Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Last Day

Today is the last day to get your fabulous four gradations at the price of $20 for four long quarter yards. These packets each contain a quarter yard, of either four different blues, or reds, or yellows or browns. These are what you need to spark that creative ember in your work.

The Inspired to Quilt program starts next month. Here is a very brief promo.
Check it out.
Quilter Frieda Anderson will be featured at the Inspired To Quilt online quilting expo held March 7th-10th. Don't miss this online quilting event. Registration is free. Just visit the link at the beginning of this description.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Wendy Butler Berns


Wendy and I became friends many years ago and we run into each other often out there in the quilt world. Wendy teaches and lectures around the world and does so much with thread in her quilts.

Wendy you have machine quilted all of your wonderful quilts. What threads have you used that you really like to work with? And why.

I create mostly wall quilts, so the threads I like working with are the beautiful Sulky rayons with great sheen to them…. If a rayon thread is not available I also enjoy the Superior Threads trilobal polyester threads as well-Highlights… they also have a wonderful sheen that spark up my quilting designs. These threads are 40 weight and easy to adjust my tension as I work along.

Detail, Me and My Shadow-Out on a Limb by WBBerns

What is your favorite type of needle to use with these threads and why?

I use Superior Thread monopoly clear thread in

my bobbin for all of my quilting.

The needle I stitch with the most with my favorite threads is the microtex 80/12 needle

You create your own quilting designs where do you get your inspiration from?

Can you tell us about that?

Detail_Coneflower_Chorus_by_Wendy_Butler_BernsRock Lake's Blue Heron

Inspirations and designs are all around us… most often I am inspired by organic shapes and lines from nature…. Leaves, vines, the texture in tree bark or the wave lines left on shore…. We just need to look more closely around us. I see shapes that appeal to me, then I spend time with my paper and pencil to doodle those shapes to figure out how I can turn them into continuous quilting designs.

What kind of problems have you encountered with machine quilting on your quilts?


The problem I encounter most deciding what quilting designs to combine with each other and getting myself jump started to choose which ones I want to work with…. Spending time viewing the quilt, studying the fabrics I used and pouring over designs I keep in my notebook, help me formulate my plans and get me going!

Feathered Butterfly Wing by Wendy Butler Berns

Wendy Butler Berns
textile artist, teacher, lecturer
Look for my workshops and gallery-  http://www.wendybutlerberns.com
Vidcast of "Out on a Limb Exhibition" http://www.bonniemccaffery.

Thank you so much Wendy for sharing with us the threads you like to use and the sources of your inspiration. You are an inspiration to us all.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Judy Coates Perez

Judy and I meet several years ago when Judy moved to the Chicago land area. It has been fun getting to know such a talented quilter. Judy has a degree in graphic design and it shows in her work. Judy paints and uses inks in most of her quilts, so her take on using thread is a little different then most of us. I asked Judy if she would share with us her experience quilting on painted and inked fabrics.
Here are her responses to my questions.
Judy you have machine quilted all of your wonderful painted quilts. What threads have you used that you really like to work with?  And why.
For a lustrous sheen I really like Superior Rainbows.
For a bold quilting line I like Superior King Tut cotton.
For a little glitz I prefer Superior metallic thread, it's very strong.
For general fill quilting I use a lot of Madeira Polyneon, it's strong and comes in hundreds of colors.
When I want the thread to be least noticeable I like Superior MonoPoly. I like that it comes in clear for light colors and smoke for dark colors and is very strong.
Because I hate stopping to wind bobbins, I really like Superior Bottom Line, its a strong lightweight polyester thread that will go a lot further when quilting.
Illustrated Document No 1 by Judy Perez
What is your favorite type of needle to use with these threads and why?
I use Organ titanium needles for everything. They are strong and stay sharp longer. If the needle hits the throat plate when sewing, the needle will bend into a hook shape instead of snapping off and flying through the air. Evidently titanium also stays cooler creating less heat friction so it's easier on specialty threads. Superior now sells the same needles under their own brand name.
You create your own quilting designs where do you get your inspiration from? Can you tell us about that?
8 of Cups by Judy Perez
I am very drawn to medieval floral imagery and find that I can stitch leaf and flower inspired forms to fill all sorts of unusual shaped spaces. So that is my preferred "meandering" type fill for quilting in backgrounds.
What kind of problems have you encountered with machine quilting on your painted quilts?
Fauna by Judy Perez
Painted fabric is not very forgiving to quilting mistakes. Because the fabric has a surface of paint, the fibers are essentially glued together and can't move apart to allow the needle to slide between the woven threads, instead the needle literally punches a hole through the fabric that does not close up. With thread going over the surface of the quilt and through the holes it's not a problem, but if you stitch in the wrong area and remove the thread, there can be noticeable holes left in the quilt and there is really no way to fix that.
What else would you like to talk about related to thread?
I'm of a mind that often less is more. Like in cooking too much sauce can ruin an entrée, overwhelming and smothering the flavors of the main ingredient, but just the right amount compliments it and brings out the richness the dish.
Because the integration of thread is such an important aspect of the process, choosing the right threads for a project is so important. I'm not a big fan of what I see as the current trend of excessive quilting. At exhibition venues, I notice people are often impressed by how much thread has been used or how tiny the quilting motifs are on some work. I think the thread choice and the quilting lines should enhance the imagery on the quilt not obscure the fabric beneath, unless the work is really about "thread painting" where the thread becomes the medium for creating imagery. 
I spend a lot of time painting my fabric because I love painting and the way the painted surface looks. I can create visuals that would not be possible with fabric alone. I don't want to cover all the subtle textures and details of the painting with thread, but I want the quilting lines to add another element of visual imagery to the work, that relates to the style and theme of the piece. The quilting thread should look like an integrated part of the design not like a last step in the process added simply to hold all the fabric together.
Primordial Sea by Judy Perez
Thank you so much Judy. Your work is amazing and an inspiration to us all. I studied the quilting you did in this quilt and it led me to develop my own version, I call it Bark.
Jack in the Pulpits by Frieda Anderson

