Open Line Friday-Thread and Other Questions

Heart, Valentine's Day, Free Motion QuiltingGood Morning, Quilters!

Today is Open Line Friday…Any Questions?  Remember, EVERYONE ANSWERS!  We have a lot of knowledge out there.  Let’s all put our heads together…

First…about yesterday…I promised a post on tension…but I decided to postpone it.  The article just isn’t ready for “Prime Time”…I hope to have it ready by next Thursday…

This week, I received a few questions…

Mail, Free Motion quilting, flowers and lettersEMAIL ISSUES

We continue to have some e-mail subscription issues.  I have it on good authority that this is a problem with the subscribers e-mail service.  Some e-mail servers block WordPress as SPAM..of all the nerve!!!… Please try to solve this with your email company as there is nothing I can do on my end.  Or add The Inbox Jaunt to your bookmark list and click over to us every morning.  I really don’t know what else to do?  Anybody???


Several of you have suggested that I add a “search” function to the Motif Page–DONE!–You’ll find it on the right side bar over my mugshot portrait.


Even with the new search button, you will not be able to find the “stipple” tutorial…


Because I can’t stipple!  

My brain simply can’t make sense out of it…besides, who wants to quilt a worm when one can quilt a flower!  AND flowers and leaves are easier…Do you know WHY flowers are easier?  Because there are places to stop…with a worm, there’s no place to stop–it’s all smooth curves.  I  think it’s too bad that beginner quilters are told to “just stipple”.  There are easier patterns to stitch, like The Easiest Flower Ever and Straight Lines Variations.

What other motifs have YOU found to be easy for beginners?  We’d love to hear!

Free Motion Quilting, HeartsHOW TO STITCH CORNERS

Did you ever buy a border stencil?  Did you notice that you have to buy a separate stencil for the corner?

Corners can be tricky.  I often use the corner as a “design opportunity”.  First, see if you can doodle on paper a way to turn the corner easily.  If not, stop at the corners and add a complementary design element.  For example, if you are stitching a heart border, add Cupid’s arrows in the corners.    Alternatively, stitch your signature and date in the corners.  The border will be just as beautiful and no one will be the wiser.


This week in the Mystery Quilt-a-Long, we began looking more closely at Cotton thread labels.  It seems that each manufacturer has it’s own language.  I would like to compile a list of thread label terms and abbreviations to define.

Here’s the list I have so far:

Tex, ELS, Mako, Ne, 60/2, GR30, MT1000, Long Staple Cotton, Mercerized cotton, Art 104, Col No., Extra Long Staple Egyptian Cotton, Ply, Silk Finish

Do you have any other terms or abbreviations for me to research?  Please include the manufacture’s name as well.


What can we help YOU with this week?

Happy Stitching,


PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.





79 thoughts on “Open Line Friday-Thread and Other Questions

  1. I have trouble with background fillers. I have been doodling the Happy Blossoms. background and other backgrounds but it’s hard to make ithem look even and flowing. It winds up looking like a row of flowers or very uneven. Does this just come with practice? Any suggestions?

    • Hi Julie,
      It definitely gets easier with practice. Try to start each motif by coming off from a different place on the previous motif…You will probably need to echo-stitch around part of the pattern to do so. Also, don’t be afraid to get caught in a corner. Just knot off and start somewhere new. Keep practicing….I PROMISE you will get it!

      • Lori,
        Thank you so much! I will try to start each motif by coming off from a different place on the previous motif. Such great advice! Thank you soooo much. Your blog is outstanding! I have done many of the motifs and they add so much to a quilt. Thanks again!

  2. I was one of the unlucky ones not able to get your emails, I added a gmail account and know get my morning fix again! Thanks for everything you do for us.

  3. hi Lori, I am a new member at your blog site and I just love your information! What a gift to us FMQ’s. I would like to know if you quilt on a domestic machine or a long arm or mid arm machine. And do you prefer rayon threads over cotton threads for your top thread? Thanks so much. I love your hearts with the spirals.

    • Hi Kathey,
      I stitch on a domestic sewing machine–I have two: A Bernina 820 and a Bernina 150 that I alternate between. I Love the sheen of Rayon threads and my sewing machine likes them. I do like other threads and have been working to experiment with more threads this year–stay tuned!

  4. The identifying paper on the top of some of my spools of thread comes off when I put it on my machine (or I take it off because the thread sticks to the glue on the back of the paper). So I do not know or remember the exact thread type on some of my thread. Anyone else have this problem.

    • Renita, had that problem a lot especially with the smaller spools of thread so I learned to use my pointed awl and poked it through the holes from both ends to make a hole before I placed it on the spool. As far as thread being glued to the underside of the label I learned to watch for that and clipped the thread before I placed on spool. Both these tricks have saved me from using some nasty language.

  5. Love the little pink hearts! I also can not stipple and I dislike how it looks so bad! I think loopity loops are great for beginners. You can turn them up and down, big and small, and add a little motif inbetween any direction…hearts, stars, footballs, words of endearment, flowers, bees, dragon flys…it’s so easy to turn around if you work youself into a corner which I do on occassion. I just realized I like smaller loops than my motif better..made a few the same size as those footballs and I don’t like them…chalk it up to learning! 🙂
    I kept checking yesterday for your post…talk about addiction! haha! I finally came to the conclusion that it got so cold in MN the internet froze. LOL!

