Monday, September 24, 2012

Free Motion Quilting a Sample for a New Project

I have started preliminary work on my new version of my Poured Out quilt. The main background is black sateen upon which I will quilt a bunch of negative words and choking, evil, thorny branches. Yep, this is not a 'pretty' design.

But what I really wanted to share with you is how I made a test sample before working on the real quilt. Test samples help not only with tension issues, but also with thread selection, and in this case, design elements too.

I was really surprised at how well the camera showed the threads on the black fabric! I needed to decide what colors were going to work best of this quilt for the dense machine quilting. I also wanted to see how well the words and thorny vines would show up with the machine faux trapunto. See the basting pin on the right side? Tiny, dense quilting. I try to work a little bigger, but that's what my hands like to do.

I used the same black sateen that I will use for the quilt and 2 battings; Quilters' Dream 100% poly and their Dream Wool also. Talk about serious puff! I think I'll expand on the vines and words to take advantage of the trapunto effect.

It was pretty easy to decide that black Isacord thread on the sateen was too boring and didn't show the design enough, even with the sheen of the sateen and the fabulous texture. Same with some dark blue threads. One variegated thread showed promise, but I wanted to try some others since thread colors look so different stitched out on fabric than they do on the spool. Plus I would have to order more of it, since I only had one spool. Three of the variegated threads were seen too bright on the black, though they were lovely. One was too purple to play nicely with the bottom blue water portion of the quilt.

That left two to decide between. Of course it had to be the one that will have me placing an order with Superior Threads today for a large cone of the Rainbows poly, Midnight Shadows. I think the name is fitting for this quilt too. I might use one of the dark blues a bit too, to help rest the eye from all the variegated thread. It's interesting how if you step back to about 8 feet away from this sample, how it all looks nearly black but there are hints of color that beckon you to look closer.

I am so glad I tested my threads! I think a lot of quilting issues get resolved by testing your thread on the same fabric and batting as you will be using on your actual quilt. Usually I just use the edge of the batting with a scrap of top fabric alongside my quilts.

I hope you have been playing with your threads and quilting too during my absence here. I have gotten obsessed with a secret project and have neglected my blog, my quilting, and some other life stuff. I wish I could say it's a book deal or something really promising, but alas....

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Quilting with Isacord Thread

There's the baby Isacord and Big Mama Isacord!

I like using Isacord thread for a lot of my free motion quilting:

  1. It's pretty cheap inexpensive. And I can get it somewhat locally.
  2. It's shiny and I love for my stitching to shine.
  3. As a polyester thread, it has no lint.
  4. It gives me very little trouble. What trouble I do have is really my machine's fault and happens when I do a bunch of 'backwards' stitching. (Pulling the quilt towards me)
  5. There are a ton of colors and I can get it on large or jumbo big mama spools.
I usually get my Isacord thread at a shop in the bigger city nearby, about 40 minutes away, that sells Berninas and embroidery stuff. They have a huge selection of colors in the 1000M cones and they cost $5.80.

But there's a beautiful new quilt shop about 50 minutes away that has a lot of yummy fabric, nice people and while their thread selection is pretty limited, the owner also does custom machine embroidery. She uses the huge 5000M cones and if she has a color that I want that is still in the wrapper, she will sell it to me at a great price of  $13.00! Yippee! I won't need this color green for a loooong time!