Free Thread and Needle Chart


My new business cards have this needle and thread chart on the back.

At last, that portable Needle and Thread Chart you’ve always wanted!

Yes, this handy dandy chart listing what size embroidery needle goes with what size pearl cotton thread can be yours!¬† Place an order for anything in the Artfabrik Store this month, I’ll include one with your order.

Or just go to the Thread-u-cation Tutorial and you’ll see a version of it there.

The Bulky and the Bold Winner


Tilty Town #10 by Laura Wasilowski.

It pleases me to announce the winner of really thick thread. Our hand-dyed Size 3 thread is bulky and bold and brilliant for couching on top of your quilts. Use a Size 8 or Size 12 pearl cotton thread to attach it to the surface of your art work. Then you have 2 colors to play with! (See Couching Instructions here.)

And the winner of the Size 3 thread is…..Sara K. May she enjoy both the bulky and the bold.

A Gardener’s Plot: Bird Decoration


Time to stitch the next Gardener’s Plot quilt.

Here’s a tip: when you add hand stitchery to your fused art quilts, always start with the focal point. In this case we start embroidery on the birds then move on to other parts of the design like the flowers, stems, and grass.

gardenersplot13An Outline Stitch around the edge of the bird in a bright blue Size 8 thread really gives that bird a boost. And the Blanket Stitch on the tail gives him lift!

gardenersplot14Here’s a detail of all the stitching for our little bird. You’ll see the Outline Stitch, Blanket Stitch, French Knots, Fern Stitch, and Straight Stitches too. Check out my Thread-u-cation Page under Tutorials. There you’ll see how to make all these decorative embroidery stitches. Tomorrow we tackle the flowers!

Is There a Wheat Ear Flower?

tulips6The Wheat Ear stitch is so adorable. See it on the right? Like little people throwing up their hands, they reach for the sky. This is a linking stitch (similar to the Chair Stitch) but I use them as individual stitches to make sweet little flowers.

tulips7The stems for wheat ear flowers are made with a size 8 Evening Greens thread. But don’t you think the stem thread overpowers the delicate blooms? Me too. Stitch removal is required! That’s the best part of adding hand embroidery to fabric. You can always take it out if you don’t like it.

As I remove my stitches, you may want to know how to make the Wheat Ear Stitch. Check out Thread-u-cation on the Tutorials Page to learn that stitch and many more.

Celebrity Art Quilt Auction: Make it Fancy!


Confetti Heart by Laura Wasilowski

In November this quilt will be in a charity auction for the AAQI (Altzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative.) It was originally made for my book Fusing Fun: Fast Fearless Art Quilts. But my plan is to transform this heart quilt. To make it fancy!

joyfulheart4As you can see its already machine stitched and bound. By why not add hand embroidery to dress it up? OK, I think I will!

joyfulheart2First step: make the heart shape really leap out from the background. Obviously the Blanket Stitch outlining the edge is the ticket. Doesn’t it look 3-D?

Here’s how to make the Blanket Stitch next time you want your heart to leap:

blanketstitch1With the thread on top at A, place the tip of the needle about 1/4″ to the right and a 1/4″ down from point A. Insert the needle at B and exit at C, about 1/4″ straight down from A. Trap the thread coming out of A under the needle tip and draw the needle and thread slowly through the fabric.

blanketstitch2Point C is now Point A. Repeat the directions above forming a row or following the edge of a fabric shape. Different effects are achieved by varying the spacing between points A and C or the length of the B/C stitch. Enjoy!

How to Garden Aboard Ship

Fuse a wonderful blue dot measuring 1 1/2″ to a background fabric.

You may ask did I do anything on this wonderful Baltic cruise other than eat a lot and buy a lot of socks?

Place 8 straight stitches around the dot with Lazy Daisy stitches for leaves.

Why, yes. I did! I gave myself this assignment during the cruise: add hand embroidery to a small quilt top.

Finish the edge of the circle with an Outline Stitch.

It was so hard to concentrate! (I kept getting distracted by desserts on the Lido deck.)

Use a variation of the Sheaf Stitch to make flower petals.

But slowly my little quilt top was complete by the time we arrived back in the States. Good thing too!

Add French Knots to the flower petals using the wonderful Aquamarine colorway in Size 12.

This quilt was needed for my filming of 2 episodes of Quilting Arts TV with Pokey Bolton. Soon after my return from the cruise, Frieda Anderson and I raced off to Ohio for the shoot. (“Shoot” is a Hollywood term for making a movie. The Hollywood term for me is “the Talent”.)

Final version of a small area of the quilt made by “the Talent”.

Can you guess what the final quilt looks like? I’ll give you a hint: I don’t traditionally make this type of quilt.