MCM #113 – It’s a Thread Thing

Welcome to Main Crush Monday! Today we’re talking about thread and I’m sharing a bit of my  thread collection — or is it an obsession?  I have to confess – I added 19 cones of thread to my thread collection this past weekend. Yup. I seriously did. Fourteen mini size cones (1,094 yards each) and five large cones (6,000 yards each). That’s more than 45,000 yards of thread I brought home.

I did the math.

That’s almost 26 miles of thread. Wow!

Superior, Omni, Isacord, thread

This is what 26 miles of thread looks like!

Which got me to thinking…why? (Well, not really. I know why. I seem to have a thread addiction that just might be worse than my fabric addiction. But hey, I’m okay with that.) What I was really thinking about was thread choice. Out of all the threads on the market for quilting, why do I choose the ones I do?

In the summer of 2014 I bought a Janome 6500P and was over the moon that I would be able to do free motion quilting on this beast of a machine. My thread of choice? Gutermann’s from JoAnn Fabrics. Why this thread? Just because. I was new to FMQ, didn’t have much of a clue about what I was doing, and I had several spools of this thread around just waiting for me to do something with it. Here I am almost 4 years later and the quilt I used that thread on is just as good as it ever was.

Since then I have used many different brands and types of threads. There’s only been one that gave me trouble, and it was just one color within the brand. Other colors of the same brand have worked beautifully for me. Interestingly, this brand was also the most expensive I have purchased.

When choosing a thread for quilting, I go through a mental checklist before making my final selection. The first thing I consider is my project. Do I want the thread to stand out or should texture be the star? Am I looking for the subtleness of a matte thread, the glam of a shiny poly, or the glitz of metallic? These decisions are made before I even think about color.

Currently, my go to thread is Omni by Superior. I pair it with Bottom Line (also by Superior) in the bobbin and that combination works well together in my HQ Fusion. When I have a project that needs quilted without much fuss, these are the threads I use.

Omni is a 40# thread. It comes in 172 colors so I rarely have a problem finding the color I need, but my go to shade is Natural White. It’s a great blending color.  I use it for so many of my customers quilts, as well as for piecing my own projects.  Bottom Line is thinner at 60# and is available in 55 colors. I buy Bottom Line prewound bobbins for use in my machine and love how well this thread stitches. It’s also a great thread for micro stippling.

There are so many options when looking for a thread to add a bit of a wow factor to a quilt. These are the threads I have in my cabinet right now:

  • ·        Glide
  • ·        Isacord
  • ·        Fantastico
  • ·        Magnifico
  • ·        Omni-V
  • ·        Metallic
  • ·        YLI

Oops, Glide is missing from this pic!

Some of these are variegated, some are solid, and at least one of them comes in both solid and variegated metallic. I used a variegated metallic when I quilted Floating. You can barely make out the shine of the metallic thread and the variegation in the pic below. It’s much more visible in person.

Closeup of Quilting

Even though most of the threads listed above state they are 40#, there is a definite difference in their thickness and they perform differently in my machine. Some of them are a bit fiddly in getting the tension just right, but I don’t mind making the adjustments. Those pretty threads are worth the extra time it takes me to set them up properly.

Thread weight difference

Both threads are 40 weight, but the red looks much thinner than the darker thread.

Shortly after I began free motion quilting, I found myself getting caught up in wanting to do things like the popular quilters I spent so much time reading about. You know, that feeling that if I used the same products they did then I’d be part of the cool crowd. The funny thing about that is that I have *never* been part of the cool crowd. I have always been a bit odd, a bit different, a bit ‘stand back and quietly do things my way’.  So I’m not sure why I thought I wanted to be a cool kid now.

Anyway, I purchased several spools of a popular thread that it seemed everyone who was anyone in the online quilting world was using. And guess what? I didn’t like it! Don’t get me wrong, it’s a perfectly good thread. It’s just not a perfectly good thread for me.

I guess what I want you to take away from this post about thread choice is this: Be open to trying different threads. Try out several brands, and then use the ones that YOU like, not what you think you should use. What works for me may not work for you. You will probably not use the same thread type/brand for all your projects. When trying a new thread make sure to use the manufacturer’s recommended needle size and tension settings. Most of all, experiment and have fun! And know that it’s okay to like what you like. Just as there are no quilt police, there are no thread police either. 😊 Oh, one last lesson – it’s definitely okay to have a thread addiction and bring home 26 miles of thread in one day. Definitely okay….. 

Do you have a favorite thread? Please share, and tell us why your thread works for you. I’d love to hear what you use!

