Thread Experiments


This project had to be mostly done by Thursday night because we left Friday for a big family wedding weekend. My initial thought was to quilt lines that would echo the shapes of the sand dunes in the background, but I knew this would be difficult to do well.


But then I thought of the mysteries of Egypt and hieroglyphs and developed a kind of personal symbolic language to cover the entire background. I enjoy improvising these shapes and can quickly flow them around the odd negative spaces left by the main characters in this quilt.

I wanted to use King Tut thread on the right of the sample for the obvious reason, but opted for the more subtle effect of a lighter-weight variegated thread on the left.

hieroglyphs3.jpg It often takes several test samples to find the variegated thread that will optimize the play between the background pattern and the stitching.


The Great Sphinx of Giza is something didn’t think to include until late in the game. In Egyptian mythology, a sphinx is half man and half lion with eagle wings. I thought it would be nice to give him some cat-eye glasses although I don’t know how they would stay up since he’s been missing a nose for over 600 years. When I found this painting of Napoleon and the Sphinx, it reminded me that in the 1700’s, the Great Sphinx was just a head in the sand, until someone decided to dig down a little deeper.

7 thoughts on “Thread Experiments”

  1. Thanks for the encouragement Tami. I guess PBS just ran that show again, because I started getting some emails from West coast family!

  2. This is gonna be a spectacular quilt! I just love PaMdora as an Egyptian food pharoah. LOL … Oh, and I just wanted to let you know that I flipped on the tv a few minutes ago and caught your segment from PBS’s “The Art of Quilting”. It was so much fun to see you work on your quilts in the studio. I keep thinking that they’re smaller pieces and am surprised each time that I get the actual reference to sizes. 🙂


  3. Lots of different kinds of thread – mostly solids in Sulky and Mettler, but for this background Sulky’s Blendables. I like King Tut a lot, but it’s a heavier thread for more dramatic look. My friend really like Valdani hand-dyes, so I bought some but haven’t gotten around to using it for a project yet.

  4. Somehow as usual, this one got away from me. I meant to make something do-able in the time left, but it got bigger than I realized, and then suddenly it was a really big one. That’s why the sudden need to find an efficient way to quilt it!

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