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Thread: How much thread will I use for this wholecloth?

  1. #1
    Junior Member Lobster's Avatar
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    How much thread will I use for this wholecloth?

    I am about to embark on my first wholecloth quilt. It's going to be hand-sewn, traditional Welsh quilting. It'll be slightly unconventional in that the front will be a semi-plain, a sort of gently marbled/sponged marigold yellow fabric, and the back will be a flannel patterned with the world's cutest owls. The picture attached shows the two fabrics, and the strip at the bottom was just me experimenting with possible binding fabrics, if I end up going for a binding rather than a knife edge. I've also attached a sketch of the planned quilting pattern. The overall size will be 36" x 52".

    Question #1: I'll be using perle #8 and big stitch quilting (told you it was going to be a bit unconventional), and of my very small thread stash so far, you can see a ball of bright pink thread that looks quite nice in the photo, the thread on the right. I only have one small ball of that, and I'm going to be switching to a different brand of thread so that I can buy as much as I need. It will either be Rubi http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...tchlink:top:en or Venus http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...tchlink:top:en though the Rubi is cheaper and sounds nicer. Any opinions on which colours will work best? I want a medium tone, strong enough to stand out nicely but not too screamingly contrasting, and either orange or pink. At the moment I'm leaning towards the Saffron Orange 4474 in the Rubi.

    Question #2: how much thread am I likely to use, bearing in mind that this will be hand-sewn? I've done Welsh quilting before, I've done big stitch quilting with perle #8 before, I've just never put the two together and then used a single thread throughout.
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  2. #2
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    I hope Holice will jump in here with a wise answer.

    Jan in VA
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    peacefully colors my world.
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/members...bums19552.html

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    Jan: Thanks for the compliment but wize I am not on this one. Pearl cotton is a whole different ball game due to its size and weight. It is going to take a whole sack full. Let me think on this. However, this is the way I would do it.

    Divide the quilt in 1/4. It appears to be mirrowed imaged in 4ths. Then casually measure each motif. This doesn't have to be exact to get the total inches. Multimply by 4. Then take a sample piece and thread and cut a a certain amount of thread off - say 20" Stitch enough to take up 18" of the thread. Measure and compare with your inches you got from measuring the design. I realize this will take a bit of time but will give you a reasonable amount of thread you will need. I assume the Pearl cotton has some differences in dye lots so getting enough to finish the quilt might be important. In case there is a difference in dye lots, I would leave some units until last in case the dye lot was different and you had to buy more thread. Perhaps all of one kind of motif. This way the slight differece would not show.

    A question: How do you plan on transferring the design to your fabric.
    Last edited by Holice; 04-08-2012 at 08:16 AM.

  4. #4
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    I am using #8 perle cotton to do a redwork lap quilt right now. I am using the back stitch method which will be using a bit more than a running stitch. I did 1 row of embroidered verse around the outside of about 45 X 60? I also am doing a leaf outline in every other block. It is less stitching than you have on your sketch and I am just about done and I've used about 1 ball and 1/2. Mine were 10g balls and maybe that will help you guesstimate your needs?

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    Junior Member Lobster's Avatar
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    I suppose it may end up costing a bit more, but it'll be a lot quicker and easier to make. Assuming that yarn colours are reasonably consistent, and that any small variations wouldn't be enough to show up in quilting (presumably it would be different if I were actually crocheting with the yarn), I could probably get away with buying the thread as I need it. Right now I'm not 100% sure of the colour, so I may order one ball of that colour, a few balls in other colours so that I can start building up a good stash of this thread, and then I can always try another colour if I don't get on with the first one. I've just done the one quilt with perle #8 so far but I really like it, both in that it's quicker and easier to sew, and in that it shows off the quilting very nicely.

    Does anyone have an opinion on the thread colour?

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    Junior Member Lobster's Avatar
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    Tartan - thanks, I might go for four 40m (5g ) or two 82 (10g) balls to begin with, then. I've just realised that it probably be much cheaper to go for Anchor threads instead, which is slightly annoying as I've been emailing this seller on eBay.