Here’s an update on the card trick quilt. Hubby was able to visit his Mom on Friday and delivered the quilt to her. He snapped a quick pic of it on her bed and I think it looks pretty darn good! She is really happy with it and that makes me happy. I’m so glad it fits her bed, and now she’ll have a pretty touch of home in her new place. XOXO

Card Trick Quilt BlueNow it’s time for you to link up your projects for this week. What has you excited to be in your sewing space? We would love to see your projects – you can link up any blog post, Instagram or Flickr pic. Here’s how:

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About Beth

I'm a wife, mother of two, and lover of all things crafty. I love to cook up new things in the kitchen and in my craft room, and sometimes get "licking the spoon" mixed up with "licking the fabric"!!
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30 Responses to MCM #113 – It’s a Thread Thing

  1. Denise says:

    That is beautiful. Thank you for hosting the link party.

  2. I learned just recently about the strands as per Yvonne’s comment! All these years sewing and quilting and who knew. I agree with you about thread on many points. I just love Gütermann, and like you my first quilts were not just pieced, but also quilted with it (I still use it in the bobbin when quilting on my DSM). I don’t find it the most expensive because I only buy it when it’s 50% or more off, and I buy cones of the basic colours online where I can get it for 1/3 the price of the thread you mention not by name…strains of Voldemort! LOL I’ve used all the threads you mention except Omni, and my Avanté works well with them all. I love Sulky rayons and metallics, for the reasons you mention, and ya they’re hard to photograph to show them off in all their glitzy sparkle! I wind my own bobbins using cones of The Bottom Line. I also love So Fine for intricate custom quilting, and that reminds me I need to order some more! Aren’t photos of our quilt ‘kids’ the best when in their new home?

  3. I have been wondering so many things about thread lately so your post was very timely. Thank you!

  4. I fully concur with the thread addiction! Having a box full of thread has the same thrill as a new box of quality paints! I use all sorts of threads, all quality brands, in several machines and can get most to work with a little patience. I have to admit I generally choose thread based on the look I want rather than brand or composition. And Yvonne has perfectly covered the wt mystery, so I needn’t add to that. I only worked that one out this year. 🙂

  5. Deana says:

    I loved this post sand found it very useful. It reminds me to try new things and don’t be afraid to play with the tension.

  6. Mia is mine says:

    Your Card Trick quilt is stunning and I bet your mother-in-law cried with joy when she saw it! It’s so beautiful! Thank you for sharing regarding your threads! I usually give my LAQ a gift certificate to our LQS for her birthday – I wonder if she buys thread? 🙂

  7. Lisa says:

    You know it’s interesting. I have two Janome machines and I find that the thread that works really well in the less expensive machine breaks in the expensive machine so I might have to switch it up. Crazy . Love your quilt.

  8. Bonnie in Va says:

    Hum, I may be dense but I have no idea which thread you think is the popular one! For my long arm I have been buying Superior products for the most part: So Fine, Omni and one or two spools of King Tut. I’m not a big fan of the variegated as most of the time you can’t see the color changes. Why spend the money? I’ve got several spools of Glide which I’ve used and like but often it seems too shiny for what I want. I haven’t had good luck with Glide on the top and bottom. I also worry about how strong it is in baby quilts — I don’t ever want to see a little one’s finger with a really strong thread wrapped around his finger. (I know, I probably over worry about that one!) I like using Guterman for piecing for all the reasons others have said. I used to like Essential Thread from Connecting Threads but am not as excited now. It does seem to lint a lot. I’ve given up n Essential Pro for various reasons but I like to use it on my Bernina for bobbins. It’s a bit thinner but not so thin it is hard to unpick stitches. Great post today. And, many great comments from your readers. thanks.

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  10. chrisknits says:

    I am new to FMQ so I am just learning the ropes on thread. I use Gutterman and Coats for my piecing, will be looking at quilting threads more seriously as I progress in my FM

  11. This was a fun post to read, Beth! I love the look of your Card Trick quilt on the bed. What fun to see it in its home! One thing I’ve noticed since upgrading my Janome is that my new machine doesn’t like the Bottom Line thread, while my other little Janome liked it just fine. I haven’t been brave enough to fiddle with the bobbin tension, so I just have those spools sitting off to the side for now. Since making me my thread holder, my hubs keeps telling me I need more thread. Haha. I guess I should go shopping, huh??

  12. Barbara Neiwert says:

    Oh, I love thread, too! You should see my closet…. And I love that quilt on its rightful bed – perfect!

  13. Beth this was a most informative post and thanks for writing it. I’ve used Gutermanns for years and never had a problem but have been tempted to use another very popular brand. I really agree that we should not limit choices just because of the stronger marketing. Experimenting is good.