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

YLI thread

I contacted YLI thread company in Rock Hill NC to tell us about their thread. Jane Garrison returned my call and we had a long talk, here are a few of the top things she told me about YLI thread.
I would like to know when and how the company got started?
YLI was originally Yarn Loft International an importer of serger threads and started in the '70's. It was sold and moved to Provo, UT where the new owners added Silk Ribbons, threads, metallics and other products manufactured in Japan. In 1996 Jim Miller and Lanny Smith purchased the company and moved it to Rock Hill, SC. Jim had been involved with sewing threads and saw the trend toward quilting and so, they added the Hand Quilting, then Machine Quilting and other products that fit into the quilting line. In 2005 Lanny Smith retired, Jim became the sole proprietor and hired Jane Garrison as Director of Education.
Where is the thread is manufactured?
Our Products are primarily manufactured in the US, Japan, Egypt and Mexico
I am interested in the quality and where you get the raw goods from, for the readers to help educate them about thread.
The products that are manufactured in Japan come from the finest sources we can find and we are simply an importer of the product. We purchase those on large cones and wind to smaller cones in our manufacturing facility in Rock Hill, NC. The products include Silk #100, #50, #30 and 1000 Denier, Silk Ribbons, Fine Metallic, Woolly Nylon, Variations, Pearl Crown Rayon, Candlelight, Jeans Stitch, Silk Floss and Jeans Stitch.
All of our cottons are purchased from the Egyptian Government who owns all the spinning mills in Egypt and are 100% Extra Long Staple Cotton. They are then brought to the US where more than 90% are dyed, finished and wound in SC, GA and NC depending on the color and process.
Our Designer 7 is a polyester serger thread manufactured in Mexico.

We also are the US importer for a line of products (Iris Embroidery Thread) from Mexico and Tentakulum Painter's Threads (an extensive line of hand painted natural fibers) from Germany.

Our Hand Quilting and Select threads are sent, after dyeing, to a facility in MA where a starch Glaze is applied. Our wooden spools are manufactured from Ash in NJ.
What is extra long staple Egyptian cotton?
yli thread: YLI 100% Cotton Quilting Thread
Extra Long Staple Cotton by definition has fibers longer than 1 1/8" and though a small amount is grown in the US, Peru and India, we purchase our raw material from Egypt. Most cotton grown in the US is short staple cotton and does not make a quality sewing/quilting thread due the amount of lint (each end of each staple will create lint when it goes into and out of the fabric during the sewing process.) and the fact that the shorter the staple the more places there are where the thread is weaker. Longer staple fibers give a stronger finished product.

yli thread: YLI Mercerized Cotton Quilt Thread 3000yd
What does it mean glazed?
Most companies glaze with wax which means you should not put it in a sewing machine where we glaze with starch which adds the strength and wear resistance but will not harm a sewing machine.
There is a great brochure on the YLI site The Truth about Thread. I suggest you check it out, download it and print it for reference. There is also a chart with their thread on it and what needles to use with which thread.

