Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Writing with Thread

When you want to write on a quilt, try thread writing instead. No need for a label; no need to worry that the ink will fade; this will last as long as the quilt.  I usually thread write after the quilt is sandwiched so I don't use stabilizer. Here are four ways.

A. Use the programmed alphabet on your machine. Punch in your name and the date to sign the corner. Try it on a scrap piece before stitching on the quilt to make sure the letters and spaces are entered in the correct order. Make sure your quilt has room to move with the stitching; feed dogs are up with this method.

B. Sew in cursive using a narrow free motion zig-zag stitch. This is my favorite way to write on a quilt. I do not try to satin stitch; I just want a thicker line than a single row of stitching. Unlike the programmed stitches, this can be as large as you like or as small as you're able to write.

Zig-zag with white Aurifil 50/2 cotton thread.

Want the words to stand out? Use contrasting thread. My favorite is Metler Poly Sheen in neon green (5940), neon yellow (501) or neon orange (1306). (These are the numbers on my current spools; check with the manufacturer.) The colors may sound awful and look harsh on the spool BUT... they aren't neon on your quilt and the zig-zag writing is readable.

Metler Poly Sheen threads.

Zig-zag with neon green thread.

Zig-zag with Metler neon yellow thread.

C. Recently I found the Graffiti stitch on Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting blog. The echo stitching is what makes this writing show up at all. It's another good way to sign your quilts. For an understated look, match the thread to the fabric.

Straight Graffiti stitch.

D. If machine writing isn't your style, try hand embroidery. Check out this very informative tutorial  How to Make an Embroidered Signature at Pretty by Hand. Kristyne's color combinations are a treat for the eyes and the workmanship is inspirational.

What could you write on a t-shirt quilt, or any quilt for that matter?
  1. Nicknames
  2. Names of family, friends, pets
  3. Classes, activities, frat/sorority, clubs
  4. Band, sports & instruments/positions played
  5. Names of moves: wrestling holds, cheerleading jumps, chess moves
  6. School name
  7. Religious organizations
  8. Offices held
  9. Honors earned
  10. Class year
  11. Major
  12. Mascot
  13. Lyrics
  14. Code phrases, cheers, chemical compounds
  15. Poems, haikus, quotes
Fret not; enjoy the day.


P.S. Paul Burega commented about thread writing on his quilts. He posted a photo on his blog A Dad who dyes fabrics and quilts. Click to see his photo. It looks great with the softly waving lines surrounding it.

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