Family Plaid

My husband’s family is Scottish on his father’s side. His father, also named Walt, had a deep love for all things related to Scottish culture. Their family plaid is a sober green with thin blue and red lines.

When I made the quilt featured in this blog, my husband said, “Now, that’s our family plaid.” The name stuck. This is one of my favorite earlier art quilts.

In 2007, I took a design workshop with Vikki Pignatelli where she shared her method for doing curved piecing. Family Plaid came out of that class. While I don’t use Vikki’s technique for making curves today, I was very inspired by the three days I studied with her.

I had an idea for the quilting on Family Plaid, and I knew if it worked, I would go on to use it to design a whole cloth quilt.

I decided I would use a black fabric for the backing of the quilt, so that the stitching would show up clearly.

On the front of the quilt, I would match the thread as closely as I could to the actual fabric colors used to create the top. I selected 28 wt. Aurifil thread for all the quilting. This is my favorite thread for most of my quilts. It is very thick, so the quilting is highly visible . It has a beautiful sheen to it, and it comes in a bazillion colors. When I first started using Aurifil thread I only used the 28wt. Now, if I am doing a design that requires a lot of back tracking, I will use the 40wt. Or if I buy a new spool, I will usually buy 40wt. as you get more thread for your money.

I use the 50wt. for piecing. I do not have an association with Aurifil, but I do love their threads.

Purple and Pinks

Purple and Pinks

Reds, Oranges, and Browns

Reds, Oranges, and Browns

Greens and Yellows

Greens and Yellows

Blues, Grays, and Turquoises

Blues, Grays, and Turquoises

While Aurifil is lovely, it is very expensive. I want all the other colors, so I bought spools instead of cones. This handy little adapter allows me to uses spools on my longarm. You can purchase one at

While Aurifil is lovely, it is very expensive. I want all the other colors, so I bought spools instead of cones. This handy little adapter allows me to uses spools on my longarm. You can purchase one at Cindy Roth’s Long Arm University.

Early on in my quilting life, I had decided that for the most part all of my quilts would have all the colors in the color wheel represented.

At first, I didn’t let gray or brown into my color club. I thought they were boring. But then I realized no party is complete without a few wallflowers. Now brown, gray and I are close friends. Nothing makes me happeir than trying some crazy color combination and getting visually satisfying results.

Before gray and brown, I used eight primary colors (I know there are only six, but I needed more so I added two)- Purple, Pink, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Turquoise, and Blue. These colors, in pure hues, along with black and white were my standard palette for about five years.

Family Plaid was no exception. There are eight colors in Family Plaid. Which leads me to my final decision for quilting Family Plaid, which was to give each color its own quilting motif.

My hope was that by giving each color its own quilting motif, it would be just as colorful and exciting to look at a s the front. What do you think?

Here is the back side of Family Plaid.

Here is the back side of Family Plaid.

Another Close up

Another Close up

This entry was published on February 10, 2013 at 4:42 PM. It’s filed under Quilt Stories and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

10 thoughts on “Family Plaid

  1. The back is fabulous!!! Thanks for sharing.

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  3. I love Aurifil too and am totally jealous of your collection of colors!! 🙂 Family Plaid is just stunning and the whole idea for quilting is so inspirational. Back looks just stunning! Thank you for sharing!

    • Marja-

      The reason I have a very yummy collection of Aurifil thread is that I had the crazy good luck of finding a store that was going out of business and selling all of the Aurifil thread for half-price! Thank you for the positive feedback.

  4. Love the quilt and the name. sounds like granddad’s plaid is the same as my Dad’s hunter plaid. You see I was a McClure that married a McCormick. lol But I think your plaid could be just right for my family now.

  5. I thought the front of that quilt was gorgeous, but the back is stunning!!!! You have inspired me….and since I finished binding a quilt yesterday, today is a good day for new inspiration. Did you fuse the top together or is it pieced? Quilted on long or short arm? I’ve never had very good luck quilting with Aurifil, but perhaps I’ll give it another go. I’ve also never used thread as thick as 28wt….size 100 needle? Sorry to be picking your brain like this, but your quilt excites me.

    • Michele-

      Thank you for the questions. I am sorry I didn’t see them sooner. My tops are pieced out of the same fabric. I use a regular needle for the 28wt, but it takes a little bit of getting used to. The other day, I was trying to use Jean Stitch thread which is even thicker, and I switched to a Jean Stitch or a Top Stitch needle–both of them have large holes. I also use a straight stitch plate on my domestic machine which seems to help when using thick threads. I do most of my quilting on a Gammill Classic Plus, but I started out on a Bernina 1080. I hope this helps!

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