What is Trilobal Polyester?
A tri-lobal Polyester literally has three lobes much like a three leaf clover. The lobes give the shine to the thread much like a rayon and so tri-lobal Polyesters are a good substitute for Rayon when one wants to be able to wash and bleach the finished product. Polyesters are also more resistant to light damage thus keep their color and shine longer than rayon's. Not every Polyester is a tri-lobal.
yli thread: YLI Variations 2 ply Poly Thread 1000yd
What is the main difference in using polyester over nylon?
yli thread: YLI Wonder Invisible Nylon Thread .0004 1500yd Clr
Can I assume you mean the differences in the Monofilament Poly vs Nylon? YLI has manufactured a high quality Nylon Monofilament for more than 25 years. When we first began using monofilaments for quilting some companies sold basically a thin nylon fishing line that had not been engineered for sewing purposes as ours has been.
Today when you compare the Sulky or Superior Polyester to the Wonder Nylon Monofilament there is very little difference other than cost. (I cannot speak to other brands of Nylon or Polyester since we have not tested them in the lab) They all melt at approximately the same heat setting on the iron and yes, you can get an iron hot enough to melt them all. We know that our product has not yellowed or gotten brittle from the experience we have had with many well known quilters who have used the Wonder from the beginning. We have gotten tired of arguing the point and now have a Polyester that matches the other brands in quality. In general, you will pay at least twice as much for the Polyesters as you will for our Nylon so choose the one you prefer based on your own criteria!

Any tips on using the Mylar and Metallic thread?
yli thread: YLI Fine Metallic 500 yards Gold # 2
The Mylar is flat while Metallic thread is round so the Metallic Needle was specifically designed with a rectangular eye to keep the mylar flat as it was sewn. This is the only time the Metallic Needle should be used unless no other choices are available. The best needle for the Metallic is an Embroidery Needle with an oval eye so that it will hold the thread in place and not allow it to move around from left to right and potentially cut the metal fiber that is wound in a spiral around the central filament. The biggest tip I can give for using Metallic or Mylar threads is to use a spun cotton or polyester in the bobbin. First the little texture on the spun fibers help hold the thread in place and second, if a filament polyester or Nylon is used in the bobbin it is often stronger than the core of the Metallic thread and will snap the core.
What is the difference in the weight sizes, what does the number indicate?
Most of the numbers on the spools are what someone at the company decided to name the thread with the exception of cottons.
Cottons are sold in a fixed length to weight measurement and so a 40 wt cotton has 40 hanks of cotton each 840 yds long to make a pound while a 60 wt cotton will have 60 hanks the same length. That is the first number you see on cotton. The second (ex 40/3ply or 60/2ply) is the number of those 40 or 60 wt cotton twisted together.
The higher the ply the stronger the thread and the more visually round it is. There are advantages to both 2 and 3 ply but all cottons are plied threads. Tex is another designation you will find today on many threads. It is a commercial length to weight measurement. One Tex= 1gram/1000meters and is rounded to the nearest 10 bracket thus you will find Tex 40, 50 etc. The actual size of the thread can vary greatly depending on how tightly it is twisted and what finishes are applied. Most of the domestic thread manufacturers put information on their websites regarding their threads and what needle sizes they recommend but the entire system is not standardized and very difficult to compare apples to apples.

What is your best seller?
yli thread: YLI Silk Thread #100 200M
Our Silk #100 and Machine Quilting Cottons are our best sellers. Unfortunately for us, many people using the Silk #100 are hand appliquers and are slow to use their threads!
That is not true, I use the #100 all the time to machine quilt with and I love it. It gives a fine and beautiful finish to the quilting.
I want to thank Jane for sharing so much information about YLI thread.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Inspired to Quilt

I've got some very exciting news! Coming up soon on March 7th-10th
there is going to be a very special online event that you are not going
to want to miss.

Willow Bend Creations Online Quilt Expos is hosting the
"Inspired To Quilt" Online Quilt Expo. This event will bring all of the
sights, sounds and excitement of a live quilt show right into your
home via your computer.

And guess what...? I'm going to be one of the featured presentations.
I've been nominated as the "Most Inspiring Quilt Instructor Of 2011".
It's quite an honor and I would really appreciate your support in
coming out and voting for me.

This is going to be a lot of fun and it's free for anyone to attend.

