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City Threads - Island Batik And Aurifil Threads March Challenge

This month's Island Batik challenge was to use Aurifil's Color Builder box. There are 12 boxes in all that represent an Italian city. In each box, a collection of three threads are included. In this box, the three threads included are 2600, 2610 and 5004. All are shades of grey and 50 wt threads. I also used complimentary Aurifil threads including, 40wt 2625, 50wt 2692, 28wt 4060 and 12wt 6724. I thought that the Graphix fabric collection would work perfectly with these threads. I also used two fabrics from Island Batik's foundation line. These fabrics and threads complimented each other well.

Per questa sfida, Io ho fatto un progetto di la città di Milano. Io ho usato tessuti di Isola Batik e filo di Aurifil. Io ho trovato differenti edifici che sono importante a il città. Ci sono nuovo e vecchio edifici. Io ho voluto usato questi a rappresentare la città. Tre fili stanno usato, the Aurifil Thread Builders. Ogni edificio è molto differente. Loro tutti dicono loro propria storia. Loro sono tutti magnifico.

I chose the city of Milan. I have never been to Milan but would like to visit it someday. I have been to several cities in Italy including, Rome, Venice, Syracuse and parts of the Amalfi coast. It is a beautiful country with so many wonderful areas to visit.

My family's heritage comes from Italy near southern Italy in two areas, the Foggia Provence and Sicily. Because of this, I have been studying Italian for several years now, but continue to study because it is not very good. I enjoy learning the language and continue to learn more so that when I return, I can converse with others the best I can. I will be returning to Italy this September for a language immersion program in Bari, Italy. I can't wait to go!

For my project, I decided to make a cityscape of the most iconic buildings in Milan. These buildings consisted of towering skyscrapers and historic buildings combined. I researched the city and found out that it is a major financial center, textiles manufacturing area and fashion capital of Italy. This city contains so much history and is modern as well as innovative. One very important fact to note, Aurifil thread's factory is based in Milan. They have been manufacturing thread since 1983. Not to mention, I love their thread!

As I researched, I looked up the most recognizable buildings that the city is known for. I found many pictures and photos. I chose several buildings old and new. Listed below are the buildings I chose to include in my project. Some vocabulary to note: torre=tower (skyscraper), Duomo=Cathedral (church), Porta Nuova=New Door and Bosco Verticali=Vertical Forest. Each building is listed from left to right.

  • Teatro La Scala (top row left)

  • Torre Velasca (top row 2nd)

  • Torre Pirelli (top row 3rd)

  • Torre PWC(top row right)

  • Torre Generali (middle row left)

  • Porta Nuova (Bosco Verticali) (middle row 2nd)

  • Torre Unicredit (middle row 3rd)

  • Torre Allianz (middle row right)

  • Torre Diamanté (bottom row left)

  • San Carlo al Corso (bottom row middle)

  • Duomo di Milano (bottom row right)


  • Aurifil threads

  • Batik fabric

  • Hobbs 100% Cotton Heirloom batting and Hobbs 100% Wool batting

  • Pellon Wonder Web 807

  • Schmetz Microtex Needles 90/14

  • Sewing machine, rotary cutter, cutting mat, quilting ruler and free motion gloves

I chose all black/gray fabrics from the Graphix line. I decided to build the cityscape using basic shapes that would represent each building. The building shapes were labeled. I cut out the shapes according to height as much as possible but knew that this quilt would still be a representation of the buildings but not exact. I wanted the architecture to have a sketch like quality so I did free motion embroidery, free motion quilting and thread painting over the basic shapes to make them recognizable or identifiable. I fused the pieces to the top of the quilt. I layered the quilt with the backing and two pieces of Hobbs batting (100% cotton heirloom and 100% wool batting). I used two pieces of batting to allow for loft of the white backing fabric against the cityscape.

I appliqùed each piece using Pellon 807 Wonder Web. This is a fusible web or glue adheres one piece of fabric to another. I used it so that my pieces could be appliquéd easier. The following pictures show the fusible web on the back side of a piece of fabric. I am also using a blanket stitch to attach the fused lettering to the quilt.

Once each building was fused on, I studied the pictures to try to free motion embroider or thread paint details that were identifiable to each building. To do this, I used a free motion or darning foot, dropped my feed dogs, used a Microtex Schmetz Needle 90/14, lowered my tension and started to design with thread.

Each building had different features that I could draw to make it recognizable to those that know the city. I also added 12wt thread to the edges of the historic buildings in the foreground so that they would stand out. I wanted to give the illusion of dimension by putting the skyscrapers or torri in the back and the historic buildings in the front. Lastly, I added the moon to give a bit of balance to the piece and when a city is viewed under moonlight, it is so pretty.

Thread painting or free motion embroidery/free motion quilting can take a while but given time it can be a wonderful piece to add to your collection of quilts. I thoroughly enjoyed making this piece and learned a lot about Milan. The Duomo di Milano had the most detail and was very ornate. I free motion embroidered the most iconic features to show its beauty. My rendition is, of course a sketch and not nearly as detailed as these buildings are in real life.

I really enjoyed using this fabrics, threads, needles and batting. Thank you to Aurifil, Hobb's Batting, Schmetz Needles and of course Island Batik for sponsoring this blog and providing these wonderful supplies.

My fellow ambassadors have some very cool quilts, so check out their blogs too.

Brenda Alburl ~ Songbird Designs Megan Best ~ Bestquilter Pamela Boatright ~ Pamelaquilts Elizabeth DeCroos ~ Epida Studio Jennifer Fulton ~ Inquiring Quilter

Preeti Harris ~ Sew Preeti Quilts Mania Hatziioannidi ~ Mania for quilts Jane Hauprich ~ Stitch By Stitch Custom Quilting Reed Johnson ~ Blue Bear Quilts Connie Kauffman ~ Kauffman Designs

Emily Leachman ~ The Darling Dogwood Denise Looney ~ For The Love Of Geese Leah Malasky ~ Quilted Delights Maryellen McAuliffe ~ Mary Mack Made Mine Anorina Morris –

Lisa Pickering ~ Lisa’s Quilting Passion Claudia Porter ~ Create with Claudia Gail Renna ~ Quilt Haven Threads Brianna Roberts ~ Sew Cute And Quirky Michelle Roberts ~ Creative Blonde

Gail Sheppard ~ Quilting Gail Andi Stanfield ~ True Blue Quilts Sandra Starley ~ Textile Time Travels Jennifer Thomas ~ Curlicue Creations Suzy Webster ~ Websterquilt

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Songbird Designs
Songbird Designs
Mar 26, 2022

This is awesome, Brianna!


Jennifer Thomas
Jennifer Thomas
Mar 26, 2022

This is stunning, Brianna! At first look I thought it was all cut from Island Batik solid black. The different blacks in the Graphix collection add even more dimension to the fabulous stitching details!!! I love what you did so much. Have a great weekend.

Brianna Roberts
Brianna Roberts
Mar 26, 2022
Replying to

Thank you 😊


Wow! You did a fabulous job. I loved reading about your city too.

Brianna Roberts
Brianna Roberts
Mar 26, 2022
Replying to

Thank you ❤️

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