Evidence and Deduction: The Mystery Quilt-a-Long

Thread Samples, Free Motion quilting

Good Morning, Quilters, Tailors, Seamstresses and Spies!

Today we are following the thread of evidence… we’re hot on The Thread Trail…if you will..

THE PLAN:  Stitch the evidence together in a logical order so we can make a few deductions…

This step may take several weeks to complete.  Do not rush the process-enjoy it!

As you sort your thread box, choose samples from different types of thread and stitch them onto your grid.  Do this in random order, or stitch side-by-side comparisons of some of your threads.

Thread Samples, Free Motion quiltingYou could compare Polyester to Rayon:

Thread Samples, Free Motion quiltingOr two cotton threads of different weight:

Thread Samples, Free Motion quiltingOr same weight, different manufacturer.

Or same weight, different fiber:  polyester v. cotton.

Establish your own order based on the threads you prefer and what is in your thread box.  (Last week, I recommended that you put Cotton 50 wt in the center box and Polyester 50 wt two boxes over.–Don’t feel compelled to follow those instructions…)

Thread Samples, Free Motion quilting


  • Stitch samples of Cotton, Rayon, Polyester, Silk, Metallic and Monofilament (Either one can be used as the “M” in the top right corner.)  If you don’t have any one of these threads in your collection, add it to your “BUY” list.  (Yes, I’ve talked to your husband…)
  • Use a permanent marker to create a label for your spools (Finally a  label that won’t fall off!)  (See Open Line Friday-(Comments too) on Permanent Markers.)
  • Write down the Fiber, Weight, Manufacturer and Thread Name if it has one (for example, Superior’s Extra-long staple cotton is called “King Tut”.)
  • If you have more information to add:  where purchased, price, tension adjustments,–write that information on the back of the square. (We used a light colored solid backing for easier note taking!)
  • Leave the upper left corner free…We have one more clue to add….

Thread Samples, Free Motion quilting


Last week, I enjoyed a few hours stitching and was very surprised by some of the results– For example, the look of 50 wt cotton thread from different manufacturers is very different!

I also found several “new” favorites!…though I’m a firm believer of the old Girl Scout vow:  Make new friends, but keep the old….It’s important to have a few reliable “old friends” on which to depend!

This Spool Sampler will be an invaluable tool any time you sew -not just when free motion quilting.

If you find a thread is too thick or too thin, too shiny or too dull…You will be able to quickly find a replacement…

Thread Samples, Free Motion quiltingFILLING IN YOUR GRID

If you have time, I recommend spending an hour or so stitching and comparing threads at one time.  I promise this is WELL WORTH your time!

If you don’t want to take an hour, add threads each time you begin a new project or buy a new thread.  There’s no hurry to finish The Sampler.

Consider making more than one Sampler–depending on how many threads you own–or want to try!


As you make comparisons, write your conclusions on the back of this Sampler–All the information in ONE PLACE…

And share your new knowledge with “The Group”–

We’d LOVE to hear!

There’s still a bit of MYSTERY left–What goes in the upper left hand corner???

Only the shadow knows, (Prompt eerie music…)


Find all the Mystery Quilt-a-Long Tutorials HERE.

PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, share or pin with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at lckennedy@hotmail.com.  Thanks!

21 thoughts on “Evidence and Deduction: The Mystery Quilt-a-Long

  1. Lori, I think this is such a great idea! What a pretty and fun way to gather and then store this much needed information.

    Thank you for inviting us to participate!

  2. Great idea! Wondering…do you use the same thread in the bobbin? Seems like that would create many bobbins with a little bit of thread. I only have a few bobbins. Would monofilament work in bobbin for all threads?

  3. You are so sneaky!!! I just saw some clip of a lady that took the time to compare all these threads on a strip of fabric and I thought ya that is never going to happen! Bahahahaha!!! Not that it wasn’t interesting or useful…just too much time involved. My head never even went to make something cute in the process! I guess after raising 6 kids you would be the Queen Rock Star at getting tedious tasks done in a fun way!!! Hats off to you and I love it! And I was wanting a cute spool quilt to decorate my sewing room!! YAY!

    • Ness, You are ON to me…Making beds was a race, doing dishes was timed…Unfortunately…my kids were ON to me too!

      I really think this one is worth the time…And because it’s pretty you will want to keep and refer to it!

  4. This is genious! You are such a wonderful teacher. I have been sitting on the side lines, but now I know that this is something I really need to do and keep close to my machine.

  5. Lori-
    Due to my sewing machine being in the “shop” and having to be gone a few weeks, I wasn’t able to start the mystery quilt.
    Now, I can and I’m so ready!
    One question- I remember that you said to prewash batting, but how do you feel about prewashing fabric?
    I love being in Minnesota because it’s so cozy cocooning in the house in my sunny sewing room.
    None of that greasy sunblock and having to wash off sandy feet. And none of those decisions about what fish to order. Walleye is still my favorite.
    Now, I can choose my solid fabrics (thanks to a little stash of Kona cottons). Hmm.
    Saw you in AQS magazine. Neat.
    I so much appreciate you for sharing your considerable talent. You are always a day brightener! You make all of us feel like friends, because you also share yourself with us.

    • Thank you for your kind note…First, to clarify…I don’t prewash my batting. I just passed along an article from Sue Garman–an amazing quilter–very trustworthy!

      As for washing fabric, I think YOU should…but I don’t always! Many of my little quilts are only rarely washed…and I like the feel right off the bolt, but I think there is risk-bleeding and shrinkage. If I’m making a big quilt, I usually pre-wash my fabric…if it’s an art piece, I usually don’t wash it.

  6. What a fantastic idea! Kind of like the stitch out I did to learn the decorative stitches on the sewing machine, but this time it is to learn about the thread! What a great aha! moment!

  7. This is such a GREAT! idea can’t wait to hang it in my teeny tiny sewing room, as soon as I get one done up it goes until I have time for the next one. Thanks Lori!

  8. Pingback: Mystery quilt along continues! | Slaney HandCraft

  9. Pingback: Free Motion Quilt-a-Long: The Mystery in the Corner | The Inbox Jaunt

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