length of the strips. In the 1970's, 24" was the standard length for quilling strips. That is no longer the case. Lake City papers are 24” long with the exception of their watercolors, which are 12". Paplin papers, another American paper, are generally 23" long, their graduated and two toned strips (which by the way are actually “printed”) are 12” long. Quilled Creations, another American company, strips are about 18" long; their graduated papers are about 12" long. English strips are about 17” long with graduated strips coming in at 12”. The English also have some wonderful novelty (specialty) papers such as graduated strips where the colors darkens as it goes up the strip, dark center strips which go from white to color to white again, two – toned papers which have different colors on each side of the papers, pearlized on edge papers, & holofoil and gilded edged papers which are absolutely beautiful. Not to be “outdone”, the American companies (Paplin and Lake City) have both come out with lines of pearlized and metallic papers, which have a pearlized or metallic finish on both sides of the strips. Paplin has some beautiful pastel pearlized colors, and both companies have some very rich “jewel toned” metallic’s, deep green, blue, and a deep wine color. I have used these papers for some very special effects. I recommend that you use tacky glue on these strips as they have a different finish (almost slippery) than standard strips.

Both papers (American & English) work well together although with today’s economy and with the difference between the dollar and the British pound the English strips are more expensive. We continue to bring in English colors that are not available here in the states. The weights of the different papers vary, some of the darker colors are a heavier weight (I have been told that the heavier weight has something to do with being able to take the darker dye, although the Paplin black is a nice easy weight to work with). Specialty papers, like parchment, tend to be a lighter weight. Some of the "quilling" paper sold in scrapbooking stores, (especially the tube paper sold as "quillstix") is very heavy, almost as heavy as cardstock. Unfortunately, some members of the scrapbooking community are saying this is the only weight that will hold up in a scrapbook. Those of us who have been quilling for a while know that this is not accurate. Regular quilling paper is incredibly strong when rolled and placed on edge. Since we carry so many different kinds of papers here at Whimsiquills, I have tried them all. I don't like working with the heavy "card stock" like papers, and find them difficult to finger roll without getting unwanted creases. If I have to roll a heavier paper, I generally use a tool to keep tension even.

All of the choices now available can cause some confusion for new quillers. I find that all of the papers can work pretty well together if you are just careful to measure the strips you cut from the different brands. For example: if you are using an English yellow for the center of a flower, but an American orchid for the petals, you will want to start out with the same length strips. If you are using a heavier weight paper for a flower center, you will either have to make the strip a little shorter to compensate for the larger size center, or perhaps make a couple of extra petals for your flower.

In some English kits and books, directions are given as using 1/4, 1/8 of a strip. Obviously, if you are using papers of different lengths, you will have to go back to the tried and true method of measuring out your strips. I hope this has answered some of the questions about the many papers available.
Here is an added note of interest for those of you who might be combining quilling with card making or scrapbooking. Paplin offer every one of its colors in 8 ½ x 11 sheets and will do special cuts ½”, or 1” strips to be used for punched flowers/leaves or borders. They also offer a line of color greeting cards which match some of their most popular colors.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Quilling with Rick Whitman

It is my pleasure to introduce Rick Whitman as this week’s featured quiller. I know Rick pretty well and I am proud to say I gave Rick her first quilling lessons. I remember her sitting in the class and saying that she had just retired from her job and was looking to learn something new. She wasn’t at all sure that quilling was for her, but after her first class, I was convinced! I generally teach the basic shapes for my first class and then let the new quillers use those shapes to create a design of their own. When Rick came back for her second class, she showed us a tiny Madonna and child that she had created. Her pattern was a tiny line drawing that she found in a newspaper. From then on there was no stopping her! She quilled a tiny bouquet of flowers to match the ones her niece carried as a flower girl. Rick also does counted cross stitch. She often does bible verses which we mat (I help with the matting) and then she quills on the mat. She loves to do tiny, tiny flowers and has an incredible imagination. In addition, Rick and her husband Wil are super nice people. We always enjoy a visit with them here at Whimsiquills.

When I agreed to coordinate the first Accord Quilling Calendar (1997), I had a little trouble getting quillers to participate; some felt they couldn’t create small, “simple’ designs that could be included in the calendar/kit. Rick came up with 27 designs including a horse drawn sleigh,

garden tools,

and a tiny woven basket with fruit.

Her designs for the 2008 calendar (N2008) were also outstanding. I’ve included just a few of the pictures here.

When Accord decided not to publish the 2009 calendar, we were all disappointed. Rick had done some adorable nursery rhyme characters. Since they weren’t going to be used for the calendar she had to figure out a way to use them. She used that great imagination again. Here is what she did with them. She told me her nephew helped her with the computer generated backgrounds; these are the pieces she brought to display at this year’s NAQGCON. (North American Quilling Guild Conference 2009)

But two of my favorite pieces of Rick’s (although I love them all), are this three dimensional hummer, and this tiny replica of her own wedding cake . . . and this from someone who wasn’t sure she could learn to quill!