Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Aurifil Artisan Challenge :: Multiple Threads

When I started out with this mini quilt (10.5" x 11"), I wasn't intentionally making it for this month's Aurifil Artisan challenge, which is to make something using multiple thread colors. In fact, it wasn't until I was ready to quilt it and started pulling out threads in a variety of weights and colors that it dawned on me that I could.... and should! 

Early on, I named this piece Downtown, inspired by the print scrap in my original fabric pull. I had in mind something fairly small, as I chose more scraps and stash fabrics to pair with the print. Honestly, it may be a while before I'm ready to make a big quilt. I feel like I'm still in recovery mode after last year's big tryptich. So when I had a couple of hours on Friday afternoon and felt like digging into my scraps, I just went for it. I initially thought I'd do something with a variety of print scraps, but once I found that scrap - the last of a 2012 Jay McCarroll Center City print - I decided I wanted it to be the feature.

The piecing was random, as I created a few small blocks, then puzzled how they might fit together. At this point, it was just a relaxing way to spend a couple of hours at the start of the weekend. 

The backing was pre-determined - also a scrap of fabric already spray-basted to batting - and though I'd intended on making a quilt front that coordinated better, I let that go for convenience and the pure joy of using that dot fabric.

It was as I began mulling over quilting that things got more interesting. There were so many colors in this small piece, and any one thread color didn't seem to fit. So I began to search for thread colors that matched the fabrics, and in doing so, pulled several different weights as well. The quilting plan at this point? Decide as I went.

In all, I ended up using 10 different threads! I put Aurifil 40wt in the bobbin, and then just started in, quilting basically from the center out, one color at a time. The threads I used for piecing were:

Aurifil 50wt 2225 [Salmon], 2479 [Medium Orchid], 2975 [Brass], 6010 [Toast]

Aurifil 40wt 2692 [Black]

Aurifil 28wt 2625 [Arctic Ice]

Aurifil 12wt 2000 [Light Sand], 8530 [Puce Magenta Pink]

The quilt is bound in Kona Sangria, and just to let the thread show off, I machine-bound it, top-stitching with more of the 12wt Puce Magenta Pink. 

At some point during quilting, it dawned on me that I could add in a couple of more thread weights and colors by doing a little hand-stitching on the print sections. That also solved my issue of not really wanting to machine-quilt on them, but knowing they would still benefit from a little something. Thus, after the quilt was bound, I used Aurifloss 6722 [Sea Biscuit] and Aurifil 8wt 2420 [Light Blush] to add some outlining and filling stitches to those sections.

I love that this little foray into the scrap basket pretty much decided what it wanted to be along the way! Creating Downtown was refreshing, and I'm anxious to see what's next.


  1. I love it when the project speaks to you so much. All the thread colors and weight work perfectly in this piece, and I especially enjoy the machine finished binding with a subtle tone-on-tone thread choice. Lovely!

  2. There's something so freeing and refreshing (great word!) about playing like this. I think it's good for our creative minds, a release from all the stresses of life, quilting or otherwise! Great little piece!

  3. So much fun here Debbie! I like your comment, 'just to let the thread show off', yes Kona Sangria and Puce Magenta Pink are show offs for sure, but all the other colors and prints keep them reigned in.
    The hand stitching is wonderful and I see an improv Log Cabin design thing going on,
    Downtown is superb!

  4. what a great little quilt! thanks for sharing it's story

  5. I just love this so much! I know exactly what you mean when you say a project is so refreshing....it fills the soul with such contentment. It's so cool to look at a small piece and take in all the details. Remember the Cross-Cut QAL (I'm hoping that was the name of it) you had several years ago? That was one of my favorite projects ever! That one really propelled me into improv and experimenting with breaking the "rules". Thank you once again for giving me that confidence, Debbie!

  6. Hi Debbie, what a wonderful finish! I love that you hand quilted a bit of it - it really adds to it! I also like the idea of top-stitching the binding. Did you attach the binding from the back? I'm still trying to learn machine binding. Please consider linking up to Free Motion Mavericks. We'd love to have you join the party!

  7. I love this quilt! It's so full of life!