The Miniature in quilting

via Daily Prompt: Miniature

Many quilters make miniature quilts.  I tried this once and ended up with a pieced block that was very tiny and the half square triangles within ended up 1/4 of an inch.  There was more fabric on the back of the quilt than the front.  I made one and said that was a waste of my time.  For those of you who participate in this small craft, I can be your cheerleader and shout and shake my pom-poms and chant “Quilter, Quilter, she’s our man if she can’t do it no one can!”

On a more serious note, speaking of miniatures, I am thinking of a device in quilting and sewing that is so minute in size, but probably one of the most important tools we use every time we are at the machine.  Until recently I never gave this consumable much thought.  Give up?  Do you know the answer?  Thread, we all use it and it is very important when it comes to durability, color, and size.

I have a very nice hand-me-down sewing machine that is very accurate (thanks mom and dad).  And I noticed after sewing a block, the overall block measurements were supposed to be 10 by 10.  My blocks always came up short.  So, I got out the ruler and started taking measurements and found out that the needle to the foot guide is right on the money for accuracy.  So why was I having this problem?  The ever so important thread.  The choice I had made was a thicker quality thread, and I never realized that this was actually making my seam allowances a scant larger.  Several pieces in a block, that scant starts adding up.

I used to be someone who just would utilize whatever thread was on the machine regardless of color and sew away.  I now am a little more finicky about thread choice.  If I am sewing denim I probably want a thicker cotton thread, however in quilting the thread of choice is either Signature 100% cotton thread or some older discontinued thread by the name of Empeco which is also 100% cotton (this is no longer manufactured and I ended up with a huge bag of 1700 yard spools from a thrifty purchase at a quilters sale, incidentally this thread if it is the the right color will last me the rest of my life because there was so much for only $10).  My machine really likes to quilt with the Empeco thread but my piecing has the best accuracy with the Signature thread because the fiber weight is smaller.

Discontinued Empeco thread above (available on ebay) and Signature thread below

Even the miniature details in quilting can make or break a block whether it is piecing or quilting by machine or hand.  You might want to ask for advice about thread.  I feel uncomfortable about giving advice about little things like this, because they can have such a large impact on your project.  What I have found out for myself is, try many and figure out what is best for you and/or your machine.  Your machine knows what it likes, all you have to do is choose the color. 🙂

Carefully selected, this miniature item is one of the greatest assets in sewing and quilting.


4 thoughts on “The Miniature in quilting

  1. Great article! I agree 100%. Thread can make or break a quilt. I use cotton fabrics so I use cotton thread. We don’t have a huge range in Australia and I like to use Guterman for both machine piecing and hand quilting. Oh, and I love making miniature quilts and have done several.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s a really good point. I use pretty much what is to hand, but I love certain makes because they are so smooth – Mettler is my current favourite. I hadn’t thought much about seam allowances though. Great post.


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