Red & White with Love

Mary made this beautiful red and white sampler quilt and is planning on giving it to someone very special.  I’m not sure when she’s giving it to him, so I’m not saying who right now.  It may look like there is pink in there, but there’s not.  The outside triangles are just a red and white blender fabric; very much red with some white contrast.  And, the plain blocks in the middle are very much white with some red contrast.

You can tell how large this quilt is by how it hangs on the design wall.

Mary wanted simple and traditional quilting on this, to include piano key borders and some feathers that don’t look too “girly.”  In the following pictures you can see the blender fabrics a little better, so you’ll see more clearly the distinct red and white.


I didn’t get too creative with the quilting, but I couldn’t resist adding some spools of thread.

And, at this point, I am stuck and cannot show you any more pictures here. Once again, my website is having a break-down with loading pictures.  My computer is running very slowly today, or maybe it’s the internet on my computer that is running slowly – I think the fact that it’s running slowly is the problem.  In any case, I’ve been working on this post for several hours now, and I give up.  You can find the rest of the pictures on my Flickr site here.

I have a question for you as I sign off.  When I did all my machine quilting on my domestic sewing machine, I matched the bobbin thread to the color of my backing fabric.  I did not and do not have any problems with my domestic machine, and if I do, they are super easy for me to fix.  However, on my quilting machine, I fight with the tension all the time.  I use the same size bobbin (L, the small one for longarms – you’d think if I used a larger bobbin I might have this problem, but not with a smaller bobbin) in my longarm as I do on my domestic machine.  However, the tension in the bobbin on my longarm will start out tight and by the end of the bobbin, the tension is loose.  That’s just the way it works.  I don’t know if that’s an issue with my particular brand, but I do know that almost all of my friends who have longarms have problems with their tension.

So, years back in my professional quilting, I decided to just use the same color thread in the top and in the bobbin.  Otherwise, I’ll get little dots of contrasting color peeking through on both sides where the needle pokes the layers of the quilt.  This way, if the thread colors are the same, they will blend better.

I’ve had a couple of quilts where the backing fabric is such a contrasting color to the thread color, though, that it has me wondering just how important it is to customers to have bobbin thread color to match the back of their quilts. Mary’s quilt was one such quilt.  She wanted red on the red pieces of the quilt blocks and white on the white pieces of the quilt top.  And, she used white fabric for the backing.  The red really contrasted with that white backing.  If I had used white bobbin thread, there would be little white dots showing up on the red fabric in the quilt top and little red dots showing up on the white backing fabric.  My fear is that people would look at it and think it is a mistake.  Yes, I should be able to get that tension perfect and have it perfect throughout the quilt.  But, so far, I haven’t been able to do so on my longarm machine.

So, my question for you is… It’s YOUR quilt.  Which is more important to you as the customer?  Is it more important for the bobbin thread to match the backing fabric?  Or, is more important to not have little dots of color on each side?

Author: cowtownquilts

Professional longarm quilter and thread artist in the Kansas City area.

4 thoughts on “Red & White with Love”

  1. I would rather have the bobbin thread match the backing. The little dots of color don’t bother me because the color used for the backing should have been used in the front so it will blend in. The little dots of color look like pattern in the fabric.

  2. I use two layers of batting if I am going use a different thread in bobbin. It works! No color poking through.

    1. Hmm…. hadn’t thought of that. Do you warn your customers beforehand that the quilt will need an extra layer of batting? And, are your customers okay with the extra layer?

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