So be sure to register by clicking on the link below and tell all of your friends
so they don't miss out on the fun! You can watch me make one of my patterns - Star Lillies.
Here's that link: See you there,

Friday, February 17, 2012

My buddy my pal, Ann Fahl

I first met Ann Fahl years ago in a group I belong to here in the Midwest called PAQA. We have remained friends and colleagues over the years and share an interest in gardens, flowers and sons.

I asked Anne to share a few tips on the threads she uses and why. Anne has been doing thread painting for years now and has several great books out there to help all of us be better quilters.
Egyptian Garden by Ann Fahl

Ann you have machine quilted all of your wonderful quilts.
Hi Frieda, I have been exclusively machine quilting since 1988. Much of my work before that was done by hand!

What threads have you used that you really like to work with? And why. What is your favorite type of needle to use with these threads and why?
Wow, I just love thread. It makes more of a difference in the surface of your quilt than one would think. Once I discovered Sulky Rayon threads, I have been sold on using shiny decorative threads that are both Rayon or tri-lobal Polyester. Each stitch is beautifully highlighted by just a little shine on the surface of every stitch. Cotton doesn’t give this highlighting effect, it also is not as flexible as the synthetic decorative threads are. This makes for more clumsy turns and sharp curves, starts and stops. I want all my hard work to shine!

I use thread from the big 4 companies: Madeira, Superior Threads, Sulky, and YLI. When it comes to my most favorite variegated threads there are two: Superior Rainbow Thread and YLI Variations.

It’s important to use a fine thread in the bobbin. Either 60 wt. The Bottom Line or 50 wt. YLI Soft Touch. This way, your bobbin is full and will last much longer then when a 40 wt thread is used. These products will also leave less lint in the bobbin case.

You create your own quilting designs where do you get your inspiration from?download
Now most of the motifs I use just happen. This wouldn’t be the case for new machine quilters. So I recommend that all quilters keep a folder or notebook that include all the different quilting designs or motifs that they like. When you need an idea, the notebook will be a handy resource.

Long ago, I found that I didn’t like using just one motif for the quilting designs, over and over again. It looks too mechanical. I like a quilting style that appears to be organic and just grows out from the subject and eventually fills the background. Essentially, I mix up all the motifs that I can easily stitch.

Can you tell us about that?
Coneflower Fiesta close-up by Ann Fahl

The more motifs that you have thoroughly practiced, and you can do in your sleep, the better you will become at free-motion quilting. An area that is a certain shape will suggest that you do one thing, and when you continue quilting you’ll find yourself in a situation that calls for a different pattern. Practice is the key. Hours, days and years of practice.
You are so right with that Ann!!

What kind of problems have you encountered with machine quilting on your quilts?
Most of the frustrations I’ve dealt with have to do with thread issues. When you can’t figure out what is wrong you want to sit down and cry or toss the machine out the window. Working alone in my studio in the 1990’s until about 2004 I’ve spent an enormous time solving my thread issues. This is why I first wrote Coloring with Thread about embroidery, Dancing with Thread about machine quilting, and now; a booklet Mastering Metallics about sewing with metallic thread. These books should make sewing with the beautiful decorative threads much smoother and more problem free! And thank you for that!

Explain please.
Every now and then, I run into a problem, that I just can’t figure out. I’ll spend days trying to solve the issue. I was getting little thread nests on the top of my quilt. Since I’ve written so much on thread, I figured I could work it out. Eventually, I took my machine in for repair. And guess what? There was a bur in the hook race. No more birds nests for me!

What else would you like to talk about related to thread?
I could talk about thread forever. It makes my embroidery and quilting look so beautiful. How could something as little as a spool of thread make such a difference in a quilt’s surface? But it does. For all of your readers - practice - make placemats or something. Go to your machine shop that carries lots of thread types. Purchase threads of different brands and styles. Experiment with each one, take notes, you’ll be surprised at what you discover. This will make big improvements in your work over time. Be a kid, have fun, and play with your thread. Collect it, store it in a drawer, out of strong light and in a relatively dust free area and it will last a long time.

You can visit Anne at her website http://www.annfahl.com

or I encourage you to follow her on her blog at http://annfahl.blogspot.com

Thank you Ann for your generosity in sharing with us your experience with thread. I know I do many of the things that Ann does and the one thing that makes all the difference in your machine quilting or thread painting is to practice and take the time to experiment.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Shiny and pretty

I like shiny and pretty.
I guess I am a bit of a magpie when it comes to thread.
I started using Madeira rayon threads just about the time I started machine quilting.
I like the 30 wt thread because it is heavier and shows up more than the 40 wt threads on whatever I am quilting, it is also soft and handles easily in my machine.

