Juki TLQVP Mini Main Blog

The Red Thread – A Japanese Folk Tale

Everyone’s little finger is tied to an invisible red thread, according to an ancient Japanese legend. The red thread will lead us to another person; someone we are destined to meet and make history with.

For the Japanese, human relationships are guided by a red thread that the gods tie to the little fingers of those who find each other in life. Legend tells that the people connected by this thread will share in the enacting of an important story that cannot be thwarted by time, place or circumstance. The thread may get tangled or stretched but it will never break. The scarlet connection is not necessarily romantic or limited to couples, the tie extends out towards all those significant and perhaps seemingly insignificant others that make up the story of our lives. Our red threads could connect us to a great friend, a teacher, business associate or mentor. We are all part of a scarlet tapestry. The red threads are given at birth but we weave them together ourselves.

I’ve chosen to use birds to illustrate this lovely story. Two prints come from the Heartwood collection by Makower UKSongbird and Swallows both in blue.

The other theme fabric comes from the Bluebird collection of Cotton and Steel, a Japanese fabric manufacturer. It’s called Flock in indigo.


First, I stitched together a little practice piece featuring the lovely bird fabrics. Then I backed it with a blue fleece fabric and loaded it on our Machine Quilter frame. Using a quilting frame transforms the needle of my JUKI TL QVP Mini sewing machine into a pen. I loaded the lockstitch machine with a lovely red variegated thread from the Fantastico range called Bullfighter red #5102

The smooth movement of the quilting frame carriage allowed me to draw the red thread connecting the birds destined to meet from beak to beak. I made sure to leave a bit of thread dangling so it looked like the bird was really gripping it. It was fun to make the threads stretch and tangle but never break. One of my happiest connections are the many and varied ties to my quilting friends. This little project is a thank you for all the ways you inspire and encourage me.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *