Machine Quilting & Thread–Part III

photo of image from the book with permission from Diane Gaudynski


I wish I could say this was my machine quilting, but you all know that would be an obscene lie.  In my replies to many of the comments I have mentioned, on several occasions, the work and teaching skill of Diane Gaudynski.   Her work is without peer and as a teacher she is not only a talented instructor, but a very successful one for very good reason.  Almost every quilt I see in the top shows and the top prizes have her influence (and many of her designs) all over them.  As far as I am concerned, if you want to learn machine quilting and learn it correctly, she is the teacher and source bar none.  Her classes fill immediately so you need to sign up as soon as the bell rings.

When Pat brought up the silk thread in the comments, I knew I had to cover this as well and also give a shout out to Diane and include a bit more pertinent information on machine quilting threads and purpose.   If you have been keeping up with me and reading my blog regularly, you know how I believe that one tool does not fit all when it comes to applique.  I also think this holds true for other techniques as well.  When working on a project, I am continually asking myself, “how do I want to approach this?” and “what is the best method to achieve the desired result?”. 

I believe there are choices to be made dependent upon what I want to achieve in machine quilting as well.  Do I want to do detailed highly elegant designs where there are many ‘crossovers’ in quilting the design? or do I want to do supportive machine quilting where there is not a lot of intricate quilting and maybe a crossover here and there?  My thread choices are dependent upon the answers to these questions and a few others.

Diane recommends and uses the YLI silk thread size 100 to create her unique elegant style of quilting and was the first to discover the benefits of using silk thread for quilting this unique style of hers and everyone else followed.  If you look at the image above from her book, Quilt Savvy: Gaudynski’s Machine Quilting Guidebook,


you can see how detailed and intricate her quilting is and why the #100 silk really adds to the effect.  If you used a larger weight thread it could look like masses of piled up thread nests and definitely not look very attractive.  Thread choice is really important when determining what style and the amount of quilting you are going to pursue for your project.

In my previous blog examples, the quilting has been more of a supportive nature and not intricate so the Superior Highlights and King Tut worked well and looked fabulous to me.  However, If I were to do the intricate quilting ala Diane, I would definitely consider the #100 silk as a leading choice. 


Diane's Line of YLI silk threads
Diane's Line of YLI silk threads


I would not presume to teach Diane’s methods, so if you cannot take a class or get into one of her classes,  it would be money well spent to get her books, or better yet, do both.  These are the machine quilting bibles if you really want to learn how to machine quilt well.  I have both and they are heavily used and I refer to them often not only for great instruction, but also for the loads of incredible inspiration she provides.


The Classic Reference
The Classic Reference


Play with a variety of threads and take notes on your experiences with them.  Try different styles of quilting to build your creative repertoire.  The fun is always in the discovery don’t you think?

 ©2009 Sandra Leichner