Monday, August 30, 2010

Selecting thread

It's not often I get a customer quilt I can talk about, but today I have exactly that. This quilt belongs to Susan Briscoe and is for a book she is working on. She is sending quilts to a range of quilters to show how different quilting can change the quilt. I'm really looking forward to seeing the results. This is the first one I am doing.

We had a chat about possible quilting patterns and ideas, but as I said, she is looking for variations so isn't giving too much guidance. I did say I would pick threads close to the fabrics but a shade or two off. That's fine until you get to the border fabric. The first two threads I picked a possibilities are the two to the right. The quilt is fairly subdued tones so I thought a slightly greyed colour might work. I tried the brown(ish) one because the quilt had a lot of brown in it and the green because Susan had mentioned the green in the border when we were talking. I don't like either of them on the quilt they both look too bright to me. I was still thinking about green, the pattern I am putting in the border is of plants they are green, and the border fabric has bright greens in it. The second from the left was the best green I came up with. Darker greens tended to look very blue on this fabric and that was right out. I quite like the lime green varigated but it is loud. It woulkd make for some real 'look at me' quilting. That's fine in the right place. Is a pattern I've just invented on a subtle quilt it? No, I didn't think so either.

I actually gave up on the border thread for a while and selected the threads for the rest of the quilt. In the process I spotted the leftmost thread. For me it is the perfect combination of bright visable and subtle. It will show enough but not overwhelm the quilt and it picks up the autumnal feel of the quilt. I have my winner. This process is pretty much what I go through for every quilt. I often end up with a long row of possible threads and spend quite a while picking the right balance for th quilt. Sometimes I get lucky and there is either an obvious choice or it's not too critical, but more often it's a matter of trying out lots. The worst part is even having laid the thread on the quilt like this you sometimes get surprises. I had one where two of us had done this and come to, what we thought, was a good answer. I started quilting and after about 5 minutes was certain we were wrong, the thread looked horrible. I had to unpick and try again. Fortunately I did better the second time. Yes, I have started the quilting, and this time the thread does work.


Borderline Quilter said...

Interesting quilt....I will be very interested to see what you do with it...but maybe I'll have to wait for the book???
Kay in Scotland

jan said...

What a great idea, is everyone doing the same quilt or are they all different? Possible a silly question, but you never know!!

Susan Briscoe said...

Thanks for the thread photos - they all look gorgeous, but then I find it really difficult to "see" thread colours on a computer screen for some reason! I am looking forward to seeing the border quilting in real life. This quilt is going to glow.

Borderline Quilter, you'll have to wait for the book but it won't be a very long wait - it is coming out next spring.

jan, the quilts are all different - 20 quilts from 10 designs, one being handquilted (by me) and the other being longarmed. There are five longarm quilters doing the machine quilted pieces - some are doing just one and the max anyone is doing is three - Ferret will be doing three. The fabrics for each version are very different, so the finished quilts will be pretty diverse - I hope!

Rafael's Mum said...

Really looking forward to seeing the quilt in full plus your quilting Ferret. Knowing you it will be amazing!

jan said...

Thanks for the heads up Susan, look forward to seeing the results. Do you have to be famous to do this sort of thing I wonder?

Trudi said...

What an interesting experiment in quilting! I frequently play with the thread on the quilt top first, as you say Fettet, it's not always the obvious that proves perfect!