More Thread Talk

Monday’s post “It’s a Thread Thing” sparked some really good conversation and made me realize there is a lot of brand loyalty among us quilters. I enjoyed all your comments and all the info you provided as well.

On Tuesday I spent my day quilting a table runner on my HQ Sweet Sixteen. It is a customer project that is 100% applique and has a LOT of yo-yo’s attached. I spent about an hour choosing threads for the quilting and working out the quilting motifs. Once I started the quilting I had a lot of time to think about all your comments, and I thought it would be a good idea to continue the conversation on the topic of threads.

Yvonne brought up a good point when she stated “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”. I am so glad she pointed this out, especially because I didn’t even mention the ply of threads in my post. If you would like to read more info on thread weight/ply, you can visit this article on the Superior Threads website. It’s the most informative article I’ve found.

Last spring I attended a weekend of classes taught by a HandiQuilter educator. Included in the weekend was a session on threads and it was so informative. We learned about how threads are produced, the different ply/weight, and studied examples of those threads in different quilted projects.

I was reminded of this class when Carole saidI 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.” This is why I think it’s important to spend time playing with different threads, both weight and color, to get a good idea of how they will look in your projects. Making a sample ‘book’ of your stitching is a great way to test threads. It is also a great quilted visual when you’re looking for designs to use in your quilt. In the pic below, I wrote thread/bobbin info at the top of the sample.

FMQ - Clamshells or Paisley

A page from my FMQ Sample ‘Book’

Another interesting comment came from Maga, who said “I have found that the kind of wadding I choose makes a big difference to how well I feel a thread performs for me.” She makes a very good point, and I’d like to add to it. Since I started quilting for other people I’ve had to learn how to work with many different brands/types/thicknesses of batting. The fabric/batting/backing combination affects thread tension and performance. That is the main reason why I always test my tension with the same materials that are in the quilt I will be quilting.

There were a few comments from readers who don’t care for the shine of Glide or Isacord, and a few others who mentioned they love Glide. It really is a personal preference. I have used Glide a couple of times and like how it stitches and how it looks in a quilt. I also like the thicker look of the thread. I do want to say that I purchased the 14 spools of Isacord specifically for an embroidery project I hope to find time for soon. But I’ve heard from a few other longarm quilters that they love using Isacord in their LA machine, so I can’t wait to give it a try. I have a couple of quilt tops that will look great with a thinner, shiny thread so it will be a good time to experiment.

We could probably spend days talking about thread, just as we could fabrics, battings, machines, etc. I appreciate everyone who took time to read Monday’s post and comment and for all your thoughtful contributions. I also encourage you to step outside your comfort zone and experiment with new to you threads. You just might discover a new favorite!

I’m off to look for an embroidery class through Craftsy. They’re having a sale today only – one class or DVD for $19.99. It’s a good time to add another class to my collection and I need to learn all about machine embroidery that I can. If you want to get in on today’s sale, just click here to their site and use the code PICKYOURCLASS

Just so you know, I am an affiliate for Craftsy and may receive a small fee if you make a purchase. That fee helps me keep the blog up and running – thanks so much for your support!



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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4 Responses to More Thread Talk

  1. Fabulous additions to your post on Monday. I agree that taking some time to step outside your comfort zone on occasion is worth it.

  2. Isacord is FABULOUS in quilts; I use it in my Bernina as well as in my longarm Avanté. Sulky rayon is also equally fabulous, is a natural fibre, and has that lovely sheen to it as well. Years ago I took a series of classes on thread and it was and still is, invaluable. It sure did push me away from good old Gütermann, which is still love and piece with almost exclusively, but experimenting with different weights (oh the Sulky Blendables (cotton) 30 and 12 weights–!!) give such another dimension to a quilt. Like our instructor said, “You’re spending a huge amount of time quilting your quilt, why wouldn’t you want to use threads that will show it off?” Obviously, as Angela Walters says, and many others in those echelons, you don’t want to overpower the piecing, but there are places and times for these threads for sure. I’m usually pretty routine-loving person, but one place I throw caution to the winds is with threads and I have been so pleased I did! Thanks for a couple of terrific articles, Beth!

  3. Marlene says:

    Interesting thoughts Beth and really hadn’t thought about the ply of the thread.. I missed Monday’s post so off to read it now. I predominately use Glide thread but have recently purchased some Isacord so looking forward to seeing how that quilts.

  4. Thanks for sharing this, Beth. I just took some quilts to my longarm friend, Connie, and she and I were having similar conversations regarding thread. Auditioning thread by laying it on the quilts, it was interesting to see what role the thread would play in the quilt. Some threads easily take center stage, while others bring out the beauty of the quilt itself.

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