Sunday, December 4, 2022

Weekend Review: Color, Thread & Free-Motion Quilting


Color, Thread & Free-Motion Quilting / Teri Lucas
Lafayette, CA: C&T, c2020
95 p.

I'm interested in learning more about art quilt techniques so sometimes I do pick up a few books to explore topics in this area. This is one I found via my library system; it looks at how using colour enhances a project. Instead of just quilting a project in invisible/matched thread, she examines how using color can be another design element in your quilt.

It's a fairly short book, but the instructional tone is clear and the book is well structured. She shares a colour wheel and talks about colour selection, but also includes lots of photos and examples. And, instead of relying on theory, there is also a large section in the book about making your own colour wheel samples, so you'll get practical experience with how colours work together. Using different colours of ground cloth, she suggests stitching up a bunch of colours (and weights) of thread to practice and see the results in actual stitching rather than just laying a thread across a fabric and trying to estimate the results you will get. I think this is very useful advice, and learning by doing is usually that way that works best for me. 

I also appreciated a section on thread types and weights, why and when you might use them, and the proper needles to use for each -- there's even a handy chart to help you out. 

What I found didn't work as well with this book was the 36 quilting designs mentioned on the cover. They are square samples at the back, hand drawn, and are all pretty standard designs that anyone who has looked into this area before will already be familiar with. So if you want to learn about colour and thread, there is a lot here, but if you are just looking for some new designs, try another title. 

I also found the stitching in the samples to be very basic -- maybe that's an encouragement to those new to the practice, though, as they are not glistening finished pieces. They are clearly sample works made as references and are not attempting to be anything else. They are simple unfinished pieces that set an example to perfectionists that you must learn by doing. The goal here isn't perfect stitching, it is in the use of colour and how threads play differently with ground cloth. And that is shown very clearly. 

Anyhow, if this is an area that you feel that you need to explore, this is a good title to check out. I learned some tips that were new to me and really appreciated the focus on hands-on exploration. 


  1. Hi Melanie, I think with free motion quilting, you would have to feel very confident to be using a contrasting colour. I can see it can give a different look and could be a design feature, but every error will stand out! An interesting concept though.

    1. I agree, you'd have to be very confident and skilled to use the stitching as a design element! Free motion is hard - I am not quite as the point of using contrasting thread yet ;)


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