Good morning fabulous Hoppers! It's week
5 of the Creative Spaces Blog Hop and this week my fellow designers and I are talking about thread and embellishments. My personal style doesn't include many embellishments, but I use A LOT of thread and I have some pretty well developed opinions about what I like and how I make thread decisions, so I've decided that thread is the best thing I can offer my opinion on on this week.
With this blog, I'd like to focus on how to choose thread, what to think about when you do, and how to test your thread for your projects, so that you know what the results will be when you add it to your final work.
Let's begin by saying that I love thread and I feel it isn't ridiculous at all to say that I'm fairly addicted to buying it. When I buy a new spool of thread, the first thing I do with it when I get it home is to unroll it over a dark piece of fabric to see what it really looks like on fabric. This is especially important then the thread is variegated.
When I teach free motion quilting I point out to all of my students that every thread company treats variegation differently and knowing how that variegation works from company to company will help you to make decisions about purchases.
The first thing I look for in thread variegation is the length of the color change. Aurifil thread produces a long color change variegation, usually with three colors that change over 24 to 47 inches of space. It's not what you would call a blending thread, but the drama it can create is wonderful and I love what it can do for quilting a dense background fill.
When I have a new example of a thread I think I'm going to like, I like to test it out by quilting a square of fabric, so I can see how the variegation will play out. Here you can see the magenta, white, and blue variegated Aurifil next to a magenta Auriful. I'm sure you'll agree that the long variegation that an Aurifil thread offers is absolutely beautiful, with the potential to create a great deal of opportunities.
Other shorter variegation options also
have their differences and benefits. The blue option pictured here is a King Tut from Superior Threads. King Tut is a shorter variegation with a color change that happens over 5 to 7 inches and usually includes 3 to 4 colors in the change. It is also a regular, patterned color change, meaning that the color change will happen with regularity creating an expectation for the quilter.
Sulky produces a similar short variegation thread called Sulky Blendables, which is pictured just above the King Tut option. The primary difference between the King Tut and the Sulky Blendable is that the Sulky thread is not a patterned repeat. Instead, they use a patented randomized system to create their variegation which means that you might get a repeated color or you might not.
The examples below show a King Tut on the Right and a Sulky Blendable on the Left.
Take note that both of these options are thicker than the 50 weight Aurifil pictured earlier. The King Tut is a 40 weight and the Sulky Blendable is a 30 weight thread. The additional thickness makes both of these pop off the fabric with a little more heft.
Many companies such as Aurifil and
Superior Threads do their customers a great
service by offering color cards of their
products that allow you to know what all of
your options are. Some of them are printed
as you see in the Aurifil example and some are actual examples of the thread as in the
King Tut example.
Sometimes the sample cards are free and sometimes you will pay a few dollars for them. I find it extremely helpful to have all
of my options in front of me when I'm
planning. I have significant selection of both Aurifil and King Tut threads to choose from all the time, but it's difficult to have everything in your collection, so we do what we can to know what we can purchase or order when we might need it.
What I do have I keep in a similar fashion to the manner in which I organize my fabrics as I demonstrated in last week's blog. I
set up my thread in the color spectrum from dark to light so I know what I have and I can easily determine if I have the color I really need or if I need to make a new purchase.
I keep my different thread collections in different spaces, so that all of my King Tut is in one space and all of my Aurifil is also in one space. It makes determining my options quick and easy.
When I begin to look at a quilt top and determine how I would like to quilt it and what thread I would like to use, I start with a sample of what I would like to do before I sit down with the project itself. When I have a drawing that is working for me, I thread my machine with the thread I plan to use for the project and test my plan or plans.
This test piece will help me know for sure if the choices I have made will be effective and produce the best possible results on the final project.
For example, the test piece in the top left
corner of the above left hand photo was the
test piece for my Color Fondue quilt and
determined that my plan for the quilt was
going to work. This quilt required me to
use a wide variety of thread from my
collection and change color in every block
to maintain a value change on the front of the quilt and on the back.
The results were more than worth the effort in my opinion.
I hope this blog gave you some ideas about how your thread can work for you and how you can get the best possible results with just a better understanding of what is available to you and how it functions. Keep on hopping! We have one more week of exciting blogs for you and I know you'll enjoy them all!
Cherry Blossom Quilting
(Be sure to visit Cherry's blog to find out how to enter the prize drawings!)
Morning Glory Designs
Sew Many Creations
Seams Like a Dream
Poor House Quilt Designs
Desert Bloom Quilting
Canton Village Quilt Works
Cranberry Pie Designs
Avery Lane Designs
Funky Friends Factory