Choosing the Perfect Thread Color for Your Quilting

Amy Friend of During Quiet Time is a masterful paper-piecer and it’s hard not to look at her quilts with a total sense of awe. Amy’s second collaboration with Aurifil was released earlier this year, just in time for QuiltCon and right before the world seemed to shut down. Petal + Stem is a vibrant collection of 10 small spools of Amy’s go-to 50wt thread, perfectly partnered with her book with Lucky Spool.

She has been in AuriLove for nearly 10 years and we’d consider her to be a master in 50wt;). She can attest to its virtues, particularly in the paper-piecing world, where flat seams can make or break a quilt. She swears by 50wt for her quilting as well, and we’re honored to welcome her to Auribuzz today to give us some helpful tips on color selection in quilting.


Have you seen my beautiful Aurifil thread collection called Petal + Stem?  It’s a set of small 50 weight spools with three greens for your stems and leaves, and a rainbow of colors for your flowers.  It was curated to accompany my recent book, Petal + Stem:  40 Modern Floral Quilt Blocks to Mix and Match.

When I share these threads at lectures and workshops, I am told that people are drawn to them and want to use them but they aren’t sure how.  They tell me that they generally piece in a neutral thread.  I do too!  But I like to use these to quilt.  You can too, even if you aren’t doing free motion quilting within each shape, etc.  Let me tell you about one of my favorite ways to used colored thread in either 40 or 50 weight.  Because I am a designer of modern paper pieced blocks, I tend to use mainly solid fabrics and want my designs and shapes to be the first thing that you see when you look at the quilt. I like the quilting to provide texture and to minimize the distraction caused by seam lines.  I find that straight line quilting works really well for this.

This quilt is called Namaste. I quilted it with vertical straight lines.  They vary in spacing, either a ½” or ¼” apart. I could have used just gray thread for this but instead, I opted to use 7 shades of gray and pink threads!

You don’t notice this thread color change from a distance, but when you get up close to the quilt, it’s a fun surprise, or added detail.  

Here’s another example.  This is my Shibori quilt, also quilted in vertical straight lines.  Similarly, I quilted the lines either ¼” or ½” apart, varying across the quilt.  Most of the thread is a 50 weight gray.

But I used a 40 weight green occasionally across the quilt top. I love the difference that the little pop of color makes!  Look at how interesting those added green lines look in the open white space.  Also, using a colored thread or changing the colors as you go, breaks up the monotony of straight line quilting.  It keeps the process more interesting.  I always enjoy quilting more if I am quilting with a pretty color thread!  

Here’s a final example, Arboreal.  

I used three different color threads for the quilting. The light pink is a 50 weight and the yellow and cinnamon colors are 40 weight.

I do not have patterns available for these three quilts because I made them for a show.  But, they were all designed using my improv paper piecing method that you can learn about in another one of my books, Improv Paper Piecing:  A Modern Approach to Quilt Design or my on-demand workshop.

I hope you enjoy this simple way to include color in your modern, straight-line quilting!


ABOUT AMY
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Amy Friend is a former museum curator turned designer.  She designs modern quilts and specializes in paper pieced designs.  She authored the books Intentional Piecing (2016) and Improv Paper Piecing: A Modern Approach to Quilt Design (2017), and has a new book, Petal + Stem (2020).  Since 2019, Amy has run a paper pieced Block of the Month program each year.  She is an award winning quilter and her quilts have been exhibited at a number of quilt shows as well as museums.  Amy visits quilt guilds to speak about her quilts and to teach workshops.  For those who can’t attend a workshop, Amy now offers online workshops for individuals.  Those can be found on her website under “Online Workshops.” Amy lives in Massachusetts with her husband and three children. If she isn’t sewing or spending time with the family, you might find her in the garden.  You can follow her creative path on her blog, www.duringquiettime.com or on Instagram @duringquiettime.

**All images courtesy of Amy Friend. 

THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
Petal + Stem
10 Small Spools, 50wt (220yds/spool), 100% Aurifil Cotton
2150, 2260, 2530, 2515, 2588
5018, 2888, 5017, 5005, 2120

To view this info on our website, click here. For purchasing, please contact your local Aurifil Dealer.

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