Friday, December 12, 2014

Quilting Thread By Hand or Machine

Welcome to the confusing world of thread!  Choosing a thread is like choosing a car or new sewing machine.  You need to test and try to see what works for you and for your machine.  Have you noticed your sewing machine has a taste for some threads and not others?  Do you know which brand of thread works for your hand sewing and glides easily through your machine?  I think I could blog every day for a month and still not talk about everything we need to know about thread.

The best advice is to choose the best quality thread you can afford that fits the need of the sewing job you are working on.  Bob from Superior thread says a good quality polyester thread does as little damage as a good quality cotton while a poor quality polyester thread does as much damage as a poor quality cotton.

Different quilting machines, both  longarm and midarm machines, will work best with different threads.  Tim uses King Tut on the top most of the time.  In the bobbin, he uses a lighter weight thread like Masterpeice, cotton, or Bottom Line, polyester .  All of these are by Superior Threads.  His longarm works best with the variegated King Tut but breaks more often with the solid colours.  He could use the same thread in the bobbin but he would be winding bobbins frequently so lighter weight thread in solid colours work in the bobbin, balancing well with the heavier top thread.  He tested some other brands in the top but they just broke and proved to be very frustrating.

When machine piecing, the weight of the thread can make a difference.  If you are sewing together many points, a lighter weight thread takes up less space in the seam allowances.  It is amazing what a difference it makes.

We have carried Wonderfil lines of thread for awhile.  Tim uses DecoBob in the bobbin since it is a strong thin thread.  It is polyester and a great blender.  Wonderfil is a Canadian company so the cost is   lower than other threads.

Spagetti is a 12 wt hand quilting weight cotton thread by Wonderfil.  It comes in solid colours and can be used in a machine with a larger needle.  I have used it for hand quilting and embroidery (in place of 12 wt perle cotton).  This year we added Fruitti.  It is also a 12wt Egyptian cotton thread but is variegated and comes in 41 colours.

Quilters need 4 basic colours of thread for piecing: light beige, dark beige, light gray and dark gray.  The beige colours are used with earth tones and the grays with jewel tones.  Since seams are usually pressed to one side and the stitch is shorter than usual (about 2.0) because there is no backstitching, you should not see the thread most of the time.  If you want to see the binding stitch I was taught, those are the only thread colours you need for stitching the binding down too.

So, I guess, you should become a thread collector and tester.  If your family is looking for stocking stuffers for you, suggest thread.  Or come to the sale we are having after Christmas and choose a few types to try.

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