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Step 1 – needles and threads for a thread painting tutorial

During my previous QUILTsocial post, Perfect Pairings-needles and threads work together for successful quilting I described how to choose the best SCHMETZ needles to work with a variety of Sulky and Gütermann threads.

This week I’ll show you in 5 easy steps how to use these new skills to make a beautiful quilt from a printed panel using a variety of needles and threads.

I’m using the Heron panel from the Water Garden collection by Northcott to work with.

Let’s get started.

What you’ll need

Water Garden Printed panel DP21916-44 from Northcott

This beautiful, artistic depiction of a heron gives us plenty of inspiration for the thread painting and quilting.

Artisan Spirit Water Garden panel from Northcott

  • ⅜ yd each of 6 fabrics that complement your panel for narrow inner border and pieced border
  • ⅜ yd for binding
  • 1⅝ yd for backing

I used fabrics from 3 Northcott collections for the sample:

 A selection of fabrics from Northcott including a light blue sky print, green grass print, a coral pink, a periwinkle blue, an orange ombre, a coral ombre and a dark blue crackle print  Northcott
A selection of fabrics from Northcott

A selection of Sulky 40 weight rayon embroidery thread in colors that coordinate with the heron and flowers on the panel.

Rayon thread has a wonderful luster that will add a sense of light and movement.

It’s important to include a variety of light, dark and medium values as this help us create the impression of light and shadow.

A multi-color or variegated will help add interesting detail.

A selection of light, dark and medium color value Sulky 40 weight rayon thread; a tutorial on thread painting
A selection of Sulky 40 weight rayon thread

A selection of Sulky 30 weight rayon embroidery thread.

This is slightly thicker than 40 weight rayon.

Combining different weights of thread helps provide visual depth to my work.

Sulky 30 weight rayon will help add visual depth when used for thread painting; a tutorial on thread painting
Sulky 30 weight rayon adds visual depth

A selection of Sulky Poly Deco embroidery thread to complement the rayon threads.

Poly Deco is a 40 weight trilobal polyester thread that is strong, colorfast and high luster.

Sulky Poly Deco embroidery thread is a strong, high sheen, colorfast trilobal polyester ideal for thread painting; a tutorial on thread painting
Sulky Poly Deco embroidery thread

Sulky 30 weight cotton Blendables thread.

One or two spools to blend with your other threads.

The random, subtle color changes and heavier weight make this the perfect thread to create visual texture.

Sulky 30 weight cotton Blendables thread is beautiful for quilting and will help add visual weight and depth to thread painting; a tutorial on thread painting.
Sulky 30 weight cotton Blendables

Sulky metallic thread

One spool silver, white or light blue.

I’ll use this to add extra highlights that help give the impression of light coming into our piece.

A spool of silver Sulky metallic thread  Sulky
Sulky metallic thread can be used to add extra highlights.

Sulky invisible polyester thread

One spool clear.

This will be used to quilt areas where I want the texture to show but not the thread.

Sulky Premium invisible polyester thread will be used to quilt areas where we want the texture to show but not the thread   Sulky
Sulky Premium Invisible Polyester thread

One spool Gütermann 50 weight cotton in a color that blends with your fabrics for piecing and construction.

Soft yet durable this thread will make sewing our borders and binding a breeze.

Gütermann 50 weight cotton thread is ideal for both piecing and machine quilting; a tutorial on thread painting
Gütermann 50 weight cotton thread

SCHMETZ quilting needles standard and/or Chrome size 75/11 and 90/14

My go to needle for piecing and quilting also does a wonderful job when thread painting.

The new chrome coated version resist heat and wear while allowing the needle to pass through the fabric with less resistance.

SCHMETZ quilting needles standard and chrome; a tutorial on thread painting.
SCHMETZ quilting needles standard and chrome

SCHMETZ topstitch needles standard and/or chrome size 80/12 and 90/14

This sturdy needle has a sharp point and extra long eye that will allow us to do some interesting thread painting techniques with ease.

SCHMETZ Topstitch needles come in a variety of sizes both standard and chrome coated; a tutorial on thread painting.
A variety of SCHMETZ topstitch needles

Sulky Soft’n Sheer Extra iron on stabilizer.

2 packages 20″ x 36″

Sulky Soft'n Sheer Extra iron on stabilizer will be used to stabilize the panel in preparation for heavy stitching; a tutorial on thread painting.
Sulky Soft’n Sheer Extra iron on stabilizer

Fairfield Soft & Toasty natural cotton batting

One package medium size 72″ x 90″

Fairfield Soft & Toasty natural cotton batting will give the thread painted and quilted panel just the look we want; a tutorial on thread painting.
Fairfield Soft & Toasty natural cotton batting

UNIQUE 2 in 1 marking pen

The UNIQUE 2 in 1 marking pen contains both a wash away and air erasable marking tool in one pen; a tutorial on thread painting
UNIQUE 2 in 1 marking pen

Additional supplies

  • rotary cutter, ruler and cutting mat
  • sharp scissors
  • sewing machine with ¼” foot, darning foot and walking foot

We have gathered our supplies and are ready to start sewing.

How exciting!

Join me tomorrow when I’ll use Sulky stabilizer to prepare the panel, then piece and attach perfect borders using our SCHMETZ needles and Gütermann cotton thread.

This is part 1 of 5 in this series.

Go to part 2: Step 2 – framing up a quilt panel using a patchwork border

Julie Plotniko is a quilting teacher, blogger and designer from Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. Teaching for almost 40 years, recent credits include Quilt Canada 2016 and 2017, many quilt guilds and groups throughout Canada and CreativFestival Sewing and Craft Shows in Victoria, Abbotsford and Toronto. When not on the road Julie works and teaches at Snip & Stitch Sewing Center in Nanaimo, BC. Her favorite things include free motion quilting (standard bed and mid-arm machines), precision piecing, scrap quilting, machine embroidery, blogging, designing and of course teaching. Julie believes that to see a student go from tentative beginnings to having confidence in themselves and their abilities is one of the greatest rewards that life has to offer.

1 Comment

  1. Pam S

    I’m really excited about this series. I want to do thread painting. Thanks for the gorgeous and informative post!

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