My tree quilt is in danger of becoming a UFO, because I'm not sure my quilting skills are good enough to really quilt it the way I want to. Partly to procrastinate on the boring steps of piecing a back and basting, I sewed a quick sample to test the threads and patterns for the quilting. Usually I just dive into projects, but I was really glad I took the time to do this test piece, because I learned a lot.
Here's my sample, quickly pieced from scraps from the top. I tested these threads:
Coates and Clark Polyester- yellow
Mettler Silk Finish Cotton- variegated gray
Aurifil Cotton, 50 wt- blue
Superior Threads Glitter - gold
Superior Threads metallics- blue
Superior Threads silk- light green
In general, I prefer polyester and metallic. The cotton just didn't look as nice. I had thought that variegated thread would be fun, but actually it just seemed to highlight tension problems on the back, because it is impossible for the top and bottom threads to match, because they both keep changing!
I was pleasantly surprised by how easy the metallic and glitter threads were. I followed the manufacturer's instructions and reduced the upper tension to 1 (usually I set it around 3 for polyester thread). A 90/14 topstitching needle is recommended, but I all I had was a 90/14 universal. I used Bottom Line thread in the bobbin, and the biggest problem was visible holes on the back.
I thought the silk thread looked the best on the back, partly because the color blended in well with the backing fabric, but also because of its light weight mistakes are harder to see.
Here, the feather itself is quilted with silk, the clamshells in the top right have Bottom Line in the bobbin, and the stippling in the upper right and bottom left are cotton.
Here are some patterns I think I'll use:
Pebbling: It can be time consuming, but I really like how it fills in the gaps around other motifs.
I'm linking up to Leah Day's UFO Sunday. Hopefully by next Sunday I'll have the back pieced!