The Free Motion Quilting Project: More Thoughts on Thread

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

More Thoughts on Thread

I apologize for my absence this week. I'd love to say that I'm living it up at my sewing machine, knocking through several projects and installing a new organization system I recently picked up from IKEA, but alas, I'm really stuck in bed, or in the bathroom, with the worst case of food poisoning I've ever had.

free motion quilting | Leah Day
But I did want to follow up really quickly on the post about picking a thread color. It seems there are several things people say about thread color that gets passed around and down, quilter by quilter.

Personally I've heard you can use gray or beige thread with any color print and the quilt will come out fine.

Wendy commented basically this same line of thinking, but with olive green thread.

So what is the best color to use?

I think the solution here is in auditioning multiple thread options to your quilt surface to see which one you like the best.

Many people asked about the program I used to create all the different colored blocks. The program is Serif Draw Plus X4. I use this program because it's simpler and cheaper than Adobe.

To create all the different blocks, I found the saved project file I'd created of the sawtooth star quilt and created a new document of just the colored block and the stippling.

Using simple copy and pasting, I created the rows of blocks together, then went into each individual square and changed the thread color. For the variegated thread, I had to break the line in multiple pieces in order to create different colors in the stippling.

The biggest thing to keep in mind when it comes to graphically designing your quilts is to save often, and save every step of the process in a different project file. This way if you want to go back to the empty block with no color, you can.

Personally however, I find it much faster to audition color on blocks by simply going to my sewing machine and stitching out some different colors over some scraps from the quilt. If you don't have scraps left, try spooling out the thread over the surface of the quilt and stand back about 4 feet.

I should have a photo of this effect right here, but again, I don't want to risk making a mess on the stairs on the way down to the office!

As you can find by quickly reading through the comments of the thread post here that almost everyone has a different desire for how much the quilting lines show up on the quilt surface. Some want a nice showy display of stitches, others want the thread to blend in, and still more want to find the Goldilocks perfect spot of both matching and showing off in a balanced way.

There is no wrong or right way to do this, so I encourage you to develop your own style here. A lot of people will SAY many things, but when it comes down to it, it's only what YOU think that matters.

Go quilt something pretty today!



  1. Oh Leah - yuck on being sick. I hope you feel a million times better soon.

  2. Hope you are getting better every hour! Take Care! ~Jeanne

  3. Oh, so sorry you haven't been feeling well. Feel better soon! Sending you lots of love and light!

  4. Healing thoughts, feel better soon.

  5. Hope you feel better soon. I will keep you in my prayers.

    Debbie Hall

  6. I think that when you are snuggled up in a quilt that YOU quilted, the thread color no longer matters :)

  7. Get well soon. It is no fun being that kind of sick.....

  8. Hope you feel better soon, Leah ~

  9. Best default thread color, in my experience and opinion, is an old gold.

  10. Oh, dear. I hope it doesn't from something Josh cooked!

  11. I hope you soon feel better.

    I've heard of using a medium gray as a standard thread for piecing, but I've never heard that for quilting.

    Choosing the color of the quilting thread is almost as fun as choosing the fabrics themselves. ~ksp

  12. Eeuww. Been there! Get well soon.

  13. Here's hoping that you are starting to feel a wee bit better... Olive green eh? Might have to check that one out!

  14. Did you catch this from Megan, the bitchy stitcher? It sucks horribly to be sick, especially with it coming from both ends. It's been a while since I've been there, but I definitely earned the t-shirt when i did.
    Get well soon, and hopefully free from passing on to your loved ones.

  15. Leah - I wondered what had happened to you! Sorry to hear you are ill - make sure Josh stays around so you don't have to push yourself too soon. And of course take a break from this if you need to...

    Sending good thoughts and hugs,

  16. I am so sorry you are sick. It may be the roto-virus. Whatever it is, get rid of your toothbrush and sterlize anything you may have put near any of your personal exits. I hope you feel better and no one else is felled by this.

  17. Hope you feel better soon. Food poisoning is the worst.


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