Friday, November 23, 2012

Variegated Thread with Fresh Salsa?

My three choices for thread in the red areas of the quilt Fresh Salsa.

You may think that selecting thread for a quilting project is a small thing, but it's more important than you think.  It pays off when you make the right selection. So now I've got this top that is a cacophony of red, green and yellow, what thread should I choose?

One of my issues with sending your top out to someone else to quilt is that you usually get one color of thread for the quilting. This would make my quilts so boring! Mattress pads are quilted with white thread, how exciting is that? I choose to use multiple threads, usually depending on the color of the fabric where it will be used. No mattress pads for me.

Learn to machine quilt so you can finish your quilt in the manner you choose!  You can do it!

Auditioning the thread. This is shown using white paper just for illustration. It should actually be done on the fabric of your choice.
 Back to Choosing Thread:

  • Pull out all the colors you think might work.
  • Audition them by unreeling about 36 inches of thread and letting it puddle on the project.
  • Give each thread a rating:  yes, no, maybe.
  • Give a second look to the yes and maybe threads, I throw the ones I like best into a basket or bowl, so they are accessible when the quilting begins.
  • If unsure whether to use thread A or B, sew up a little sample of both; hold each sample up to the quilt top, and this should help you make your decision.
  • There is nothing worse than having to rip out lots of machine quilting, after you figure out, you should have used another thread! I have lots of personal experience in this area.
Solid color or Variegated? This is a personal question. Most of the time I prefer to use variegated threads when I quilt. It makes the stitching more exciting on solid color or mottled fabrics. But if you are using prints a solid color thread may be a better choice.  Audition both types of threads to see which you like best.

Contrasting or Matching thread?  Here are some tips I have learned over the years.
  • Matching thread will be less visible, and will hide irregularities in the quilting.
  • Contrasting thread will really accent the quilting, look great from a distance, but will show everything little booboo.
  • A slightly richer color will subtly enhance the quilting without being too distracting.
  • Lighter threads on deep fabric will usually look good.
  • Dark threads on light fabric are very challenging, all the mistakes will show.
  • The choices are up to you.
Rainbow variegated threads, # 851, 814, 844 from Superior Threads
I have chosen three threads to use on my quilt, most are subtle contrasts with the rich colors in the quilt top. The yellow will look great on the small yellow areas of the quilt, because it mixes several yellow tones there will be subtle contrasts and matching colors here. The red thread includes red, purple, and gold, this makes the red areas more exciting. The darker rainbow thread looks great on all dark fabrics and will make the green areas richer on this quilt top.

The quilting will begin next.

Ann Fahl


Sally said...

Looking forward to seeing how they work up. What is the brand name for the ones you've chosen?

annieQ said...

Superior threads @

Sally said...

Thanks. that's what I thought.