  14. rl2b2017 says:

    Hi Beth,
    Card Trick looks fabulous on MIL’s bed! What a fabulous finish. I have been using Aurifil lately, and have had issues with the thread breaking when I’m piecing (not quilting). So I will probably switch back to Gutermann because it is easy to get. I have never tried Omni thread – I can give that a try as well. Thanks! ~smile~ Roseanne

  15. Mmmm thread – I love it too! Find what works for you and go with it!!

  16. Liz W. says:

    I know exactly which “cool kid thread” you’re talking about 🙂 I happen to use it, yes because everybody else did and I figured if it works for them why not for me. Luckily, it did work for me, but I’m glad you experimented and found something that worked even better for you.

    Funny thing about Gutermann’s, I quilted with it once, and it shred so badly that I never did again. I went to Isacord and it didn’t shred so I used that for awhile but I hated the shine. I’ve also used Aurifil, but I got a few spools that were “sticky” and the thread broke whenever it came to a sticky part.

    But I’m not brave enough to try metallics or any of that now that I’ve got a thread / tension worked out … so I applaud your courage to work with so many different threads and tension settings!

  17. Love the quilt on you mother-in-love’s bed! Thread=Glide. It comes in 40 wt AND 60 wt now. I use the same in the bobbin.

  18. kattails says:

    I use Omni thread alot…it was suggested to me by Patchwork Plus Quilt Shop in Dayton, Va and it works very well in my Avante. My favorite thread, though is Glide. I’ve used several colors, love the sheen, and even have used it in the bobbin with great results. From what I’ve read from my favorite bloggers one either loves or hates Glide thread. I bought some cheaper thread (Essential) recommended by a favorite blogger and the lint buildup was unbelievable. She loves it on her Avante…my machine does not. Your Card Trick turned out beautifully—I’ve been monitoring your progress. Well done! (ps…I think you’re pretty cool now!)

  19. I did an experiment some time ago where I quilted three identical table runners in different colors of thread. It was eye-opening how just a change of thread color for quilting can change the character of the quilt. Audition colors, try new combinations, step out of your comfort zone and try a dark color for quilting on a small project just for fun.

  20. Cindy says:

    Card trick is beautiful! I have tried different threads and have had successes and failures. My finicky machine likes an expensive brand ugh.

  21. helen says:

    Weird, I too have used a thread that everybody seems to use and rave over. To be honest, it is beyond my price range, but I bought some anyway. I found it tended to snap in my machine. Whether I just had a dud spool or what I don’t know. The other two spools I bought, not understanding the ply, one is too heavy for my machine, and the other in a colour I know I won’t use. Generally I use Gutterman, which I love, or cheap and cheerful moon threads.

  22. Kate says:

    Card Trick turned out beautifully. It looks great on your MIL’s bed. Since I don’t do my own quilting, I just have to worry about having thread for piecing and stitching down bindings. My go to has been Connecting Threads. It works well in the Bernina for piecing and CT puts it on sale often enough that I’ve got enough colors to find something in my stash to match most any color binding I need to stitch down.

  23. Sharon B. says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on threads! I’ve had similar results….with buying the “popular” brand and not having the promised results. I’ve since purchased a variety of threads and will be giving them a try and hopefully I can find some good strong thread that lasts… along with being friendly with my Janome! 🙂 26 miles of threads sounds like SO much more than a few spools… lol!

  24. Maga says:

    I agree that it is very important to try out different threads and stick to the ones that work best for the kind of quilting you prefer. I have found that the kind of wadding I choose makes a big difference to how well I feel a thread performs for me. I like thin threads and seeing I only quilt my own quilts I can do that 😉
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts

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  26. Tu-Na Quilts says:

    Great post but with one little correction: I think you’re an amazing and cool quilter. I’ll be buying some Omni tomorrow since that’s the one that is recommended by my AZ quilting group for use on their longarm. My elephant quilt and that longarm have a date this week. I’ll let you know how that goes. After all, I want to be snuggling under it while I stitch the binding down on Tuesday when it’s expected to be 98 here.

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  28. Facetfully says:

    I appreciate this info on thread from your perspective. My current thread question is about lint and lint-free thread. Any thoughts?

  29. Card trick looks amazing on your mother-in-laws bed! I think one of the big differences in thread is that the weight is only per ply – so 50wt or 40wt can be different if it’s a 2x50wt vs 3x50wt (or 40wt, etc.). The more strands of thread, the thicker it will seem and you might very well wonder why two threads call themselves 40wt with the difference. It’s all in the number of strands! 🙂 But, absolutely, I agree that trying out different threads to see what works best for you and your machines is a must.

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