A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about some threads I’d received from a major manufacturer. I’m sure you could tell from my gushing that I love thread – to me it’s one of the essential components of my artists’ paint box. Well, it was another unexpected surprise that I should receive a comment on that post from Alex Vernonelli, the Marketing Director for Aurifil Threads (www.aurifil.com), offering to send me some of their threads for my enjoyment. So, after a few emails exchanged back and forth, and a guy from FedEx was knocking on my door trying to give me a package while I was trying to get into the shower. (Don’t care for that visual? I don’t blame you.)
All the way from Milan, Italy was a box containing samples of the various threads Aurifil offers in different weights ranging from 50/2 to 12/2. Now I will freely admit to you that one of the reasons I haven’t used Aurifil threads in my own applique is that they are two-ply. I’m married to three-ply so it would take a lot to get me away from that. Because I tug each stitch of my appliqué to get it to sink into the fabric…2-ply just hasn’t been strong enough. So, I honestly cannot say that I am head over heals in love with their cotton threads. (Sorry Alex! I warned you I’d be honest.) I know that many of my co-appliquists simply swear by them because they are very fine, and almost translucent. I’m just not a fan.
But, included in that box was a treasure that I’d never really seen or tried before. Included were some spools of Aurifil Lana wool threads for working wool appliqué. They are actually 50% wool and 50% acrylic and at 12/2 they aren’t as thick as pearl cotton but they seem quite strong because of the addition of the acrylic. And, with thread this thick I’m not so picky about it being two-ply. It seemed to glide right through the felted wool I tested.
I wasn’t in love with the color threads they sent me, but they did send me a color card so I know that nice colors are available. In fact, there is a collection of 12 country colors that Irish/French quilt designer Marianne Byrne has selected to coordinate with wool felt that are beautiful.
If you need further inspiration, Marianne has a book called Cinnamon Inspirations out that has patterns for several projects sewn with these threads. I happened to see a copy at Prairie Queens Quilt Shop (prairiequeensquilts.com), and am tempted to pick up a copy just to try some of the ideas.
So there you have it. Another tool for us to all experiment with. If you do wool applique, why don’t you tell us a little about the threads you prefer to use. California isn’t a real hot-bed of wool applique…I think it has something to do with the perennial spring like weather…but, I could be tempted. And, as Mr. Bennett would have said, if any other thread manufactuers want me to try out their threads…send them in; I’m quite at my leisure.