Thread | Staff Blog


2 posts.

Pat Sloan – Behind the Scenes

I have such a wonderful time interviewing guests for our radio show, and sometime not all we chat about makes it onto the show! Here is another ‘Behind the Scenes’ with wonderful quilt designer Betsy Chutchian!

Betsy We all have parts of the process we ‘prefer’ more than others. What part of quilt making do you ‘Prefer’ most and why?

My favorite part is chosing the fabrics.  Once I have an inspiration, in this case a photo of an antique quilt, I LOVE the hunt for the right fabrics.  Sometimes the hunt begins with a particular piece of fabric, then I find the inspiration quilt and resume the hunt in the stash.
Here the look is soft and very old, early 1800′s.

Most of the fabrics are collections from Moda and Jo Morton for Andover…the fabric study could be called ‘Morton meets Moda’ but I threw in a Windham and a Blue Hill for good measure. The photograph is from the book, Calico and Chintz.  The type of quilt is what today would be termed a ‘blended quilt’.  Moda’s line ’Comfort’ served as the main fabric inspiration, the large scale brown fabric with rusty pink flowers.

With that piece, selecting the rest of the fabrics became really easy.  I started making nine patches and then from some leftover scraps , quickly pieced and quilted a little doll quilt.

What is your favorite item in your studio?
My favorite part is the desk-like sewing table and the wooden sewing machine bed.  My dad made both of these for me.  When I purchased a new machine a few years ago, I had to keep the same brand with the same size arm cutout in order to continue to use what he made for me.  If Pfaff ever changes the arm width, I’m in a heap of trouble.  Dad is is 92 and can’t work in the woodshop anymore.
If you could train with, or work with, or follow one person for a day.. who would it be and why?
Without hesitation, I would love to train or work with Barbara Brackman.  Even for one day, I could learn so much from her, concerning fabric history.  I own her books and  follow her blogs and love studying fabrics of the 19th Century, but reading about colors and printing styles are only good to a point. I would love to hear her say why this reproduction print, or that color, is totally inappropriate for an 1860′s quilt, for example, and then see her point to the right ones and tell me why they work.
Some fun questions for Betsy!

  • Current read –   I just finished The Help and have started 1000 White Women.  I don’t read as much as I would like.
  • Favorite movie – That is a hard choice.  My favorite is probably The Searchers  but To Kill a Mockingbird and Cold Mountainare also at the top of my list.
  • The Color you have always LOVED….. A better question might be what color do you NOT love!  Believe it or not, I love BROWN.  Brown complements everything and never competes for attention.  Besides, it is the color of chocolate, so what’s not to love?

If you have not listened to my interview with Betsy yet… CLICK HERE and listen to the Nov 28, 2011 show!

And listen EACH Monday at 4pm eastern for a new show with new guests. All shows are recorded so download the ones you missed!  See you Monday!

Your Radio Host Pat Sloan

Quilting Thread and Needle Sources

You’ll find a wealth of info at the Needle Education Center from Schmetz Needles. Learn the basic anatomy of a needle, download one of multiple guides for choosing needles and pairing them with appropriate fabrics, or browse a troubleshooting guide for common sewing machine problems.

Read the informative blog post from Sew, Mama, Sew! on choosing needles for your sewing machine. Then check out the rest of their tons of tutorials on other topics, from inserting a grommet to making kids’ clothes and fun stuff for your home.

Read Coats & Clark’s recommendations for fabric/thread/needle combinations in their downloadable Thread Advisor. Also check out the Quilting Advisor on the Star Threads site (and see all the yummy color combos of Star multicolor quilting threads!).

Take free online classes and download free hand embroidery designs for a variety of hand stitching techniques from Caron, makers of Wildflowers, Waterlilies, and other gorgeous hand-dyed decorative threads.

Read info about Superior Threads products, including King Tut and Bottom Line machine-quilting threads, plus see their new titanium-coated needles. An extensive education section has lots of downloadable guides. And check out the School of Threadology in St. George, Utah, where you can take classes to trouble-shoot problems with threads and experiment with multiple specialty threads.
General site:

YLI, makers of threads for sewing, quilting, embellishment and more, including gorgeous collections by Laura Heine, Diane Gaudynski, Luana Rubin, and McKenna Ryan. Scroll down to download the Thread of Truth brochure, a comprehensive guide to thread, including a history and glossary.


Visit these other thread company sites to learn about their threads and download available thread colors.

American & Efird
U.S. importer of Mettler threads and makers of Robison-Anton and Signature Machine Quilting.

Aurifil USA
Italian makers of thread, including the ultra-fine Cotton Mako’ 50, a fine but strong thread that won’t take up extra room in your seams.

Visit their Creative Corner to download info about Gütermann threads and free projects that have a funky European style.

Kreinik Manufacturing
Metallic, silk, and iron-on threads.


Sew Art International
Try their invisible nylon quilting thread.

Sue Spargo Folk-Art Quilts
Source of wool, cotton, and silk threads in Sue’s signature folk-art colors.

Info about their products plus an Ask Sulky section that has some machine quilting tips and troubleshooting advice on needle breakage.

Valdani Threads
Beautiful hand-dyed threads for hand and machine sewing.

Weeks Dye Works
Hand-dyed perle cotton, floss, and sewing thread (not to mention their wonderful hand-dyed wool!). The No. 3 perle cotton is thicker than usual so it really stands out on your hand-stitched projects.

WonderFil Specialty Threads

More notions company sites to visit:
Hand- and machine sewing needles.

Clover Needlecraft
Among their wide variety of notions are hand sewing needles.

Colonial Needle
Hand- and machine sewing needles, needle organizers, and more.

A guide for choosing Singer sewing machine needles.