Posts Tagged ‘thread’

Couching: Adding Wonderful Yarns to Your Work

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

 

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We all live and die for thread. But sometimes thread simply isn’t enough! Thicker yarns and cords are the natural extension for a more dramatic line in quilting and surface design. We can use them in a number of ways to accent and accentuate our work.

 

 

1Perhaps you’d like to decorate or cover a seam. These yarns are perfect for that.

 

Light Japanese Lunch

Light Japanese Lunch

Or you might want to create a line that helps complete a visual path through your piece. The small bit of yarn carries your eye right across the surface.

 

 

3Or it can function as an element within your design. Here I’m using two thick twisted yarns as branches hanging down from a tree off the edge of the quilt.

 

Thick threads and yarns are easy to include in your designs! But it isn’t as simple as simply sewing them through the machine. They’re too thick or uneven to put through either the top or bottom of your sewing machine. But they can be couched. The options and possibilities are too wide for simply one foot to handle all of them, but there are all kinds of feet that accommodate different yarns, ribbons and threads so you can use them all.

 

4All yarns can be couched by hand. But some of us don’t hand sew well. These are methods I find work well with machine couching. In general, couching is usually done with feed dogs up. You can use either a zigzag stitch,a broken zigzag stitch, a straight stitch if it’s aimed carefully, or a joining stitch that catches the middle and both sides. Monofilament nylon will make the stitching invisible. But you can always use a bright colored polyester to add an extra color and texture.

 

 

Your Regular Pressure Foot

 

 

 

 

Thin and bumpy threads: Many thick and thin threads can be couched on with your regular pressure foot
Your regular pressure foot for most sewing has a groove down the center that you can run light yarns through.

 

 

 

 

 

Couching Feet
Much thicker yarns take a thread escape.

 

A foot with a large channel underneath lets the yarn pass through. Again any zigzag or joining stitch can be used to attach it.
 This couching foot with a wide thread escape that let’s you couch on all kinds of thicker threads.This foot also has a small hole through the top to guide medium yarns. Medium yarns pass through both holes easily for excellent control.For much thicker yarns, you can just run them through the bottom of the foot. 

 

All these yarns run easily through your machine because of the large thread escape in the foot. They were stitched with a joining stitch.

 

The Braiding Foot

 

This braiding foot arranges 3 smaller cords or threads into a braid. The yummy pearl cottons I showed you last week are perfect for this. There’s another foot set to braid 5. The Braiding foot with 3 thread channels loads from the top and has a bar that closes to hold the threads in place. You can use either a zigzag or broken zigzag to stitch down the cords. The effect is a flat braid made of your threads.

Sashay yarn

19©2012 Bubbly, Ellen Anne Eddy, 18” x8”>>

 

Sashay yarn is a new fiber we’re seeing in the yarn shops. Its loose open weave can be stretched and shaped in all kinds of ways. Because it catches on the foot, it helps to have a cut away foot that clears the yarn as we sew it. This foot originally set up for cutaway applique with its single toe makes it easier to stitch down.

 

 

 

 

It can be sewed straight or in waves, down either one side for a more textural effect or on both sides for a more controlled look.
Couching is a way to put extra fiber in your fiber!  And its sew much fun!

One of the  new Quilting Arts tutorials has a couching video on it. Check it out for more information.

dyed threadsYou’ll find all kinds of cool yarns every where that can be couched. You’ll also find dyed pearl cottons on Raid My Fabric Stash, my new Etsy Shop.

 

 

Thread Magic Summer School: Pop Quiz and Contest

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

 

Me and my altar ego

I had a fabulous teacher in high School English named Ms. Driscoll. She was odd, brilliant and the perhaps the best teacher I ever had. She terrorized generations of students into good grammar, excellent literary criticism and strong writing. I owe her a great deal. When she gave a test, we would ask her if it was hard. She always said,” Do you know the answers? It’s not at all hard if you know the answers.” So today, when I put up this test, if you’ve been reading this blog, you already know the answers. But that’s what a good test does. It doesn’t judge you or place you. It tells you what you know. That’s always useful.

The Quiz is on Goodreads on my author page. Why bother with the quiz? It helps you refine your own knowlege.


And I’m giving away free books.

  • Take your quiz. Post your results on facebook on the Thread Magic Studio Page  Tomorrow I’ll pick three names out of the hat for your choice of these books. Choose between

Dragonfly Sky ISBN978-0-9822901-2-5 Dragonfly Sky This delightful dragonfly project  focuses on bobbin work with thick and thin threads, angelina fiber, on soft edge appliqué. It has an inspirational gallery section, a full set of instructions, patterns, sources and  tips.

 

 

Lady Bug’s Garden ISBN 97809822901-3-2Ladybug’s Garden A step by step project book that covers free motion zigzag appliqué, soft edge, hard edge, and  cut away appliqué. Pattern, tips and sources included.

