Being on set when we taped the most recent Quilting Arts WorkshopTM videos was a real education. Not only did I learn how the videos are taped, but I also picked up lots of tips for quilting and fabric art.
One of my favorite ideas for enhancing depth and texture comes from Barbara Schneider, who makes gallery-worthy fiber art leaf sculptures. She often uses two threads in her needle at once.
|Dimensional fiber art by Barbara Schneider,
Oak Leaf series.
"Using a double thread gives you more definition and 'oomph' in the line. It makes a nice contrast to a single thread used for more stitching in the background," says Barbara.
"Mixing threads breaks up the regularity of the pattern. Most variegated threads have a repetition to the timing that becomes obvious. When I use a solid and a variegated together it breaks up that pattern and gives you a more natural look."
I asked Barbara to elaborate on her tips for using two threads at once, and she happily agreed.
- I use related colors in solids, solid and variegated together, similar but different colors together, similar but different variegated together. It all depends on what look I am trying to get. Sometimes I put the solids as a first layer of stitching and then go back over the same area (not the same lines of stitching) with the variegated (look at the large leaves to see samples of this). The whole purpose is to achieve texture and a more natural look to the stitching.
I mostly use the rayon threads as they seem to go through the machine the best. Usually, I try to keep the threads the same weight and type, otherwise one or the other might break more often.
I have two thread holders on my machine, so I thread them both and then pull both threads through the tensioning process together and thread them together. I have an automatic threader on my Janome 6500. If you don't have that, then use a small hand threader (like they sell for threading a sewing needle) and use that to put the thread through.
I use a large topstitching needle (I like the one from Superior threads the best). It has more room, and the thread seems not to break as often as with other needles.
I do not play with tension at all. Just leave well enough alone.
I've used different threads in my hand stitching before, but not in machine stitching. I'm looking forward to trying out Barbara's double-thread tips next time I machine stitch a piece of textile art.
On her Quilting Arts WorkshopTM, "Three-Dimensional Fiber Art: Shape & Texture, Light & Shadow," Barbara offers many tips and techniques for enhancing your fabric art's depth and texture. You can now download "Three-Dimensional Fiber Art" and start using her techniques right away.
P.S. Have you double-threaded your machine needle? Is so, how did that work out? Any advice for the rest of us? Leave your comment below.