Thread Matters 2019: The Great Thread Adventure

This month’s Thread Matters – The Aurifilosophy Series allows me to introduce Aurifilosopher Lorraine Turner of Calico Horses. Lorraine utilizes her extraordinary skills as an animal communicator to create unique and inspiring fiber art. You’ll be in awe of how she enhances her art with Aurifil thread! What I love most about Lorraine is her willingness to use her fiber art to raise awareness and funds in support of endangered animals. Lorraine has exciting adventures ahead – be sure to follow her for some well deserved recognition in the quilting community. 

If you missed the January introduction of Aurifilosophy and this fun new Thread Matters series click here to read more. Consider scheduling an Aurifilosophy Program for your shop, group or guild – learn more here.

Happy Stitching!
Karen L. Miller ~ Redbird Quilt Co.

The Great Thread Adventure
Sometimes when entering my studio, I feel as if I am an explorer embarking on an expedition. I never know what I will discover when experimenting with various fibers and threads. I approach each project like a kid with a box of crayons — no rules or mistakes… only life lessons. I normally use Aurifil 50wt in all of my fabric collages, but during playtime I learned some fun new ways to make my art really sing. To spotlight dark areas of feathers, fur, and plants, I discovered the advantage of Aurifil 12wt. To emphasize muscle tone in galloping horses and create a unique look of freehand sketching, I tried Aurifil’s variegated threads.

Using Aurifil’s heavier 12wt thread helps bring attention to specific areas such as the wet leaves of a rainforest in “Welcome Rain.” I began illustrating this black panther, using a confetti technique of snipped ribbons over silk, covered with tulle. Next, I hand embroidered the river using dyed silk floss and silk fabrics. Using Aurifil’s more fine 50wt threads, I raw appliquéd and thread painted the panther and rainforest.

I used bright yellows and greens to draw attention to the veins. Aurifil 12wt helped accentuate the details of the leaves and allowed me to create contrast in the highlights and shadows. This allows the foreground to sparkle.

My experiment with variegated threads began by splashing some watercolors onto a vintage tablecloth to use as a background. Next, I fused a muslin-based pencil sketch onto the tablecloth, and began sketching with 50wt-variegated threads.

I had previously avoided these candy-striped threads because I thought I needed more control. However, when the spool color changed, I simply paused and jumped to an area that required that shade. I supplemented with various solid colors of Aurifil 50wt to blend areas that needed more fill.

The manes and tails of both “On the Move” and “Flying Solo” were stitched with Aurifil 12wt and the grass is a mixture of 12 and 50wt scribble-stitched onto water-soluble stabilizer, rinsed, dried, snipped, and added to the tablecloth with monofilament thread. If you’ve never tried variegated threads, it’s time to include them into your PLAYtime.


In creating “From the Bottom of Our Hearts,” I wanted to capture the luster of ice as it shimmers and reflects on this family of Emperor penguins.

I began with a background of dyed cheesecloth, organza, vintage doilies, and lace. I raw appliquéd and thread painted the adults, and felted the chick with a blend of tussah silk and merino wool. Iridescent beads helped create the feeling of snow around their feet.

I loved using patterned black fabrics yet found them challenging when trying to emphasis the wing feathers. How could I make this section stand out against dark fabrics? By selecting Aurifil 12wt whites and blacks, I was able to make them really pop.

What will I stumble upon next in my upcoming projects? You never know, but I look forward to more Aurifil PLAYtime as I am certain it will lead to new adventures and discoveries.

Website || Facebook || Instagram || Shop

Lorraine burst into the world of textile art in 2018 with a 26-piece special exhibit at IQF in Houston, just two years after creating her very first art quilt in 2016! In that time, she has become an Aurifil Designer & an Aurifilosopher, has been featured in Quilting Arts and Machine Quilting Unlimited magazines, has appeared on the Quilt Show with Ricky Tims, and teaches and lectures internationally.

She brings a lifetime of creative experience to her textile art. A commercial artist for forty years, Lorraine is the winner of two Emmy Awards as a lead designer for the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the recipient of multiple awards at the San Diego International Comic-Con in her role as Art Director of the Library of American Comics.

The overriding passion behind her textile art comes from her activity as a professional animal communicator. She illustrates the conversations of all of the creatures she meets and uses her fabric art to raise awareness and funds for endangered animals. Look for hidden elements of plants and animals within Lorraine’s work, as she symbolizes the dynamic relationship between all species sharing the natural resources of our planet.

The clean lines, exaggerated color, and bold brushwork depicted in comics has also influenced her art—and you could say that endangered animals are her superheroes.

Lorraine works from her studio in Clearwater, Florida.

1 comment

Leave a Reply