Welcome all!! Thread Matters for December 2020 allows me to welcome back Aurifilosopher Tammy Silvers of Tamarinis. Tammy is an amazing pattern designer, a fabric designer for Island Batik, an educator, a Studio 180 Certified Instructor, and truly one of the biggest cheerleaders you’ll find in the quilting industry. Tammy shares her passion for piecing with us this month. You’ll love her tips for working with 50wt via the December Color Builder, Carrara.
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 L. Miller ~ Redbird Quilt Co.
Confession time: when Aurifil announced the December Carrara Color Builders to include white, gray, and black (2021, 2625, 2692), I was underwhelmed. 270 gorgeous colors to choose from and December is black, white and gray? But then the box arrived and it hit me. Folks – this is a MUST HAVE box for EVERYONE! Why? Let’s explore that.
Must Have Reason #1
These are 50wt threads, so they are PERFECT for piecing. Fine enough to not bulk up your seams, strong enough to securely stitch all your piecing.
**Tip: When using Aurifil 50wt thread for piecing try using a size 70 needle. The smaller the eye of the needle the more accurate the resulting stitch. Aurifil’s 50wt 2 ply cotton thread is very fine and will glide through a #70 needle with ease.
**Tip: Thread weight can effect seam allowance and seam bulk. The fine nature of Aurifil’s 50wt 2 ply thread allows seams to press flat, flat, flat. Having trouble getting just the right seam allowance? Patterns often call for a scant ¼” seam allowance. If changing from one thread brand or weight to another be sure to verify your seam allowance.
Here’s a quick way to gauge your seam allowance:
- Select ( 3 ) 2-1/2” square pieces. (Moda Mini Charms are this size).
- Sew them together in a row with a ¼” seam.
- Press to set the seams and press the seams to one side.
- Flip over and measure. The middle charm should be exactly 2” wide. If not, adjust your seam allowance and try again.
Must Have Reason #2
These are the three basic piecing colors I recommend for 99.9% of your piecing needs. I’ll leave that .01% in there – just in case. I can’t think of a reason for another color, but hey – you never know!
The proof is in the pictures. Let’s look at when you might use white, gray, or black for piecing. Yes, there is a best time for each.
This feels like stating the obvious, but when piecing very light or white fabrics, white should be your go-to thread color. As you can see in the picture, the white blends not only with the white fabric, but also with the light purple fabric (or any light color fabric).
Ideally, piecing stitches will not show once pressed, but choose a thread color that will blend, just in case it does. Also, using a darker thread color might cause slight shadowing along the seam line. Yuck!
Gray is my go-to thread color. The Arctic Ice #2625 gray in the December box is the perfect medium gray to work with almost any fabric. Don’t believe me? Try it! Stitch some Arctic Ice medium gray thread onto one of your (not white, not black) fabrics or prints. See? It blends beautifully.
The image shows this – I use medium gray with the bulk of my piecing.
The other end of the spectrum, black #2692 is a must use when piecing very dark or black fabrics. Again, we don’t want our threads to show. When piecing dark fabrics, using a lighter thread is risky. Not because of shadowing – that won’t happen. But you do run the risk of the lighter thread showing, and it will pop like a neon sign! Ack!
Black thread works fabulously on most dark fabrics, including green and navy. As you can see in this picture, it also blends well on the darker fabric.
Must Have Reason #3
With any piecing, match your bobbin thread color for the best result. Using a matching bobbin thread color helps hide small pesky issues with your tension.
**Tip: Use Aurifil 50wt thread in the bobbin too!! Did you know that Aurifil 50wt is the most cost effective weight to purchase? It certainly is! A large spool of Aurifil 50wt thread contains a whopping 1422 yards of luscious Egyptian Cotton thread. The slightly thicker 40wt thread contains 1094 yards, so put those extra 328 yards to good use and fill your bobbins. The 50wt bobbin lasts longer too with all that fine weight thread on it…
I’m excited for you to stock your sewing room with this great basic collection. Your projects will thank you!
Thanks so much to Tammy for sharing her project and her fabulous tips!
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Tammy Silvers is the designer behind the brand Tamarinis. She’s been designing quilts for 10 years, and prides herself on offering bold, fresh new patterns for quilters of all levels. She enjoys working with almost any fabric, but her favorites (the one that makes her drool and blow a carefully constructed budget) are batiks, bold prints, and chicken prints. Having a background in art and literature, another of her guilty quilty pleasures is finding ways to use “words” in her work, be it in the fabric itself or by adding them to the piece.
Tammy is a Georgia native and currently lives in Acworth with her husband, children (when they come to visit!), dog, and her favorite fat cats.
Under the label Tamarinis, her designs are regularly published in a variety of quilt magazines, including Quilt, McCall’s Quilting, American Patchwork and Quilting, Stitch, Fons and Porter’s Love of Quilting, Quilty, Quilt It…Today, Sew It…Today, Stitch and Create and Decorate. She also works with some of the major fabric manufacturers designing projects to showcase and promote their fabric lines, including Island Batik (of course!), Northcott Fabrics, Blend, Camelot and Fabri-Quilt.