I LOVE color, have I said that before and I love the gorgeous colors that Madeira makes.
These are the threads that the clothing industry uses to embroider those fun appliques on our clothing.

Shaping Nearly 100 Years of Fashion...
Founded in Freiburg, Germany, in 1919, Madeira has always been committed to the production of high quality embroidery threads.
In 1975, the company began to shift its concentration from the domestic German market to the global marketplace. Then in 1987, subsidiaries were set up worldwide to streamline the distribution process. Today, Madeira maintains a presence throughout the USA, Europe, Japan and key Asian markets.

All the Madeira embroidery threads are Oeko-Tex certified. Oeko-Tex is an international testing and certification system for textiles, limiting the use of certain chemicals. Our embroidery threads have been certified to meet the human-ecological requirement standard presently established for baby articles. Our embroidery threads fall within Class I and II of the Oeko-Tex classification system, and meet the new U.S. CPSIA law requirements.

When I first started buying the smaller spools of rayon thread from Madeira they did not have end-caps on the spools and were harder to use. It is one of the reasons I put them in a cup behind my machine. They have since changed the spools so that they look like any other threads that we buy and it has made them easier to use in our home sewing machines.

I contacted Madeira Manufactures and asked them a few questions about their thread. These are the questions and answers I got back.

I am interested in where you  the raw goods come from.
Madeira is a German Based Company, the raw goods for the Rayon thread are tree pulp, but I am not sure where the trees are harvested from.
Where it is manufactured?

The thread is Manufactured in Germany.
What is the main difference in using polyester over rayon?

The Polyester is made from man made materials, it is petroleum based. The Rayon is made from tree pulp; it is a natural fiber and is a little more sensitive than the poly because of that. The Poly is a little more abrasive on the machines because they need to be run with a higher speed and tension than the rayon, which is why it is more abrasive. The rayon has a deeper/richer color than the Poly.

Are all the colors, colorfast?
The Polyneon is color fast. The Rayon, because of the dye process and the material it is made of, cannot withstand the bleaching process. The Rayon will hold it's color when washed in warmer water, but if there is chemicals in the wash it will dissipate the color.

What is the life expectance of the threads?
Our thread can "live" for about 7-10 years if stored properly. It needs to be stored in a cool dry location away from any direct light.

What is the difference in the weight sizes, what does the number indicate?
The weight of thread designates the thickness of the thread. The 40 weight is the standard. All Embroidery digitizing is done in the 40 weight thread, unless other wise designated by the digitizer. The 60 weight is a thinner thread, typically used for fine lettering and details; if you were to use a 40 weight where a 60 weight is needed the embroidery will look fuzzy and blocky. The 60 weight will give it a crispness. The 30 weight is thicker than the 40, this is used where there is a lot of fill to try and make the embroidery less bulky so it will not buckle under the weight of the design. The 12 weight thread is the thickest thread and it typically used in Chenille and Marrowing machines.

What is your best seller? 
Our Best selling threads are our Poly and the Rayon thread.

I have been very happy over the years using the Madeira 30weight thread to machine quilt my designs and will continue to use it because it is a natural fiber, flexible and comes in beautiful colors.  I don’t ever intend to bleach any of my quilts, nor do I intend to wash them with harsh chemicals.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love and Kisses

Every year I make home made Valentine Cards for all the woman in my family. I guess this started way back when my kids were in nursery school and the kids and I made Valentine Cards to give to their friends. I made ones to give to my sister and mom.

Each year I come up with a new design and the process of finding designs is always on going. When ever I see a design that I like, I copy it and put it in a file on my computer. I wish I had thought of the idea of Pinerest, I have been doing that idea for years, only on my computer.

Anyway, here is this years Valentine along with a little tutorial. Happy Valentine’s to YOU, dear reader. Love and Kisses from me.

The years card is a take on “paper cut” designs. I found a design that I thought was fun, I had to alter it a bit as each of the centers of these cards is only 3.5” x 3.5”. I used all my gorgeous hand dyed fused fabric scraps to create 12 cards this year for the woman in my family. I have a special on the website with four of my favorite red fabrics. I hope you check it out.
Fused fabric “Paper Cut” Valentine Card

1. Fuse fabric scraps using WonderUnder #805.

2. Peel off the release paper from the fused fabric. Use the release paper and an extra fine sharpie marker
to trace a pattern to cut.

