Quilts are like books. First, the cover. That’s the pick me up and buy me moment. The casually walking through a quilt show, turn the corner and stop dead in your tracks in an unparalleled !Wow! moment.
Then you start reading the chapters: colors, blocks, quilting motifs, contrasts and threads. Today is: Chapter Thread
The first question – Seen or unseen? Is the thread there merely to hold down the applique or is it part of the design?
Unseen If the purpose of the thread is merely to hold down the edges, then perhaps a monopoly thread is your choice. It’s essentially invisible and will disappear into the applique and the background. At one time, it only came in shiny, sat on top of the fabric, and wasn’t recommended for children’s quilts because if it broke, it poked. Now, there are several high quality mono threads.
If you want your stitching to be more subtle, then a thread that blends in with your fabric is your choice. Take your fabric(s) to the store with you and place a few different colored threads on top — The thread that disappears into the fabric is your best choice.
A patterned fabric usually has a dominant background color. If you can’t decide what that color is, squint your eyes. The pattern disappears and the colors show. Now lay several threads on top as before and choose your thread. It’s usually better to choose a darker color than a lighter or brighter color because the stitches will be less noticeable.
Another choice for unseen are fine threads, 80 – 100 wt. Color choices are limited but it’s light enough to disappear into the fabric.
If you turn the fabric over you can sometimes see that the threads that make up the fabric have either a cream or white weave. Blending can be achieved when the thread is also creamy or white based. Reproduction and Civil War fabrics often have a creamy base.
Seen Two questions. Coordinating? Contrasting? Again, I am only talking about color.
If you want a thread that stands out from your fabric, choose an accent color for patterned fabric or a complimentary color for solids. Lay several threads across your fabric and see which thread speaks to you. Stitch a few threads on a scrap piece. Some colors may not stand out as much as you’d like them to so it’s best to find this out on a test piece of fabric.
A method I call the coloring book look is to use the darkest contrast between the thread and the fabric and to use the same thread and color around each piece. The easiest way to create a coloring book is to use black thread and a satin stitch or a blanket stitch with a short stitch length. A blanket stitch and the primary colors red, yellow and blue. (patterns from Kids Quilts, Inc, a Paddington Bear coloring book, Seams Like Home and Sue Garman)
I haven’t mentioned variegated threads. Again, there are now hundreds of choices and weights. I like to use variegated thread when my applique has a realistic nature theme. I don’t believe that anything in nature is just one color so my go-to thread is always variegated. Leaves have veins, flowers have jagged edges, roses have thorns, wood has rings. (Original patterns through GrammiesInspirations)
These ready to ship items can be purchased through Grammies Inspirations on Etsy or you can contact me for a custom order.
Go to Pinterest and type thread painting nature into the search field and see the marvelous things that can be done with thread.