  6. After looking at my quilting thread, I only found 3 spools of cotton. I must like poly a whole lot better. I have 2 spools of Multicolor Mercerized cotton thread from Coats & Clark T40. I spool of King Tut from Superior threads also variegated 40/3. I know the 40 must be the weight count, but do not know what the 3 stands for.

    • 3 stands for the number of strands in the ply of the King Tut. Bottom Line is 60/2 which means it is 60 weight (lighter than King Tut) and only 2 ply or strands of thread wound together to make the thread.

  7. LOL Lori! I can stipple the day away but even your simplest motifs have me chewing my tongue and tensing my shoulders. My brain must be wired to meander! But, I keep practicing away. Thanks for the lovely FMQ tutorials. I’m having great fun with the mystery quilt!

    • Julia, I’m with you too…the only quilting I’m comfortable with is in-the-ditch and stippling. I think stippling is about as brainless as you can get! I got a new mid arm quilter for my BD, a Pfaff Powerquilter 16.0. I’ve taken quite a few classes on Quiltsy on FMQ, but this QAL Mystery is the best learning tool I’ve had yet!

  8. I have another suggestion for the Tutorials. I know you put a search function but if you don’t know the name of it or forget all the wonderful tuts you have done, it would be helpful to have a list of the names and then make them link to the tut. I like the fact that you have a large picture of the tut but then you have to stroll through the entire list and as with most computers, your cursor can go through pretty fast and you could miss the one you want. Does this sound lazy? Heavens, I don’t want to make more work for you…just a thought. Your tuts are amazing!

    • Duane, That is a great idea! When there were just a few tutorials it was okay, but now it’s cumbersome. Please be patient. It will require a bit of time to accomplish your idea.

  9. Happy Friday all. I am new to the blog but already so appreciating your expertise. I have very little artistic talent when it comes to choosing a quilting design or motif for my pieced quilts. I know I can audition ideas using clear plastic But is there any advice out there on how to come up with those ideas for a specific pieced work? Sometimes it seems overwhelming and the the project becomes a UFO.

    Here’s another thread code found on Isacord brand ET40

  10. You should be able to find your posting in your Spam folder and then mark it as “not Spam”. All future emails should go into the proper folder. In gmail if you check the selected email a little box will pop up above. Usually will say Delete Forever and then next to it is Not Spam! Click on it. It should work!

  11. As a novice to FMQ I believe I know the answer to Debra’s question about numbers. The 40 indicates the thread wt. and the 3 is the number of strands that make up the thread. Thus the 60/2 is 60 weight and 2 strands wrapped together to make up the thread. I hope someone will correct me if I’m wrong.

  12. Thank you so much for admitting out loud that you can not stipple!! I could never get the hang of it and it was presented to me in such a way that EVERYONE starts with this and then you progress to something else. Well, that has kept me from moving past stipple to try other things besides stitch in the ditch and straight lines. I’m done with that. No more quilting police in my life.

  13. Loops are easy for beginning quilters and I found that swirls were easy when I started quilting on my longarm. Organic “straight” lines and slightly wiggly straight lines are easy on both DSMs and longarms. An easy pattern to use on sashing is what I call “E’s and L’s” – use the lower case of each and just alternate them. I’ll draw a line down the center of the sashing and that’s where I’ll stop my “E”, the “L” goes all the way to the top. If the sashing is more than 2″ wide, I’ll draw 2 lines 1/2″ from the edge and I’ll do a double line of E & L facing each other and use the drawn lines to stop at – alternate the facing line so that the E on one side is paired with an L on the other line. If that doesn’t make sense, I can draw it out and send you a picture. Superior Threads has a great deal of information about threads under their education tab on their site. Bob really knows his threads!

    • I second the endorsements for Bob at Superior threads. I would love to attend one of his workshops in person, as his DVD is very enlightening … it would be that much better to actually ‘feel’ the class by handling the thread as he teaches.
      Right now, I’m just using up every old spool of thread from what I “inherited” from my mom and m-i-l as well as all the spools left from my 4-H/school clothes-making days. Like some others, the paper labels are long gone from many of those spools.
      Would a burn test work on a little pile of thread as it does to test fabric fiber content?

  14. From the beginning I was never taught how to bury threads. I tried from seeing a U Tube video, but could never get my knot in the right place. Instead was told to back stitch a couple of times which looks like a tiny bird-nest. Can you give a demo ?

  15. You mentioned cereal box de-coder ring in your Searching for Clues in The Thread Box, can someone explain to me what that is, another newbie. Thanks

    • Kathy, I wonder how old you are or what area of the world you may be from?. Here in the U.S., starting in the 1930s and beyond, cereal boxes used to come with a variety of litlle toys and prizes. One of those was a de-coder ring, which substituted one symbol for a letter. Then a message would be posted using the code. It might be something simple like the numbers 1-26 would relate to the letters A-Z. Kids would then figure out the message using their ring.

