Topics of Interest & Tips

Threads of Many Colors and Fibers Too!

Which is the right one to use when and why do we offer what we offer?

Recent Question: "Is the Aurifil thread 100% cotton - you have a new thread that is 100% poly, and you recommend it highly, yet all of the quilting instructors are saying use 100% cotton. I have been using Gutterman, which is 100% poly -- stopped using Coats & Clark. What am I to do regarding thread? Your comments please."

Good question! We, too, have always heard and agreed that using 100% cotton thread was the best thing for cotton quilts. Now, with quilts being used in more ways, we find quilters are willing to use other threads for a variety of reasons and so are we. Quilts are no longer used just for bedding, so not every quilt made has to endure many washings and hard use. The polyester and rayon threads allow us to get new elements into the quilting, but they aren't for every situation. Decorative stitching can be added to make the quilt prettier, more interesting or fun or a piece of art. Thread painting and machine embroidery has become very popular among crafters and artists alike.

In general, we almost always use cotton for piecing, whether by hand or machine. If there are lots of tiny pieces, like there would be in Paula Nadelstern's Kaleidoscope blocks, then we love our 100% Cotton Fine Thread (120 weight) for machine piecing. It reduces the bulk in the seam allowance. For piecing quilts with larger pieces or quilts that will receive more wear, we love 100% Cotton Mettler - 50 weight 3-ply. It now comes in 54 variegated colors too, ideal for machine quilting, machine embroidery and other effects.

The 100% Cotton Aurifil 50 weight 2-ply is good for peicing too, but it is a 2 ply so it isn't as strong as the Mettler 3-ply. To us that is still the utilitarian thread. So, we still use the Aurifil 50 weight 2-ply somewhat selectively, depending on the wear the quilt will receive. We do love how clean it leaves our machine and the very fact that it is lighter weight makes it also reduce bulk. This lighter weight is also wonderful for machine and hand applique, as well as machine quilting.

When we took a thread painting class locally, we noticed the Aurifil had the ability to absorb more light and therefore produced more beautiful motifs. It was far superior to any of the other cottons being used which were duller, but, of course, even it doesn't have the brilliance of the rayon and metallics and NOW gorgeous trilobal polyesters - the newest addition to our thread family - more below.

The Invisifil is whole new generation. When Harriet Hargraves introduced Heirloom Machine quilting - 25 years ago, some quilters didn't take to it right away because of the monofilament thread. Now, with Invisfil, we will see a whole new generation of machine quilters. Also, for machine applique it takes very close inspection to find it at all. Since machine embroidery, by its nature produces bulk, using Invisifil in the bobbin will make the end result much lighter and softer. Its light weight and soft texture and color choice is so superior to what has been previously available, the results will be noticeable. It is dreamy and we won't have the problems sewing with it we have had with the monofilament either. We thought we would see it replace monofilament altogether until we disvoered Madeira 60 weight Monofilament. Oh my, it is nice. It too has been added to our thread family.

Although we hadn't planned to machine piece with the 100% Polyester InvisiFil, co-worker, Carol Mitchell is and now our local applique quild is using it for hand and machine applique. Carol is an Art Quilter and says when she irons her sewn piece, it is totally flat and she loves it. She also said using it in the top and bottom of her machine was a bit tricky. She had to lower her tension from 4.5 to 2.5 and found that it would stretch. Stretching is a problem with monofilament.

After taking a class from machine art quilter Barbara Shapel and seeing her work up close we had to add YLI's Variations 35 weight 2 ply trilobal polyester variegated thread to our family of threads. Because polyester is the stongest fiber, we are able to sew over and over it without shredding and because it is Trilobal it is nearly as shiny as a rayone without the disadvantages of a rayon. Under a microscope, trilobal threads are shaped like a triangle. As the triangle is sewn into the fabric it twists. reflecting light. It is heavier and changes color every inch, so if you want to thread paint or to nearly cover your fabric with thread, like Barbara Shapel, you will be heaven. The 25 colors are gorgeous. You will want them all.

Anyone having experience with any of the threads we carry should let us know and we will post it here for all to read. We are lucky to have many choices, as well as, the internet for sharing information.

To go to our Thread Category, Click Here

For 100% Cotton Aurifil Thread 50 weight 2-Ply, Click Here

For 100% Cotton Mettler 50 weight 3-ply Silk Finish Variegated Thread Click Here

For 100% Cotton Mettler 50 weight 3-ply Silk Finish Solid Color Thread Click Here

For 100% Cotton Fine Thread 120 weight 2-Ply Click Here

For YLI Silk Thread Assortment for fine Hand Applique Click Here

For YLI Variations Click Here

For Mettler Poly-Sheen Trilobal Multi Sheen & Metallic - Sale - discontinuing in favor of the larger spools from YLI and Metallics from Superior - Click Here

For Colours by YLI - Sale - only one color remaining and discontinued by YLI - Click Here

For 100% Cotton Star Thread Click Here

COTTON THREADS: When we first started quilting, we used ONLY 100% cotton thread and it is still what we use the most. Now, however, even with cotton, we are able to fine tune our selection depending on the project. So, when you visit our thread category in our Online Catalog, you will find there are many choices and they all there for a reason. For our thread category Click Here For our Clubs, Click Here

Mettler - 50 Weight-3 Ply - If you want one and only one thread, then we would choose Mettler 50 weight-3 ply. In addition to 12 general solid colors, we now carry it in variegated colors. It will serve you and your machine very well. However, we now use the solids whenever we are making a quilt that will receive lots of use and if not, we LOVE the Aurifil.

And more yet to come!!!

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