 

 

Dye Day WorkbooISB97809822901-8-7  Ellen Anne Eddy’s Dye Day Workbook: A whirlwind class in color theory, has color charts throughout for both Dharma and Pro Chem, gives Ellen’s particular recipes for her famous light source fabric and step by step instruction for both dyeing fabric and hand-dyed threads.]

 

 

Easy Machine Binding Techniques

ISBN 97809822901-1-8 Ellen Anne Eddy’s Quick and Easy Machine Binding Techniques Easy and fun binding techniques without a hand stitch in them. Cut continuous bias with a rotary cutter. Use the quick Flip and Fold bias method to whiz through applying bias. Make beautiful corded edges instantly without stitching by hand. Ellen Anne Eddy, Author of Thread Magic, offers you a collection of simple speedy skills for finishing your masterpieces.

 

Originally I said we would pick the first three people who posted their correct quiz. But that’s not fair to those of us who aren’t fast. I’ll take all the correct answers and pick three names out of the hat for the book of their choice.

While you’re at Goodreads you can

How fun is that?
We’ll pick winners tomorrow
Check out my list of art source books

Thread Magic Summer School, Quiz and Contest.

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012


Summer school is a great time to stretch what we know and to add a bit to it. So I’m going to offer you some summer school fun. We’re going to take a couple weeks and review threads. Thick, thin, composition, usage, everything.                                                                                  

I’ll repost some information that has been off the web and write some new. And as always, you need to pay attention. There will be a pop quiz. I’ll post a quiz on the Goodreads Site. The first 3 people who post  the correct answers on my facebook page(you can do this on the quiz site) on July 20th get a signed copy of either choice of Dragonfly Sky, Ladybug’s Garden, Quick and Easy Machine Binding techniques.

Thread Magic Garden

I’ll put up the quiz on Goodreads on July 20th. Be ready. Read up.  Or you can review your copy of Thread Magic and Thread Magic Garden. 

 So Start Reading Up:

Lesson 1: Basic Thread Types 

Thread information is one of the deep dark mysteries of the quilt world. It’s so common we think we should know. Like most things, thread information is more complicated than it looks. And like most things we should know, it’s really unhelpful to should on ourselves.

There are many brands and I have my favorites. I’ll talk about that another time.There are also whole lines of thicker threads, I’ll cover later. But I’d really like to lay the basis of info you need to have about basic thread for machine and free motion embroidery.

Sewing and Embroidery Threads

Sewing threads are three ply threads made for holding pieces of fabric together. They are almost always an unacceptable embroidery thread because they are not made to lie on top of each other.If you sew over them consistently, you can make a surface similar to chain mail. 

Embroidery threads are  usually a two ply thread. They’re finer and they are made to overlap and blend into each other.

Thread Sizes

Threads usually have two numbers on them. One will be a color number. The better quality threads are consistent color-wise and don’t have dye lot issues.So you can buy the same color over and over with confidence.

But the other number is the mystery. We hear about 40 weight thread. What is that?

 Thread sizes are an old measure system. It’s really the thread count per inch. If you laid your threads side by side, how many threads would make an inch?

So a 40 weight thread would be forty threads, side by side. A thirty weight 30 threads. 200 count percale is two hundred threads to the inch.( The same system applies to linens as well). For embroidery purposes, any thread between 12-40 weight can usually work through a top stitching 90 needle( see my early blog on Needle Knows).

These threads can be used either in the bobbin or the needle, zigzag or straight stitch, computerized or free motion. They are the backbone of embroidery.

What’s My Thread Made Of

Threads are made of a number of different fibers.Some are more successful than others. It’s worth knowing how these fibers react when you choose your threads.
Cotton is probably the most basic embroidery thread. It’s strong, comes in many colors and is versatile. It has one flaw that to my mind is unforgivable. It’s not shiny. Magpie that I am, I will confess, I never use it.

Rayon is the most common embroidery thread. It has a lovely sheen and a fine color range. But it’s never strong. Some brands are better than others. I use rayon that’s in my sewing box. But I’ve stopped buying it for myself or for students, unless I simply can’t get the color any other way. It’s never as strong as polyester. In fairness, I do think it blends better than polyester. But the breakage is an annoyance I’m unwilling to offer to students or put up with myself.

Polyester threads are the gold standard of the 40 weight crowd. They’re strong, and the color range is astonishing. They are my go-to, war horse 40 weight thread.

Acrylic threads truly lead me to ask the question, “Why?” These threads are so unstable I don’t even want to see them in someone’s stash. My personal experience with them has been too unpleasant for words. I can’t recommend them. They seem to be set up for computerized embroidery, and perhaps they work better for that.

Garbage in, Garbage out

There are threads I consider a bargain. But when someone tells me about this wonderful thread they found that’s so cheap, I do need to restrain my eye roll.Usually cheap thread is just that. It’s not merely inexpensive. It’s cheap. Save money on something else. You’re time is valuable, and cheap thread usually wastes mountains of time in breakage and bad behavior. Old thread is also a case in point. It will get too old to use, and at that point is no bargain.

