Free Motion Quilting Challenge -Sept

September’s Free Motion Quilting Challenge over at SewCalGal’s site was provided by Paula Reid. Paula came to my local guild several years back and made a lasting impression on me. Gotta love the hair for one thing! The girl knows how to quilt and has so many practical ideas on how to make quilting easier-I’ve followed her since. September’s Challenge was to quilt this stencil motif of a Feathered Wreath. I despise marking, have I mentioned that before?! I decided to up the challenge by using metallic thread. I have learned, the hard way of course, that you HAVE to use quality metallic thread or you’re gonna have trouble. I used Superior Glitter and had zero problems.

There are a couple of basic principles for using metallic thread without fear:
Use a topstitch or metallic needle-they are Exactly. The. Same. I used Superior’s Titanium Coated Topstitch needle-size 80.
Use a great bobbin thread-I used Superior’s Highlights-odd choice, but it was already in my bobbin, grin!
-Metallics are wound straight on the spool so make sure you orient the spool so that the thread comes off the side of the spool.
-It helps to place the spool away from your machine a ways so that any kinks in the thread can work themselves out before going through your machine.
Go a bit slower than normal-metallics appreciate that!-I make my stitches a bit longer than normal. I don’t know if you can tell from the photo, but the tiny stitches on the top line don’t let enough of the shine through-longer stitches highlight the shine.
-You absolutely positively must use good thread. The Glitter that I used is solid metallic, but some are wrapped around a poly core and that will give you fits.See how this one frays and it’s not even in your needle yet? That’s because this is metallic wrapped around poly. What do you think this thread is going to do on your quilt? I am trying to decide what project is next and this is the result-this ever happen to you?


  1. says

    I LOVE that picture of your sewing room mess. They say that a messy workspace is a sign of creative genius, you know. :-)

    Your challenge piece came out beautifully! I’m working up the courage to try it myself today; now you’re my witness. I’ve never tried to quilt feathers, never tried to quilt on a marked line, and I’m so nervous about it that you’d think it was like having a mammogram, a pap smear, and a root canal all at the same time. Yikes! SURELY it can’t be THAT bad, right?!!

    Also, thanks for the metallic thread tips — I’ve fought with metallics for embroidery and decorative stitches before. Next time I’ll check for that poly core and use your setup suggestions.

  2. jennyklyon says

    Oh go for it Rebecca-remember it’s only fabric and thread! I’m following your blog and you are doing some beautiful work-you are so up to this! I don’t like to follow lines either and I hate to mark so that part was a challenge for me too. I kept on thinking “This would be so much easier unmarked”.

  3. What Comes Next? says

    beautiful stitching, and the metallic looks beautiful. my workspace looks like yours too often for me to say it’s the start of a new project. :)

    • jennyklyon says

      Apparently mine doesn’t look that bad! But you know, it’s not my actual sewing room, it’s another room that I dump fabric in…

  4. says

    Love the lime! Great tips for using metallic thread. I have also learned the hard way…always, always use quality metallic, or don’t bother to sew with metallic at all! As far as a messy sewing space…I’ve seen worse. Ahem.

  5. stipplequilt says

    Beautiful stitching and wonderful info on using metallic thread! What a difference using a long stitch makes! Of course my room will look like that to when I am deciding on a new project, fun, fun!

  6. jennyklyon says

    Thanks! It’s reassuring to know I’m not the only one that goes through that messy stage-DH does not care for it much either.

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