Saturday, May 4, 2013

Thread Painting and Sketching Supplies

First, let's get the business of thread-painting out of the way.  I can tell you what I use, but I heartily encourage suggestions.

I like thin thread.  My favorite is Aurifil 50 weight.  I like it because it's thin, strong, and comes in any color I can dream.  My only problem with it is that it is in short supply in my small town and I have to acquire it at quilt shows or drive an hour or so to obtain it.  And I have done that drive.  More than once...  but I digress. And I do use other manufacturers and weights if I like the colors.   I like the thin thread because it's forgiving.  If I scribble-sew all over, mistakes aren't obvious.  With a thicker thread, it would be.  But thick thread has its place.  I like to cover things with thread because I think it gives an organic look.  My favorite subjects have hair or feathers.  But thick thread is really great for trees.  And for less organic things.

With my thin thread, I use small needles.  I like 75/11 or 80/12 sizes.  I usually use Schmetz jeans/denim or Microtex.  The shop where I purchased my machine suggested a new brand, Inspira.  I have been using their denim and Microtex and sometimes their titanium-coated needles and they seem to work pretty well- they're cheaper too.  I change my needles a lot.  When they make that popping noise, it's time for a change.  Sometimes I will notice nests or loops on the back -- time for a new or different needle.  I don't change my machine tension a lot after I make my sample.  Just the needle.  When using thicker thread, a larger needle is in order -- without a lot of blather about technical stuff, I suggest 90/14 Topstitch needles.

As for fabric, I use anything I can lay my hands on.  My favorite stuff to use is hand-dyed cotton, but I'm not proud.  I'll use anything that suits the project.

Which brings me to stabilizers.  I have been using Decor-Bond for a while now -- it's fairly lightweight and doesn't feel too crinkly inside of a quilted project.  A friend (thanks, Robbie) recommended Sulky Totally Stable recently, so I'm going to be experimenting with that this month.  I have a project that I abandoned because I didn't use any stabilizer before I started covering it with thread.  I'm going to see if I can reclaim it with stabilizer.

And don't forget feet:  I use my freemotion foot with the feed dogs down.  Sometimes I forget and leave them up -- I usually don't notice until I remove the piece.  So I'm not sure it's all that important.

Next: thread-sketching and the value of making samples


Beth said...

So far so good!!!! Isn't that the pits on thread.... never the color you need nearby (stash or store) and you have to either order or DRIVE!!!

Lynne said...

Ooo, what a helpful post. I'd not thought about any of this -- probably because I'm not ready to try thread painting (although I'd love to some day"!)

Robbie said...

Good luck to ya! Your work is always wonderful so we're all looking forward to your next creation!!