Welcome all! Today, we’re pleased to present a new installment of Thread Matters by Master Educator and Aurifilosophy Program Coordinator Karen Miller of Redbird Quilt Co. Karen is our go-to thread maven. We’re forever in awe of her mad quilty skills but love that she’s always at the ready to help with our number one thread questions. HUGE thanks to Karen for working with us on the subtle colors of Verona.
If you missed the 2019 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.
Karen is hosting a Giveaway of her Subtle Sampler collection on her blog — Click HERE to join in on the fun.
Greetings fellow creative souls and many thanks for joining us for the April edition of Thread Matters 2020 — The Aurifilosopher Series. This month we’re celebrating Aurifil’s April Color Builder collection, “Verona”, while experimenting with a bit of thread color blending.
I couldn’t be more excited about the lustrous neutral colors included in this collection. The trio complements my current creative palette. From dense background quilting, to faux ruched flowers and having just the right shade of thread to disappear into my needle turn appliqué – the 6724 Moonshine, 2375 Antique Blush, and 6731 Tiramisu are spot on.
The moment this collection arrived I was anxious to apply the colors to one of my more recent UFOs.
You see #2375 Antique Blush pairs perfectly with a quilt I’ve needed to finish since taking a Fabric Collage Workshop from the ever so talented Lorraine Turner of Calico Horses. You know Lorraine – she’s a master of fabric collage & thread illustration who also loves to use Aurifil thread in her art. Here’s one of my favorite creations by Lorraine.
In the ” Silent Awareness” Eagle Owl workshop I attended with Lorraine, she mentioned using a thread blending technique that sounded intriguing. Lorraine runs 2 different colors of Aurifil 50wt thread through the eye of a single needle. I was excited to give this technique a try on my red feathered friend!
Lorraine encourages the use of thread painting (with our favorite Aurifil threads) to blend the fabric sections of the collage, turning them into an original work of art. I was excited to blend the beautiful #6731 Tiramisu with Aurifil 50wt #1103 Burgundy to give the eagle owl feathers an edge of glitter against the dark red fabrics.
First I prepared my machine. My 1949 Featherweight, “He Who Has Yet To Be Named”, was set up in the living room and ready for the adventure. I inserted a new 90/14 Top Stitch needle. Remember – the top stitch needle has a groove all the way down the front of the shaft. It’s my FAVORITE needle when using heavier weights of Aurifil so I thought it would come in handy when using multiple strands of the same weight. I also inserted a bobbin of 50wt and began experimenting with mounting 2 different spools of thread.
I wound each color on a plastic bobbin and stacked both bobbins on the original Featherweight vertical Spool Post. I stitched several sample runs with them both coming off the bobbin clockwise, both counterclockwise and then I tried a sample run of one of the threads coming off clockwise and one counterclockwise. Although these setups worked, at times the bobbins jumped and spewed out more thread than necessary. Thankfully my machine accommodated all that thread without too much incident.
I used a combination of my Featherweight horizontal Thread Post (read more about it here) and an external thread stand – each holding a spool of thread. This solution seemed to work more consistently, feeding the thread from both spools more evenly than Option 1.
Using the bobbins from Option 1, I mounted both on the Featherweight horizontal Thread Post. This option worked pretty well – I was pleased with the results.
I played around a bit more with the Option 3 setup, doing some Free Motion Quilting on a small sample piece. I really love the way the blended stitching looks. I intentionally quilted a long stitch to highlight the blended thread resting on top of the fabric.
Once I had the setup worked out I went straight to work on my WIP. Although I have a little more fabric selection and placement to do (yep I do!) I was anxious to try the blended thread technique on the bottom grouping of feathers.
NOTE: It was necessary to play with the tension when switching from the batting and backing of my sample pieces to fabric, canvas and interfacing of my WIP.
Voila! I was successful in stitching the blended threads as planned. Many thanks to fellow Aurifilosopher Lorraine Turner for suggesting this approach!
- If you have a machine with 2 thread posts – use them!!
- Using a 90/14 top stitch needle seems just right for 2 strands of 50wt thread.
- Blending shows well with a longer stitch length.
- It’s fun to try something new – even if you have no idea what to expect
While I was investigating the beautiful city of Verona, Italy I found this great blog post online. I’ve already decided I must visit there one day.
Thank you, Karen, for sharing some of your thread adventures with us!
Karen L. Miller, owner of Redbird Quilt Co. is an Aurifil designer, Aurifilosopher, national educator, author, and cheerleader of all things free motion quilting. She launched Redbird Quilt Co. to share her love of appliqué and show others how free motion quilting on home sewing machines can bring their projects to life. Karen plays with all weights of Aurifil thread and openly contributes her knowledge and experience to the greater quilting community. When she’s not home enjoying the multitude of songbirds that grace the Finger Lakes Region of NY, you’ll catch her traveling the countryside sharing her passion for quilting with Guilds and Shops alike.
Karen and her husband Cliff own one crazy Yellow Nape Amazon parrot named “Cayman”. Their children are grown and they are blessed with 8 grandchildren, many of whom love to sew with Gramma Karen!
The Subtle Sampler
Karen is a master at quilting with all weights of Aurifil thread. Her goal when creating The Subtle Sampler was to enable you to try each weight too. You’ll love experimenting with the subtle 12wt, 28wt, 40wt and 50wt threads in the collection. Don’t miss her tutorial for The Subtle Tree right here on Auribuzz.
12 Large Spools
Clear Monofilament, Smoke Monofilament
12wt: 6722, 6723 || 28wt: 2430, 2130, 2880
40wt: 2530, 5017, 5006 || 50wt: 2312, 2000