3. Place the marker side of the tracing on the fused side of the fabric and press with a hot dry iron.

4. Fold the fabric in half at fold mark and cut out a rough heart shape slightly larger than the design.

5. Place a rolled up piece of scotch tape between the two sides of the heart to hold them together while you cut out the design.

6. Using VERY sharp SMALL embroidery scissors cut around the design on the release paper. (Usually I take the paper off before cutting, the marker will transfer to the back of the fused fabric, but because the design is so intricate it is easier to cut with the paper on.)

7. Peel the paper off of the cut heart shape and open it up. Place the cut heart shape on top of another piece of fused fabric that is a different color.

8. Fuse the cut out heart shape to the second fabric.

9. Fold the second fabric in half and cut it out in a heart shape about 1/2 inch bigger than the cut design.

10. Open up the second heart shape and place on the backside of a rotary mat, using a decorative blade in your rotary cutter cut around the heart shape to give it a decorative edge.

11. Place the two fused together heart shapes on a preprinted card and press with a hot dry iron. (My cards are 4" x 6” the same size as the slot in my printer for photo paper. I used word to create word art that I printed onto the cards before I fused the hearts to them.)

12. Cut around the outside edge of the card stock with a decorative blade in your rotary cutter.

13. Sign the card and place in an envelope and mail to your special Valentine.

Don't forget to become a blog follower. Just click on the link at the top right to follow this blog and get a free pattern this month.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Madeira Rayon thread

CLASSIC RAYON NO. 30, available in 714 yard spools and 3,300 yard cones A thicker viscose rayon which fills in quickly and reduces the stitch count and production time in large designs.
Advantages Of Madeira Classic Rayon Include:
  • Brilliant color with a silky luster
  • Smooth running and knot free
  • Available in 12, 30, 40 and 60 weights
  • Available in solid, shaded and multi-colors
  • Colorfast with high tensile strength
  • Maintains its soft "hand" even when the stitch count is high
  • Excellent washing and dry cleaning properties
This is the thread I like to use the most in my quilting. I came from a background of garment making and when you added top thread to a garment you wanted it to stand out. I have always felt that if I put that much time and effort into my quilting I want people to be able to see it, so I use a 30wt rayon.

It also comes in such yummy colors.
Notice that I use scotch tape to keep my thread from spooling out all over the place. I have tried all kinds of things to keep it from unraveling and this works well for me. I do use my threads all the time so the tape doesn’t get gummy and each time I put it back I use a new piece of tape. Scotch tape is pretty inexpensive to have and use.

When I quilt with this thread I use a size 90 embroidery needle.
I also don’t have this thread standing or laying down on or in my machine. I put it in a cup that sits behind my machine and then feed it up through the thread guide. Why you may ask do I do this? I started doing this a long time ago before my machine had a thread feeder and have gotten in the habit of doing this, I fine it lets the thread feed naturally and never puddles or tangles when I am quilting.

I used the 30 weight thread to outline all the design elements in this quilt. I used the 30# to do the feathers and the detail on the Jack in the Pulpit.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Thread Painting with Terry White

Terry and I have an interesting history.

We ran into each other about five years ago at a small quilt show in Indiana. We were introduced and it turns out we attended the same high school. I was a few years OLDER and Wiser than Terry. Her brother was in my class, I really didn’t remember Terry, but she insisted she remembered me.

But what I find most interesting is that we both are working with fabric. Was it in the water where we grew up or what?

Terry you have developed a unique style in quilting. You make such beautiful thread painted images.
Thank you, Frieda. I do agree that you are much older than me…..okay, and much, much, much wiser!

How and why did you get so involved in drawing with thread?
Hand embroidery had been a part of my life since I was a child. I also would draw all my designs for embroidery, whether it was crewel, needlepoint, ribbon work, quilting or mixed thread techniques.
About twenty years ago, I developed “carpal tunnel syndrome”. It was pretty devastating. I couldn’t do hand needlework anymore. I couldn’t do too much drawing, either.
I was online and saw Ellen Anne Eddy’s work.

Yes Ellen is an inspiration to us all. I have an interview with her later in the month.
Then, I remembered that I had taken a class many years earlier from Lois Smith and I was pretty good at free motion work. So, I bought a sewing machine from a friend, Nancy Martin, and she showed me how to set up for thread painting. I went to using a straight stitch after she showed me a zig zag stitching technique. I like the straight stitch because then I could make the lines any way I wanted to. I found that hooping the work made it very easy on my hands so I could do intensive and intricate embroidery without hurting my hands. I can draw in short spurts without too much hand fatigue, so most of my drawing is for my machine needlework.