    Holice - yikes, that would take more than a bit of time! You're correct in that it has symmetry both ways and that a quadrant will give you the whole thing (ignoring the corner where I randomly tried drawing some Welsh scissors and then went off them), but with all the double lines and filling and so on, it would take forever to calculate. I'd rather overestimate thread, or take the risk that the dye lots might be a bit different.

    Thankfully the yellow fabric is fine enough that I should be able to trace onto it. The plan is to draw it out in full on pieces of A1 paper stuck together, pin the fabric on top, and then trace it with Crayola washable pen. I've used them before and I'm happy with how they wash out. I have a grand piano, so I have somewhere to leave it flat while I'm tracing it (I won't be able to do that in a single session) and then while it's waiting to be basted. I'm contemplating starching it to make it easier to deal with at the tracing and basting stages, but starched fabric always creases in the Q-snap like crazy, so probably not.

  7. #7
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    I made myself a light table by getting a 24"48 piece of plixieblass from the home store and pulled the leaves out of the dining table and put a light under.
    It also helps if you will put something white down first. I use a white sheet and then your white paper with black lines. This seems to make the lines easier to see on darker fabric.
    I believe you were scared off by my suggestion of measuring.....just take a tape measure and guesstimate the motifs. Not exact. At least that would give you a general idea. I sometimes use the easel pads lined in 1" grids for designing. You can tape enough together. Is the design your own creation using the Welsh motifs or from a book?

  8. #8
    Junior Member Lobster's Avatar
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    I can make myself a light table if I need to, my sewing desk is glass and I've clipped a spotlight underneath it for this purpose before. But with fabric this light, I really don't think I'll need to. I'll be tracing over black lines on white paper, after all. My dining table is already pretty light, being birch, but I may try your tricky with the white sheet to see if that helps at all.

    I've ordered two 10g balls of thread, along with a variety of colours to increase my thread stash. I went with DMC in the end, they're cheaper and I already have a shade card for them. Although it's still incredibly hard to tell, and for some reason they have a prejudice against turquoise. I picked a shade of orange which looked like it should work well. I think DMC are reliable enough that if I run out, I'll be OK getting thread from another batch. It's not as if it's going to be a solid area of thread, such as you'd get with crochet or embroidery.

    The design is adapted from one I found on a Welsh quilting blog. I've spent a while reading books on Welsh quilting and saving images from online sources, so I'm fairly good at this sort of designing by now. I did Welsh quilting on a log cabin quilt last year, it turned out a treat. I've tried out drawing a quarter of the design full-size already, and the spacing works out better than it looks in this sketch.

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    I'm too new to know the answers you need; writing to say I love your pattern and will anxiously wait to see your completed project. My husband's grandmother was Welsh.
    Mavis

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    Junior Member Lobster's Avatar
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    I got side-tracked by making a netbook case for a friend of mine, which I've nearly finished, but once that is done, I will be getting started on this quilt. I went slightly insane looking at threads, especially working out the colours. In the end I decided to go for DMC Perle #8, as I already have a DMC shade chart. I bought two 10g balls of a nice strong orange which should look lovely against the quilt, and a bit less girly than the pink I'd originally been envisaging. DMC have a good reputation, and I've been using their embroidery threads for many years without noticing any problems with dye batches. So I think I should be OK if I run out of thread and need to buy more.

    I also splashed out on a few threads from the same range so that I would have a nice range of colours. I feel a bit daft for buying so many threads in 30 weight quilting cotton years ago, as most of them have barely been used at all, but hey, if and when I take up machine quilting, they'll be handy again. Meanwhile I am getting very keen on quilting with perle #8. I shouldn't really call it "big stitch quilting", my stitch sizes are no larger than they were in my first year of hand-quilting with 30 weight thread. I've been doing perle #8 quilting on the netbook case in four different colours, and it's looking smashing.

  11. #11
    KR
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    Instead of using a tape measure to try to determine how much thread you will need, you might try using yarn or even some of your pearle cotton. Lay it down over your design lines, then pick it up and measure it. May be a little easier to "trace" your lines with something smaller than a tape measure.
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    Fantastic quilting design.
    The owl fabric is really cute.
    I like the colors you are using.

