The fifth in my series Sewing Tools of Note is written in praise of neutrals… When I first started out with sewing and quilting, I thought the trick was to try and match my thread to the fabric pretty exactly. And while it is, definitely, really good fun to use colourful matching and sometimes contrasting threads, I was stumped when it came what on earth to do with multi-coloured fabrics and when quilting patchwork with lots of different colours.
I can’t remember how I found out about using neutral coloured threads… maybe someone took me quietly aside and explained it in words of one syllable…! But now they’re the threads I turn to all the time. Dark cream, pale beige, pale grey, dark grey, khaki green…. hmm, maybe they are a little bit pedestrian, but you really can’t beat them for usefulness and versatility. Here’s a couple of my recent projects where I’ve used dark cream to handle a wide variety of colourful fabrics:
and pale grey to cope with the contrast of the pale background and the bright patchwork motifs:
I am so pleased to tell you that today I have sets of beautiful neutral quilting threads from the fabulous Empress Mills
(a brilliant place to stock up on all sorts of sewing necessities, especially waddings, interfacings, threads, and they have lovely fabrics too) to give away to 2 lucky winners!
Christine, who is clearly a thread guru at Empress Mills (she has worked with threads for 40 years!) tells me that she sometimes watches as people browse their stand at shows. They are fascinated and almost beguiled by the sheer range of types, consistencies, thickness and sheen of the threads available.
People always ask first about the threads’ suitability for the type of stitching they have in mind – hand or machine work, quilting, overlocking, embroidery, tailoring etc., but the next question is always about shade.
Unbleached – the ecru shade of natural cotton – Christine says they call it, ‘curtain lining colour’!
Grey – not dark, not light, somewhere rather moodily in the middle.
Sage – a very mellow green.
Christine tells me that they are the most popular purchases because they are wonderful blenders – they go across most designs and merge into the background on fabrics – such a useful trait!
Giveaway prize and rules
I have two sets of three 1,000m reels of 50 weight quilting cotton (100% cotton) in Grey, Sage and Unbleached to give away.
To be in with a chance of winning one of these sets, just leave a comment on this blog post – you are free to just say ‘pick me’, but if you want to tell me your best sewing tip or tool, then please do!
Entries from the UK only please (sorry to overseas readers!).
I will do the draw on Sunday 17 July, in the evening, so any entry before then will be included in the draw.
P.S. I’m also giving away a set on Facebook too
, if you want another chance…