1detail rabbit run

Detail of Run Rabbit Run, by Terry White

It took me about a year after doing a lot of experimenting before I did anything “Good”. I had a lot to learn about threads, stabilizers and fabrics and how they worked together. After a couple more years of experimenting and winning an award with my work, I was ready to teach. However, I still had a lot to learn.

You create your own designs where do you get your inspiration from?
Mostly nature. The wonderful lines, forms and colors found in my backyard teach me design. I also discover wonderful wrapping and other techniques by looking at the way things grow. I also am inspired by poetry, words and thoughts and funny things that happen with my family. Some of my works are visual jokes for my family and friends.
February Sun of the Month by Terry White

This is a great design, I wish I had made something like it. I love the weepy hearts.

You have been active in designing a new thread line with Coats and Clark, can you tell us about that?
My Stars thread line by Terry White

This is one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. I designed 24 multicolored Star Cotton threads for Coats & Clark! Wow, I have used Coats & Clark yarns and threads since I was a child, so this was a huge thrill for me. C&C also commissioned seven thread painted quilts which they have been using in their print advertising for the past couple of years. I also designed seven free projects for their website. star.com

What is your favorite type of needle to use with this thread?
I like to use a 90/14 machine embroidery needle. Whether I’m thread painting or using programmed decorative stitches, this needle lasts a long time and pierces the fabric in the right place for a neat, clean embroidery stitch.

Do you use stabilizer when you are thread painting? What kind do you like and why?

I use different stabilizers for different projects. For example; if the fabric is lightweight and the design is open, then a lightweight stabilizer is needed. For most of my dense work, I use three layers of lightweight interfacing and the interfacing is left in the work. It becomes part of the stitch structure and needs to stay to keep the stitches from distorting.

I know you have a book out with AQS, do you have any other products? Explain.
My first book with AQS is “Thread Painting Made Easy”. It is the culmination of my experiments and 10 years of teaching and learning. I wrote everything I know about thread painting in this book.

My second book with AQS is called, “All Beaded Up by Machine”. Hand beading was always a feature of my hand quilting and hand embroidery. I was determined to find a simple method for beading with the sewing machine that did not entail putting the needle through the bead. I did it! I developed seven different techniques for this process and wrote the book.

I had to invent a little notion called, “The Beadle” which helps to hold the beads in place as I couch over the bead string.

My third book with AQS is called,” Enhance Your Quilts-Embellish!”

Embellishment was always a feature of my hand embroidered and quilted projects. When I bought my first really good sewing machine, I began to explore all the possibilities of the decorative stitches and feet. Along with the explosion of cool novelty threads, yarns, beads, buttons, charms, fabrics, dyes and trims, there isn’t even enough time in this world to put together fantastic mixes to create embellished quilts. So, I tried to do some; based on classes and projects I’ve done in the past 10 years.

My silk ribbon would look great in your projects, I will have to send you some.
Scot (my husband) and I also produce teaching videos based on my work and classes. Some of the videos are companions to my books.

What else would you like to talk about?
I am a Bernina Artisan and I work with Havel’s Scissors. Yes, I like these too.
These are two companies providing beautiful products and also teaching the quilt world. Their websites have lots of free information and free projects.

Currently, I’m learning a lot about my Electric Quilt Program. I have patterns for sale on my website, but I’m focusing more on my design work to create a world of patterns for appliqué quilts. I’m also working with Seminole Patchwork patterns.
5detail bird walk
detail Bird Walk by Terry White

I’ll be teaching this year in Lancaster Pennsylvania at the AQS show. Oh too bad, I won’t be there but I will be at the AQS show in Paducah and Grand Rapids where I’ll have a booth and teach a class.

I’ll be at Quilt Market and Festival in Houston. I’ll be in Houston too, so I’ll see you there.
I’ll be at some other places teaching, too.

I have a couple of blogs, one on my flea market finds and the other on stitching projects.

So, I’m looking forward to the future and what I can contribute to the stitching world.

I’m thinking of my next book, I’m thinking of calling it, “Thread Painting Made Difficult”. What do you think of that, Frieda?

It sounds great Terry I can’t wait to see it and try out the techniques. Thanks so much for sharing your talent with all of us. You know I love you.

Terry’s designs are so whimsical and fun, a real feast for the eyes. I hope you will visit her website and become a follower of her blog.

Next week I’ll be talking about YLI thread and have an interview with my buddy Anne Fahl, so be sure to check back and send your friends over to take a look.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Whispering in your ear

I have been talking about threads so far this month and will continue to share thread ideas and information with you all month. I just want you to understand that the opinions stated in this blog are my own, and – I approve this ad.

