Monday, October 31, 2011

Quilting with Metallic Thread

A simple feather design quilted on soft, washed muslin with wool batt takes on an entirely different look when a metallic thread suddenly makes a surprise appearance!

After reading "Mastering Metallics" by Ann Fahl I decided to try out a few threads I had in my thread drawer.  Here I used Superior's "Glitter" thread, a flat type very sparkly metallic, and a #80 Jersey needle. 

I know it is not the type of needle recommended, but it worked so well for me with my YLI Sparkle thread, a silk and metallic blend, that I wanted to see if it would work on something more challenging.  I much prefer it to the horribly big spear-like #80 Topstitch needle.

It worked beautifully in my machine, a Bernina 730 with a rotary hook.  I used #100 silk thread in the bobbin, but could have used a fine cotton like Aurifil #50.

Top tension was reduced from default #4 to #2.  The thread was on the vertical spindle to keep it nice and taut and flat.  There was no looping or twisting or skipping stitches.  I used a fairly small stitch, quilted a bit slower than usual, and it worked well.

The larger the stitch the more sparkle/glitter you get.  But, the larger the stitch, the less puff in the batt, and the design loses its oomph.

The background quilting was done with pale yellow #100 YLI silk thread and really sets off the metallic nicely.  I think this thread combo has possibilities!

Next I am trying YLI Sparkle for a feather design on ecru silk fabric instead of muslin.  I'm using a #70 Jersey needle.  I'll post my findings later.

Below, another photo of the design. 

The sparkle of the thread is very apparent in real life, not so much in the photos.  Sorry about that.

What I didn't like about this thread is the lack of smoothness for smaller designs or close echo quilting. 

Curves were not smooth, and the stitches tended to go off a bit from a straight line.  On the back, the silk stitches looked perfect. 

I think it is an anomaly of this type of flat thread but I didn't like that it made my quilting suffer just a bit.  I didn't wobble, the thread did!  I would not use this thread for tiny designs or micro fills, froth, or baby pearls.

Sometimes it's fun to go off your normal path, and try a new road.  I am having some fun making these samples and will keep them around to remind me of possibilities for future projects.  I took notes with a Sharpie pen on the back so I can refer to what was used to create each sample. 

Oliver loved this thread; he let it run through his teeth as I quilted.  Yikes.

You must know your tools and materials to have success in your quilting.  Taming a thread is always a good thing, and knowledge is power.  Try something new today, just for fun.

Keep quilting!  Your work gets better everyday.

Happy Halloween from a sleepy Oliver, still in his nightcap.....!


Pat Merkle said...

WOW! I was happy when I FMQ some simple flowers with metallic thread! Your feather is just amazing. I hope someday I can quilt like this.

(Funny, I just realized that the only book I own on machine quilting is yours. ;) )

sue said...

I enjoy the quilting lessons. You've helped me out a lot. And, I always love photos of Oliver.

Ivory Spring said...

Hello Diane,

I have thoroughly enjoyed catching up with your blog! Love the articles.

SewCalGal said...

Beautiful Diane. Love all your quilting and insights. I definitely will pick up some of that thread to try.

And, I do think Oliver looks so cute in his night cap.


Ulla's Quilt World said...

Hi! Greetings again from Finland! That is so fantastic! Congratulations! It's so nice to find other quilters all around the world!

Diane Gaudynski said...

Thanks everyone! I am doing a bit more research on metallic threads, but if you like them, be sure to give them a try. I had no problems at all, and they are so popular now. I'll be adding more photos and info soon.

Featheronawire Sally Bramald said...

OK, until now I have not seen any metallic stitching I'd be happy with. You have cracked it. I shall change needles and give it a go.
There is a little bit of me still holding back and that's about the cuddle factor of quilts, somehow glitz and glamour are not as tactile to me. I feel the same about all the crystals around at the moment. But there is nothing like getting a good result to make me change my mind!
So many new things to try, so little time....

Diane Gaudynski said...

Sally, I agree about metallics and their having a bit of the wrong "feel." I do think a touch here and there as accent has worked for me, and to quilt all designs with a metallic is not my style.

However....! I do love the YLI Sparkle (#100 silk and one strand of metallic) for designs. I will post some photos soon, as I have found I can even backtrack with it and it looks fine, luxe and vintage, and I used a #70 Jersey needle with perfect results. It creates a twinkle, not the full-on glitter that solid metallics provide. I can even quilt tiny feathers with it beautifully.

I was very surprised (shocked!) to see how lovely the big glitzy threads looked in "my style." I think the materials take on a new life in the hands of the artist.