Thread Matters 2022: The Quilted Turkey

Greetings Aurifil Family – as Master Educator and Aurifilosophy Program Coordinator, I’m very excited to host Wendy Sheppard of @ivoryspring for the November Thread Matters share. Wendy is an amazing pattern designer, (you’ll find her sweet patterns in most any major publication), an Aurifil Designer (do check out her latest thread collection, Indigo), an author, an educator, an Aurifilosopher, and a dear friend of the entire Aurifil family.  

Today Wendy uses the subtle colors of the Rubber Tree Color Builder Collection to paint a seasonally appropriate portrait all while inspiring you to do the same! Join Wendy as she walks you through the process, sharing tips along the way.    

Is your shop, group or guild looking for insightful, inspiring and educational information on thread? Consider booking a virtual or in-person program with one of our skilled Aurifilosophers. Learn more about Aurifilosophy and find your favorite Aurifilosopher here

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

Hello to all my Aurifil friends! My name is Wendy Sheppard and I hope you have had as good a year sewing, quilting, and crafting with Aurifil threads as I have! I’ve been an Aurifan ever since discovering Aurifil threads back in 2006 – that makes me feel kind of old! 

I actually started using Aurifil threads for domestic machine quilting, and from that moment, I was hooked. So, if you are on the fence about using Aurifil for quilting your projects consider this:

It’s my pleasure to share with you a thematic domestic machine quilted project for today’s Thread Matters post!

My quilted turkey was inspired by the season as well as the palette from Aurifil’s Rubber Tree Color Builder Collection. Just look at the gorgeous variegated threads!

(You can find this Rubber Tree Collection at your local quilt shop!)

I will walk you through the process of quilting this thematic piece, and will sprinkle my thoughts in as we progress:

My inspiration for this piece was a turkey found on an adult coloring page. I marked the general shape of the turkey with a Frixion pen. Frixion pens are handy, but always be sure to do a test on your fabric.  

The beauty of FMQ with the feed dog disengaged is such that a quilter can quilt in ANY direction. Using a Microtex Sharp needle size 90/14, I outlined my turkey by stitching multiple times around the turkey and the boundaries of various sections. My favorite weight for domestic machine quilting is the 50wt. I quilt with 40wt as well as 80wt, but 50wt would be my go-to if I had to pick one. I was able to outline-quilt multiple passes with 50wt without any thread buildup! I love, love, LOVE that aspect about the Aurifil 50wt!

With the sections all outlined, I had lots of fun filling them with different texture motifs using variegated threads.

Variegated threads are wonderful to show off movement in free-motion quilting on a fabric of a contrasting color. You can really see how the variegation plays out in the close up shots below.  

When there is dense outline quilting, the unquilted area outside of the outline generally will have a puckering issue. Pebbles are GREAT background motifs to counteract the puckers because the round and round nature of pebbling manipulates the batting and fabric a little amount at a time and in different directions, thus taking care of the puckers one pebble at a time!  

I also use a color that doesn’t compete with the main motif in my background quilting so that the eye will not be drawn to the background quilting. Don’t be afraid to stock up on any colors for your thread stash — you never quite know what shade you will need for your quilted projects! And here you can see… no more puckers!

I am often asked what to do with the quilted piece once complete. I have a few suggestions:

  1. I often let the piece “rest” on a flat surface at least overnight. 
  2. If the piece is wonky, I spritz it with water, and kind of pull and tug to square it up. I then place weights on the piece and let it dry.
  3. Once the piece is dry, I square up with a ruler and trim off any excess.

Luckily, I didn’t have to go through #2-3 for my turkey. After I let it rest overnight, I was able to finish it into a throw pillow!

Thank you for letting me visit with you about my turkey throw pillow.  Take care, and ’til next time!

p.s.  If you are interested in seeing more of my thematic quilted pieces, I created an urn design with the blues in my INDIGO thread collection.

Website — Instagram

Originally from Southeast Asia, Wendy came to the US for her tertiary education. After her degrees in Chemical Engineering, she worked in research in a wind tunnel for a spell. Nowadays, she is a stay/work-at-home Mom to a 12 year old. Wendy’s designs have been featured in major quilting publications, both home and abroad. She is also a published author, as well as an online quilting instructor. She is passionate about encouraging quilters to enjoy their quilting journey. During her free time, she loves to read history, and indulges in hand needlework.


  1. Thank you for showing your outstanding work on the Quilted Turkey! In addion, I feel compeled to tell you how much I enjoy looking at your tribute to Queen Elizabeth II. The art of the piece is simple yet absolutely stunning and for me captivating!

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