Monday, August 8, 2011

Changing Your Quilt With Thread Color

As I mentioned in a previous post, later this month I'll be filming some segments of a Linda Taylor's Longarm Quilting Show. I've been working on a large quilt to use as a show sample but of course I need some small samples as well and today I'm working on one of them. In the segment that this sample is for I'll discuss using thread color to alter the look of your quilt.

Let's say you've got a quilt that didn't quite turn out the way you'd hoped it would. The fabric color is not quite right and the quilt just isn't singing to you. You're bummed out and thinking that maybe this quilt is going to spend some quality time shoved in a drawer. But wait! Don't despair! Instead of banishing your quilt to the back of the closet, why not try grabbing some thread and seeing if you can mix things up a little bit?

In the case of this quilt, I used a couple of great orange batiks for the simple star blocks, some bright turquoise for the sashing strips, and a deep purple for the backgrounds and the border. The trouble is, the simple star blocks were awfully...well...simple. The sashing strips are bright but boring, and the deep dark purple is too deep and dark. What seemed like a great idea just wasn't.

Enter the thread. YLI 'Iris' is a fantastic 100% poly that runs like a champ in my machine and on this quilt I'm using a gorgeous purple and a bright hot pink. YLI Fine Metallic is the best metallic out there. It's smooth and soft and doesn't twist, break, or pitch fits and the bright Turquoise I'm using looks great every time I use it. I've grabbed some templates to help me lay out my design; two small circles, a melon template, and my favorite straight ruler. Now let's see if I can fix this quilt.

In order to make sure that my designs are placed just the way I want, I premark carefully using a thin chalk pencil. It doesn't take much marking to get everything right, but you do have to be careful and consistent in your measuring and marking, or the design will vary from block to block and you won't be very happy about it.

And here is the finished result. The block is enhanced, but not overpowered by the thread. The purple background fabric that was just a wee bit too blue has been changed by the orchid thread to a better color, and the pink thread brightens and highlights the orange fabrics and makes them really sing against the dark purple. The blue metallic adds just the right pop of color and ties the sashing strips nicely to the blocks.

Click on the photo to see an enlarged version, as this small photo really doesn't show much detail.

Just wait until you see what I'm going to do to that boring purple border!

I think that this sample is going to work just fine for my segment. Woohoo!


  1. That's an amazing transformation! I bet you can work miracles on a sunflower quilt. :)

  2. Great ideas! Sometimes taking the time to mark and use rulers and change threads makes all the difference. Wonderful.

  3. so pretty. gonna have to get me some melon templates!