All Thread!

April 23, 2013 at 2:14 am 21 comments

All thread-deep- I’ve been bowling again and having so much fun! I’ve always wanted to try  “thread painting” a clothesline bowl, so I did! I made two and I’m really pleased with the way they turned out. (Click each image to see it larger.)

I hate to tell you that you don’t need my PowerWraper, or my hand-dyed clothesline to make this bowl.  All you need is cotton clothesline and a boatload of thread.

That's a lot of bobbins!Here are just some of the bobbins I emptied making two “thread painted” bowls.

I started with a 100-foot length of clothesline and a 3,000-yard spool of variegated cotton thread (30 weight) which I used as the “top” thread for the entire project.

I zigzagged the clothesline from one end to the other three times emptying a dozen or more bobbins with leftover thread on them from all sorts of projects. Some had just a few yards, others were full. I reloaded about 10 more spools from spools of thread that were at least three-quarters gone. I couldn’t believe how much thread that clothesline ate!

All Thread-ShallowThen, I cut the line in half and make two medium-sized bowls. They measures  about 8″ in diameter and roughly 3.5″ tall.  Here’s the second one.

When I coiled and zigzagged the bowls together I kept the bobbin thread somewhat consistent. I used a variegated blue for the bowl first bowl pictured which gave me a lighter inside and a darker outside. I’m loving the two-toned bowl idea, something else I’ve been wanting to experiment with more.

All Thread-Shallow-bottomI also used the same blue bobbin for the sides of the second bowl. I used a variegated orange/pink/green thread in the bobbin for the bottom of the bowl.  It kind of reminds me of my Revere-ware copper bottom pots in the kitchen. You know, the ones I never use.

Prepping the line.And, because I’m really hoping the weather warms up (and dries out) so I can dye the first batch of clothesline of the season (and the underpants) I started prepping the rope. It won’t be long now!

Meanwhile, I’ll be teaching the Fabric BOWLing workshop for the Sunbonnet Sue Quilt Club in Sequim, Washington on April 25th. There are still a few spaces left.  Check for more details.

Ami Simms


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A Diversion With Bubble Wrap & Duct Tape May Newsletter

21 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Marie Kudej  |  April 23, 2013 at 7:20 am

    They look as good online as in person. I can’t wait to try this. I was amazed at how fast you did this.

    • 2. Ami Simms  |  April 23, 2013 at 6:50 pm

      What did it take? 90 minutes?

  • 3. Phyllis Y  |  April 23, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Wow, those are gorgeous! What a beautiful way to use up old thread. Thanks for the inspiration, Ami!

    • 4. Ami Simms  |  April 23, 2013 at 6:50 pm

      You’re welcome!!

  • 5. Jean  |  April 23, 2013 at 10:07 am

    They are beautiful bowls. I just don’t have the patience/thread to devote to such a project.

    • 6. Ami Simms  |  April 23, 2013 at 6:51 pm

      Way less investment than a quilt…..I’m just saying…..

  • 7. Ann Wray  |  April 23, 2013 at 11:42 am

    wow Ami it is so lovely!!

  • 9. jean whiteaker  |  April 23, 2013 at 11:53 am

    I am so bummed — I lived in Seattle area for 5.5 years and you never came — now that I’m back in Nebraska, you are in Sequim — hope the lavender plants are blooming and you enjoy!

    • 10. Ami Simms  |  April 23, 2013 at 6:49 pm

      The lilacs are blooming for sure. Check out my video:

      • 11. Ami Simms  |  April 23, 2013 at 6:49 pm

        And I think I’ll be in Nebraska this year!

  • 12. Loretta  |  April 23, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Ami, you never cease to amaze me! I just finished my first “bowl” using your PowerWrapper ~fantastic tool! ~ and now I’ll HAVE to make one with variegated thread :)

    • 13. Ami Simms  |  April 23, 2013 at 6:48 pm

      First you gotta send me a picture of you’d bowl so I can brag on you a little! :).

      Amisimms at AOL.

  • 14. Chris Whittington  |  April 23, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    I’m intrigued! I’ve been making the fabric strip coiled clothesline bowls but this is the first I’ve seen this technique. Your bowls are beautiful, I love your finish scrolling, and it looks like they are nice and firm (ridgid). Many of the fabric strip bowls I’ve seen tend to droop. I twist mine tightly when I wrap the fabric. Does the 3x zig zag compensate enough or do you have some other hint or secret for achieving a tight firm bowl? I’m going to have to give this a try!!
    Almost giddy thinking about using up all those bits of bobbin thread
    : > )

    • 15. Ami Simms  |  April 23, 2013 at 6:47 pm

      The tighter the zigzag when you coil and stitch, the more rigid the bowl.

      It’s was way fun, just wind a boatload of bobbins!

  • 16. Diana Theiss  |  April 23, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    I LOVE your bowls! I’ve tried my hand at this with fabric strips (Like Chris W. above) I agree about the beautiful scrolled detail…gorgeous. What stymies me is the stiffness of the new clothesline…tough on needles. I think I need to soak or weather the line before I use it. I’ve also used old clothesline…recycled it so to speak. I wish you were local..I’d take a class in a heartbeat!

    • 17. Ami Simms  |  April 23, 2013 at 10:38 pm

      Check the clothesline I offer on my website:

      It’s 100% cotton. Not sure what you are using, but a 90 needle is essential.

      As for not being local: have quilts, will travel. Check my teaching schedule at

  • 18. Jennifer S.  |  April 23, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    When you zig-zag onto the rope, does it go over the edges or stay “within” the rope?

    • 19. Ami Simms  |  April 23, 2013 at 10:33 pm

      The zigzag has to hit BOTH pieces of clothesline otherwise you can’t get them to stay together. I have a tutorial here on my crocheted rims that will also show you how to sew the clothesline.

  • 20. Fran D.  |  April 24, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    I have a quick question. When you first zig zag on the clothsline, does the needle pierce the rope? Or does it straddle It? I know when you make the bowl that the needle goes from one rope to the one beside it, but I am confused as to how you first put the thread on to the rope. Looks like a fun way to make a bowl and would be faster than wrapping. Fran D.

    • 21. Ami Simms  |  April 25, 2013 at 11:13 pm

      My machine pierces the clothesline, but I’m sure there are machines that have a wide enough zigzag that the needle would not pierce the clothesline. I think either way would be acceptable.


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