  16. Oh, I have often wished for that list! Or even better, a list with thumbnail pictures. Lori, I have no idea if that would be a 10 minute, 10 hour, or 10 day project. Hope you know that lots of us are looking through your tutorials often, looking for inspiration (and help!).

  17. Lori, you are right about stippling. I always found it easier to quilt a flower or leaf with lots of places to stop and start. I’m too OCD to stipple until one day I just went with it and it was fine. I still like flowers better.

  18. I love the heart motifs!!!! My problem is that although I can get good at motifs with a bit of both doodling and FMQ practice, I simply can’t figure what is right for my quilt or small project and spend way tooooo much time lamenting over it and either abandon or go back to Stippling. When stippling, I do prefer to do stippling with loops and would like to try and incorporate hearts or flowers with it…just haven’t gotten there yet. I’ve taken to really concentrate how other people FMQ their quilts at shows, taking pics for future reference or looking at the FMQ detail in magazines.

    • Pinterest is a huge help. Do you have a Pinterest board? Way easier than magazine cutting. I think you are right to look at lots of other quilts. BUT finally you have to dive in and accept the inevitable mistakes. It’s the only way to get better!

    • I started machine quilt (domestic) about 3 yrs. ago, at the same time I started following Pinterest. That helped me see how others handle different types of patterns. I have improve a lot with a lot of practice. This year I want to work on transitioning to different motifs in the same background.

    • I look at the prints in the quilt for ideas. I just did a quilt with stars and a leaf print. I quilted maple and elm leaves with loops between. Or I do curves with straight blocks. Just an idea that might help. But I do understand the part where I puzzle over what to do. But once I start it goes pretty fast. I just have to get started and it seems to work out.

    • If you can FMQ with loops, you just have to add some more loops to make a flower. 2 loops = paired leaves, 3 loops= a bud, 4,5,6 etc loops = flowers!!

  19. Yet another question from the Newbie. Does anyone have a great way to store bobbins and thread? I can never find the bobbin that matches the thread. Thank you.

    • I was given a great tip for storing thread and bobbins together. Put the bobbin on top of the spool and drop a golf tee down thru both the bobbin and spool. Longer tees work better for larger spools and you can add a bead or other embellishment to the top of the tee to dress it up.

      • Lori, no one in my family plays golf, so I use a long nail with a big flat head.. I use M bobbins.. Mostly for my Longarm… The small ones for my Pfaff has a case.

    • I use EZ bobbin mates to keep my bobbins with my spools. Can usually get 2 bobbins on it too…cause sometimes I’ve wound more than I needed.

      Also, I’ve been known to use pieces of cut off strips of selvage to thread thru the bobbin and down thru the spool and tie. Works great with large spools/cones of thread,

  20. Kathy, one way I read to store bobbins and thread is to put a pipe cleaner down through the bobbin and continue down through the spool then twist the ends together. It seems like it would work really well. Good luck.

  21. Does anyone have advice to prevent the thread from getting tangled on the upright spindle? After I stop sewing, the spool keeps spinning and the thread puddles around the base of the spindle. If I don’t notice it and rewind it back on the spool (so annoying…) then it gets caught a little while later after I resume stitching (REALLY annoying). The problem seems to come from the spool spinning too freely, but if there’s resistance against the spool to prevent that, it will affect the thread tension.

    • Linda Evans… When I use Monopoly on my Longarm I put a net over the spool to keep it from flying away. I bought mine from Linda Taylor Electric but you might find them at Jo Ann’s Fabric. Another thing I tried and it worked was wrapping a piece of batting around it with a straight pin to hold in place. The thread will move from below but will not unravel..
      .. Pat Skinner

      • Thanks Pat, I’ll try the batting with the thread coming out the bottom. I haven’t had any luck with the net. 🙁

      • I have bought something called Wonder Guard from Wonderfil Specialty Threads and it’s great. It’s a clear plastic -type wrap that you wrap around your spool and it stops the thread from unwinding off the spool into “puddles” around the base of the spool.

    • You need a small round foam disk under your spool. It allows the spool to rotate without the free play. The foam disk has a hole in the center to fit on the spool spindle under you thread spool.

  22. I imgine you can’t stipple because with all your talent you find it too boring. Me, I don’t have your talent, so I stipple. 🙂

  23. hi Lori, I bought some sulky thread for quilting without realizing it is a metallic thread and I am unfamiliar with how to use it. I think i need a metallic needle but beyond that I have no clue. it was expensive but it matched my multicolor lap quilt perfectly. Do you have any advice for me?

  24. Hi Lori, I just sorted through my stash of threads and found some more terms on my Cotton thread spools to add to your list (I don’t think I’ve seen these listed in the comments already):

    Matte Finish (Sulky brand) – the thread has a nice sheen which doesn’t look ‘matte’ to me
    yds/vgs (Gutermann brand) – vgs probably translates into yards?
    100% Glaced Cotton (Americana brand) – would this be the same as mercerized? Don’t even know where I got this thread
    Stick-+Stopfgarn (Mettler) This on a spool of 60wt cotton merc. made in Spain

    Thanks for the thread education!

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