Summer Applique

Applique, Free Motion Quilting, Sulky, Bernina

I would like to thank all the people who responded to yesterday’s post:  Let’s Talk About Threads.  I was surprised that so many people use rayon threads!  Please take time to read the comments and add your ideas/thread recommendations.    I can’t wait to try all the recommended threads!  There are so many threads on the market and I hate to experiment too much unless I have a recommendation.  I plan to try every thread that was suggested and I’ll let you know how the thread works for me.   Perhaps we could continue the conversation on a regular basis? I’d love to hear how the threads I recommended work for you!

Coucou de la Côte d’Azur (France) Superbe cette frise en coquille. Je vais tester le cours dès que possible. Pour le moment je profite de mes amies venues en vacances. Amitiés à toutes. Patricia

I pulled this applique out of my closet last week.  I made it several years ago to brighten my kitchen table.  (As you all know, I love “vase quilts”.)

I experimented with several threads, including a few metallics,  for this applique.  Metallics remain a challenge for me–they break so easily, that I rarely use them.  Someday, I will take the time to find the proper machine/needle settings to use metallics…

Coucou de la Côte d’Azur (France) Superbe cette frise en coquille. Je vais tester le cours dès que possible. Pour le moment je profite de mes amies venues en vacances. Amitiés à toutes. Patricia

I rarely use stippling to fill in my quilts.  It is a pattern that is hard for my brain to pattern.  Instead, I filled the spaces with tiny leaves.  Occasionally, I added clusters of circles or a feather to add interest to the overall design.

Coucou de la Côte d’Azur (France) Superbe cette frise en coquille. Je vais tester le cours dès que possible. Pour le moment je profite de mes amies venues en vacances. Amitiés à toutes. Patricia

Applique, free Motion detail

Free Motion Quilting, Applique Detail

In the setting triangles, I stitched the Orange Peel–or Woven Cross-Hatch pattern.  It looks complicated, but it is very very easy.  (A beginner pattern)  See the tutorial HERE.

Free Motion Quilting, Applique Detail

I was hand dyeing a lot of fabric at the time…

Free Motion Quilting, Applique Detail

Do you have a small, unfinished quilt or block that –with a little free motion quilting–would work as a “vase quilt”?

You might also like:  Fall Vase Quilt

Let’s Talk About Threads

Sulky, Aurifil, Threads

The question I am most frequently asked is:  What thread do you use?  (The second most frequent question is:  How do you adjust the tension–we will discuss that next week…)

I have been hesitant to tackle the thread question because, while I know what I like, I am not an expert.   Today I will offer a few of my thoughts about threads and then open the topic for discussion…

Sulky, Aurifil, Threads

I have two favorite threads:  Aurifil and Sulky Rayon.  I use Aurifil for all piecing, for all bobbins, and occasionally I use the heavier weight Aurifil for quilting.  It is a long-staple, fine cotton and it comes in a large array of colors.  It never knots or breaks and it is economical.  I doubt anyone will disagree with my choice of Aurifil.

Sulky, Aurifil, Threads

Sulky, Aurifil, Threads

On the other hand, my choice of Sulky Rayon for free motion quilting may be somewhat controversial…For free motion quilting, I love Sulky Rayon thread.  It has a gorgeous sheen.  It “plumps” nicely.  It is inexpensive and readily available in a huge assortment of colors. Best of all, my sewing machine loves it!  I rarely have any problems with thread breaks or tension.   I have used it on many of my smaller quilts for years.  (One of the quilts is ten years old, and it still looks great!)  However, I have not used it in any of my larger quilts.  I have been afraid to use it…because the conventional wisdom has always been that Rayon is not good.  Some say it is not strong, heat-resistant, or color fast.

I would agree that Rayon is not as strong as polyester, but it is strong enough.  The “quilting stitch” does not need to be very strong because it is not being stretched or pulled like a seam.   Critics also say it is not heat-resistant…Again, in my experience, it is heat resistant enough for free motion quilting which is never ironed like a seam. Perhaps heat resistance would be a problem in the dryer?  Don’t dry the quilts on high heat!  Sunlight?  All textiles are damaged by prolonged sunlight. Finally, on the issue of being colorfast:  I have never had problem with Sulky thread bleeding.  According to their promotional materials, Sulky Rayon IS colorfast.

I hate to sound like a commercial for Sulky…and for the record, I have no ties to Sulky…

Again, I’m not a thread expert, but I can find no evidence supporting the bias against Rayon threads.  I would love to hear your thoughts!   What are your favorite threads?  Do you use rayon thread?  Why or why not?  Have you been avoiding rayon thread because of the conventional wisdom?

Thank you in advance for participating…

Lori