In other words I am sharing with you what I LIKE and use. You really have to try these products out and see if you like them too. There are lots of other products out on the market that are great.

I just don’t use them.

I wanted to share with you some of the places that I use the different threads I have talked about and will be talking about.

I have used a variegated Aurifil thread on the inside of the Pine boughs of Whispering Pines.

I used my favorite 30wt rayon on the silk in the background behind the Pines and then I again used the solid color 50wt Aurifil cotton in the border areas of the stripy units of this quilt.

Three different threads for three different results.
This quilt won Judge’s choice at IQA in Houston 2007. It is made with my varigated  hand dyed cotton and silk charmeuse fabrics. As you can imagine, I was so happy.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Woven Heart Basket


Woven Heart Basket
I first made these twelve years ago.

I got the idea from the paper heart baskets that the Scandinavian's put on their Christmas trees. I thought why can't I fuse the fabric and make these out of fabric. So I did.

This is a fun, easy project for you to make. You can down load the pattern here. if you sign up to follow my blog. Just click the link at the top of the page on the left side. Thanks

Make this for your special Valentine. You still have time.

Monday, February 6, 2012


Here is my internet interview with Alex Veronelli, the USA representative of this fabulous thread. I first discovered Aurifil at the Chicago IQA show many moons ago, it may have even been in the year 2000. I have been using it ever since. It comes in rich yummy colors that I just can’t resist. Have I said before I LOVE color.

I AM a little bias, sorry. I think it is the way that it is displayed on the racks at the shows that just grabs me.
When and where was the company started? and by who?

Aurifil was founded in Milano by my Father and Mr Gregotti in 1983 on the idea to produce high quality threads and accessories for Italian Fashion Clothing and the High quality Bed Linen industry mainly. In 2000 my vision to open to new markets drove Aurifil into the Quilt & Patchwork World

Where does the cotton and wool come from?

The raw cotton is from Egypt where the weather conditions and the rich soil enabled the production of a better cotton. The term “Egyptian cotton Mako’” is usually applied to the extra long staple cotton produced in Egypt and favored for the luxury and upmarket brands worldwide.  The limited production of extra long staple cotton, particularly the one suitable for cotton Mako, increases its exclusivity. The annual production of cotton is of 100 million bales. The long staple cotton produced each year makes 3 million bales, of which only 1 million and 200 thousands are exported!

Our Wool comes from Australia from the quality called Merino. Australian Merino is regarded by many as the finest and softest wool produced anywhere. It is a unique fiber, loved by fashion and apparel designers for its quality and versatility. Nothing else feels like it, looks like it, or wears like it.
I have been to Australia and the sheep look just like this. I think I probably saw this exact pair. Oh wait that might have been in New Zealand where the sheep outnumber the people!
Where is your thread manufactured?

I am proud to say 100 % made in Italy, after the raw material is imported : spinning , twisting , dyeing and rewind processes are made by a network of 4 small companies owned now by a 3rd generation of specialists  and located all within 15 miles, each one spearhead in one of the steps, this is the base of Italian quality in textile.

What are your best sellers and why?

The 50wt cotton, thinnest of my threads (and my favorite!FA). Thinner thread means flatter seams and less bulk when multiple seams come together. It’s strong and doesn’t give off as much lint as others,  Fine thread will emphasize your fabric choices and quilt designs. Quilters love it also in the bobbin. (YES this is where I use it all the time FA.)

What trends do you see happening in sewing today and for the future?

Even if I just decanted the deeds of the thinnest weight, I must admit I am taking consciousness that Crafters want to show more of their stitches nowadays : “ let your stitches be leading actors “ . For this reason I based all my 2012 Designers of the Month program http://auribuzz.wordpress.com/category/designers-of-the-month/ on my 12wt cotton that is the thickest of my threads . 
Any new products on the horizon?

For the most no, I decided to focus the investments in research & marketing on the products already available on the market with the target to improve them even more, of course I am going to enlarge the actual range of 252 colors  with new shades,  keeping the card updated with the new trends of fabrics.

But I wish to uncover that a start of studying in order to develop a polyester thread is already on my timeline.
That was so informative and great of Alex to share with us his knowledge and information about one of my favorite thread companies.

I would be so happy if I had this case of thread in my studio!!
valigia open

I am now carrying Aurifil 50wt cotton thread to match the colors of the ten rayon threads I sell on my website. I hope you will go check it out.

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