Wrapping it up

All that said, the real test of any thread is how it works in your machine. Keep track. You may find that your machine has very different opinions, and in the end, those are the only ones that count for you.

You’ll find my my Goodreads Site here. It has a page of my books and a whole listing of books I’ve either loved reading or shared with people as great source material.

Look for more Thread Magic Summer School coming soon!

Iridescent who?

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

I don’t do white sales.  I don’t do white.  I bring in white fabric, but I promptly dye it. Usually in as bright a pallet as I can. Things don’t stay white around me very long. Even with large bottles of Clorox in the laundry room.

But  I do do moonlight. So many of my quilts are set at night. No. I’m not a vampire.The garlic, thank you, is always my friend. But I do take St. John’s Wort, and I should not be out in bright sunshine. 

So when I might want white I reach for the things that are iridescent. 

What make fabric and thread iridescent? It’s not exactly hide of the nagua, but it really is a relative to Naugahyde.It’ s a fiber called Lurex. Wikepedia defines Lurex as “the registered brand name for a type of yarn with a metallic appearance. The yarn is made from synthetic film, onto which a metallic aluminiumsilver, or gold layer has been vaporised. “Lurex” may also refer to cloth created with the yarn.”

It first showed up in the early seventies as a kind of slicker fabric. Now it’s in all kinds of threads and fibers, perfect for fiber art.

Where can you find it? All over my quilts! I love it.

Iridescent threads:

There are all kinds of lurex threads from many different companies, in many different thicknesses.

Madeira puts out several lines of iridescent threads under their #30 weight Supertwist Line. These are Astros. They have a base color mixed with rainbow blue, yellow, pink and green underneath.

 

These are a Supertwist Opalescent.They have a less obvious but still 

brilliant softer Lurex shine.

 

 

YLI does a # 8 weight metallic thread called Candelight that is a neon bulb on a quilt.

 

 

 

Razzle Dazzle, by Superior is another #8 weight metallic in a whole different line of iridescent colors. They’ve done some magnificent flecked shades.

Sulky Sliver is still the most shiny thread ever. It’s a simple Lurex flat strand.

 

 

 

Angelia and Crystalina Fibers are clouds of Lurex that you can fuse into a sheer surface.

 

 

 

And Smooch Paints are a pigment you spray on.

 

Can you use iridescent in your quilt? It washes, in case you were worrying, but it does tend to be a bit scratchy. My work is made to warm people from the wall rather than in their laps, so I never worry. And I couldn’t be without it.

You’ll find Angelina and Smooch Paints at Embellishment Village.

You’ll find Supertwist at Madiera USA.

You’ll find Candelight at YLI.

You’ll find Sliver at Sulky

You’ll find Razzle Dazzle at Superior Threads.

And you’ll find glowing lovely iridescent light all over your work when you use any of these.

 

 

New Article in Quilt Magazine

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

 

I have an interview on thread in the new April/ May Quilt Magazine! Cynthia Van Hazinga interviewed me for a great article called the Art of Thread in the new issue. She also interviewed Linda Mathews and Susan Brisco. Talk about three very different approaches and three very different kinds of work.  It’s amazing and wonderful to see how endless the possibilities are!

 

 

 

 

 

 

My part starts on page 65 if your looking!

Thanks Cynthia for doing such a good article! It was fun.

You’ll find Quilt Magazine at http://www.quiltmag.com/or on newstands everywhere.

Linda Mathews web page is at http://www.linda-matthews.com/

Susan Brisco is at http://www.susanbriscoe.co.uk/

Check it out! And try a really different thread today!

 

 

New Reviews

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

Thread Magic Garden is getting some neat new reviews!

People are starting to talk about Thread Magic Garden. Here’s what they’ve had to say.

 

 

 

Ann Fahl, Author of Coloring With Thread Says “Whether you are interested in thread work or not, this book is a visual delight. C & T ‘s book designer did a great job of including large detail shots through the book. It makes me drool!”  Check out the rest of her review at her blog at annfahl.blogspot.com

 

 

Tina Rathbone at Artelicious  said”Just when I thought I could take a break from holidays I’ve found a new cause for celebration: C&T Publishing has just published a brand-new book by Ellen Anne Eddy: Thread Magic Garden. She’s got some really kind things to say about the book and you’ll find them on her blog.

Both Tina and Ann have known me for a long time. I love both of their work and  they’ve always been supportive of mine. I don’t think they’d say anything they didn’t feel.  But when your friends tell you they like your book, it’s hard to sort out how much of that is kindness and how much of that is real.

But I don’t know Maggie Szafranski at all. Her review is at Maggiemayquilts.blogspot.com.    She said “The best thing is that she breaks down how to create different kinds of flowers, and shows not only the finished product, but also what it would look like before you add the stitching.”

This is the lovely zinnia she did working from the book! Isn’t it great?

Thanks Ann, Tina and Maggie! I’m so glad you liked the book.

So what’s your Thread Magic Garden look like? With all this snow coming in, it’s great to have a garden in the studio

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