Variegated Thread – Yes? No?

I was happy to have time today to do some quilting on my ‘Deconstructed – Not’ quilt. (Still need a better name…)

I love the colors in the Palermo line and decided to get adventurous and use variegated thread for the quilting. I think the quilt has a fun, young vibe and I wanted to play with that in the quilting.

FMQ Loops Variegated Thread

I wasn’t sure how I wanted to quilt so I started with some easy loops in the sashing using the variegated thread. I did four rows before I admitted to myself that I really don’t like it!

I like seeing the quilting some of you do with different colored threads, but I really struggled with it.  Before I completely abandoned the variegated thread idea, I started an easy stipple in one of the blocks. (Sorry, no picture.)

I really disliked this thread in the block.  When I looked at it, the thread was all I saw and it really distracted me from seeing the beautiful fabrics.

So, I grabbed my seam ripper, put Ellen on the TV and went to work. THREE hours later I had all the stitching picked out! Whew!

FMQ Borders Slanted S

I decided to use a blending thread and even changed the design of the quilting in the sashing. I’m doing what I call a slanted “S”.  Here’s a bigger picture:

FMQ Slanted S

I like this soooo much better. I’ve only finished two rows of sashing, so this won’t be a finish for tomorrow.  But I’m so glad I followed my instincts and took the time to pick out all that stitching (my hubby thought I was cuckoo.) 🙂

So, what are your feelings about using variegated threads in your quilting? Maybe I need to start with a smaller project to get a feel for it? I’ve bought several spools/cones, so I’m going to have to find something to do with it!

Linking up with Needle & Thread Thursday.


About Beth

I'm a wife, mother of two, and lover of all things crafty. I love to cook up new things in the kitchen and in my craft room, and sometimes get "licking the spoon" mixed up with "licking the fabric"!!
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8 Responses to Variegated Thread – Yes? No?

  1. Sarah says:

    I have a very hard time finding good uses for variegated thread, and I’ve also spent numerous hours unpicking it!

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  3. I’ve only used it once, and I actually really liked it! I think it’s because the top I was quilting on was multiple shades of blue, white and gray (no solids), and the thread matched perfectly. With that quilt, variegated thread blended in much better than any solid would have. I have never used it on solids, but I think it would stand out more than I’m usually used to. I usually like my thread to blend in. Maybe try it on a quilt with no solids?
    I do like the quilting on this! I hate picking out quilting, too.

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  5. Susan says:

    When I had a longarm, I used variegated threads all the time. You have to have the right thread color, and the right length of variation, but sometimes it is the perfect choice. The bottom line is, though, you have to be the one who likes it. =)

  6. Joanna says:

    I’m still trying to learn and figure out the best thread choices with fabrics and I think in general I prefer to blend threads into the fabric since my quilting isn’t exceptional so I want to try and hide it lol. To be honest, I think I like the idea of variegated thread more than the execution of it (talking about my own sewing there, not what other super talented people can do).

    I have used variegated thread a few times : with Anna Maria Horner fabrics and black solids and a red/pink/blue thread: it looks great with the AMH but stands out on the black fabrics. I can live with it but sometimes I look at it and think “hmmm”, wishing I’d just used a black thread so it would hide in the plain fabric but then I suppose I’d risk black thread standing out in the AMH! However, I think the thread probably would have been better with a different quilting choice — I stippled this quilt.

    Another quilt used red grunge basics and Sweet water’s Road 15 line and I used a cream/orange/red thread. I don’t have the quilt anymore so can’t remember it close up but I think this worked fine as the thread really sunk into the red grunge, even the lighter parts of the thread. Plus it was about the third quilt I ever finished and back then I was too worried about my points and what not and I didn’t think about threads too much lol!

    Recently I used a dark green variegated thread on Basic Grey’s new line Fresh Cut which is very springy with its colours. The thread is probably too dark on the lighter and plain colours but blends really nicely in the busy and darker prints. BUT I do actually like it despite it standing out in some places because I did simple quilting.

    These two last ones that I’m more content with both were quilted very simply (in a crosshatch) so perhaps I just like variegated threads in simple quilting designs over dense ones.

  7. I love variegated thread but I don’t use it as often as I would like–I think you have to be kind of choosey. I am glad you are happy with the end result of picking and redoing–I do like it better with the redo also. The colors did match of course, but it was too busy. And your quilting–I am struggling to get as good as you!

  8. My feelings on variegated thread are: it depends! I use it a lot in quilt tops that don’t have any solid colors and lots of color changes in the quilt top. If I can find a variegated thread that matches the colors in the top and blends in some areas and stands out in others, it makes me happy to pull the colors together with the thread. Using a high contrast variegated thread in an opposing color area like you did? I would only do that if the goal was to really “see” the quilting, you know? Usually I am trying my best to blend it in, so I’m just trying to get something that gives textures and fades out of notice. So that’s how I use it, typically. 🙂

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