    You said you were going "unconventional" - so the very informal and fun owls with the formal quilting design will probably "work" for you.

    The design you have created is so pretty, I would love to have it show (more) on both sides of the fabric - I think it will get lost on the owl side.

    I

  13. #13
    Junior Member Lobster's Avatar
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    I'm fairly sure it will get lost on the owl side, which is one reason why I picked a thread that would blend in well there (I went for a nice orange in the end). But does that really matter? One side will be very clear Welsh quilting against a semi-plain background, and the other side will be snuggly flannel with cute owls, probably showing the quilting pattern if you hold it up at the right angle to the light. That said, as I'm using thicker thread and my stitches all get through to the back when I'm using thicker thread (at least when there are no seam allowances to quilt through!), the pattern will probably show up reasonably well. It'll be a good test run to see just how good my quilting is on the back when I'm using perle #8. With the other projects that I've done with perle #8, it looks reasonably good on the back, with the odd skipped stitch when I'm sewing through seam allowances. I'm working on getting it to look good on the back when I finish one piece of thread and move on to the next, which I was able to focus on when making that netbook case last week (see photo), as it was so small that I could easily flick to the underside to see how the stitch placement was working out. I think I'm getting the knack of that, and by the time I've finished an entire wholecloth, I imagine I will have improved considerably. I'm still finding it a bit tricky to hide the small backstitches I take at the start of each thread, but it's better to have those showing very slightly than to have a poorly-secured line of stitching.

    I am now in the middle of marking out the full-scale paper diagram in pencil. I'm about halfway through, and then I go over it in pen (thank goodness for fine line washable pens), and then I have the job of tracing it onto the yellow fabric. I've done lines in a slightly thicker green pen for the outline of the quilt and then criss-crossing the centre, and I will mark the pattern on paper in thinner black pen. I am trying to think my way through how I will mark this onto the fabric.

    I assume that the first thing I do, after pressing the fabric (right now I'm leaning away from using spray starch, it makes everything crease like crazy in the quilting frame plus I don't know if it would interact with the pens), is to mark those centre lines on the fabric. I'll probably use one of the slightly thicker markers for that, say in peach, as that should be just dark enough to show but not dark enough that I will mistake it for a sewing line. The sewing lines on the fabric will be done in red, with a fine line washable pen (Crayola) which I've already tested sufficiently to know that it washes out fine.

    Then I need to attach the fabric to the paper somehow. The good news here is that I left a good 4" margin all around the design on the paper, so the paper is about the same size as the fabric, and that it fits on top of my piano without having to be folded up. So I can keep it flat between sessions - there's no way I could do the whole thing in one go - right up until it gets basted. That's extra-good news as it spares me having to press the fabric after it's been marked up: I have done tests with ironing over those markers onto scraps and throwing them in the wash, but I'd rather not take the chance if possible. The bad news is that my dining table is rather smaller than this, and only about a quarter of it fits on there at once. So I will need to have that fabric very securely attached at regular intervals, to prevent it from getting pulled out of shape or overly creased. I'm thinking safety pins? With the number I'll need, regular pins would be perpetually pricking me and getting caught in my clothes, and I'm not sure I'd be able to baste comfortably through that paper, especially for the parts where there are two pieces of paper overlapping (it's A1 poster paper, there are four sheets joined by masking tape). I suppose I will have to do this on the floor with weights all over the paper and fabric to keep it in place. Or should I tape both the paper and the fabric onto the floor, as if I were basting? Yikes, it's going to be an enormous job, I always find basting exhausting. Does anyone have helpful suggestions here?

    Then I trace the pattern, which should be easy enough, the fabric is a light colour and not too thick; take the fabric off the paper; and make up the quilt sandwich as usual. Hopefully the fabric won't get too creased while I'm marking it up. Keeping it flat on the piano between sessions will help, it's just the part where I'm actually drawing on it and part of it is hanging over the edge of the dining table that I'm wondering about. Ah well, nothing I can do about that, my flat is tiny and we don't have any way of extending the dining table.
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