Monday 18 August 2014

Just Threads Finished Quilt & FOQ

Remember these blocks from last May?

They are the Moda friendship blocks our Thurday group, Just Threads, made as a group project.  There are over 30 blocks in this series and are available on Sylvias Stitches if you want to download them.  We each made blocks using Spring as the theme for fabric selection and chose a navy solid fabric to sash them which worked really well to pull the various blocks together.

We are hoping to raffle it next year for Irish Quilting week but this year we got it made just in time for the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham.  I didn't get to go to the FOQ but got to see the finished quilt on Paula's blog and Suzanne, who attended, kindly took some photos for me.

Suzanne also sent me a photo of Ireland's EQA exhibit, Winter Garden.  Thanks Suzanne!  My mini is the top right called Windy Winter Morning, aka Robin on a branch (I showed a close up of it last week).  I'm right beside Isobel's, Paula's daughter, who made the gorgeous Snowflake on a window. Meg and Claire from Just threads are also included.  Meg's is second left on the top with some frosty trees and Claire's is second right on the bottom row, a lovely snowy house scene!

This was my first attempt at thread painting.  Well first isn't exactly correct.  It took me 4 attempts to get it looking close to right!

During our last Irish Patchwork Society meeting Kate O'Donoghue made a really lovely landscape scene using a zig zag stitch and she urged me to give it a go so I googled  some Robin images for inspiration and looked up thread painting on YouTube.  I ended up using the following to make my mini :

  • feed dogs down & free motion foot on machine
  • top tension reduced from 4 to 2 (advice was to use 0 for metallic threads)
  • 2 threads in the same needle e.g. 2 shades of red/orange for the redbreast
  • lightweight embroidery thread in the bobbin 
  • zigzag stitch set at 2.0 and used moving the fabric horizontally to create straight stitches rather than the usual method of vertical to make zigzag stitches.  This meant stopping and turning quite a bit to keep moving the piece horizontally
  • 2 layers of stitch and tear under the top fabric stretched in an embroidery hoop (much easier to move the piece around too using the hoop)
  • thread painted first then spray basted the 3 layers together (as opposed to first attempt above!)
  • quilted a small loopy stipple pattern all around the Robin and branch to give the effect of a cold, windy, winter morning
  • faced the quilt (as opposed to binding) using this tutorial by The Silly BooDilly

In addition to all the settings above and the practice pieces, I learned to just take a breath and give it a try.  Once I had Robin #4 looking somewhat like I imagined I was nervous to do the loopy quilting - there is always that "I'm going to mess this up" voice talking away in the background.  I drowned it out with the "Be brave, breathe and just do it" talk I gave myself!

Nike would be proud their marketing campaign worked on me!  It wasn't that hard in the end though a little practice was required and I would definitely do this again!

Linking up to the Friday finishes:
 Crazy Mom Quilts and


  1. You've done a great job. I love the little robin.

  2. You robin looks wonderful, and I love the name you gave the mini, too. :)

  3. Ruth, I am in love with your little robin! All the minis look so lovely, especially grouped together like that. The Friendship blocks project is a real winner too!

  4. They are all brilliant! Well done you must be so proud of them :)

  5. Awesome! And I like your blue quilt in the top right-hand corner of your header.

  6. Your mini is beautiful! Thank you for listing the details on how you put it together; I'm headed now to check out that tutorial by Silly BooDilly. I think the way you finished it looks easy but still crisp and neat!

  7. I missed quite a bit of the exhibition as I didn't see your Winter exhibit. Your robin is wonderful!

  8. Wonderful! Your bird is so cute and the mini looks wonderful for being a beginner thread painter.

  9. I've never heard of thread painting before .. your Robin is gorgeous :)

  10. What a sweet little robin! I've seen some crazy amazing thread painting pieces before that use all sorts of different mediums in the one piece. It's amazing the different projects that can come out of some thread and fabric!

  11. I love it! Great to see something different! Good job!

  12. Your robin is adorable! I've never tried thread painting - I'm more than a little intimidated by it :) That navy blue sashing looks great with all those blocks, it really ties them together while letting them stand out too. Thanks for linking to TGIFF.

  13. Wonderful project! Thanks for sharing your process, and how sweet your last robin turned out. Really nice! I might try this out since you demonstrated what is possible if we just focus on letting go of the thoughts of it not turning out good. (

    1. Thanks! It takes a little bit of practice but it is fun! I'd definitely try it again, nice to have had to chance to play with this technique in a mini-quilt!

  14. Wow! That little robin is so sweet! Love the thread work and the quilting is perfect! Nice finishes - ALL!

  15. hi Ruth, flicking back through your blog just have to tell you I love the little robin on the branch, Love robins. And this looks so endearing. The whole collaborative project looks really good


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