Monday, April 2, 2012

What thread do you own?

Last month I talked a lot about thread. I ran a series of interviews with some of my friends on the threads that they like to use and why.
  • What thread do you use?
  • And why are you using it?
  • Are you happy with the results?
I've talked alot about the choices of thread that I like and why I like them.

I like Madeira #30 weight rayon for a bold and bright look.
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I like Aurifil in the bottom almost all the time.
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I like YLI or Superior Silk for quilting that will be subtle and soft.
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AND I like Variegated cotton, Coats and Clark or Superior for a muted cotton look.

As I teach machine quilting around the country I look at my work over and over again,
and it makes me think about what stitches I want to make and how the thread made the design better.

As I talk to the students and go around the room demonstrating the stitches for them, I also show them samples of my work and talk about why I use each thread.

Do you think about your thread choices before you use them in your quilts? Or do you just grab a color and hope it is what you want.

I ALWAYS do a test run first whenever I start a new project. I put together a sandwich of the same fabrics and battings that I will be using and then sample out the thread that I will put on it along with the design I will use. This does two things.
  1. First it makes sure that I like the thread color that I have picked on the fabric that I am putting it on.
  2. It makes sure that my tension is good and where it needs to be.
    1. Don’t be afraid of adjusting your tension. The manufactures put a tension knob on the machines so you could do just that!
I recently did a sample of threads, shown here of different types and weights of thread that I use and then washed it over 50 times. I wanted to see how each thread type would hold up to so much washing and handling.
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Guess what - they all held up great.

I suggest that you try new threads and test them out. You have to experiment in order to feel good about what you are doing.

Experimenting is part of the process of creating, it just doesn’t work out 100% great the first time you do something, you have to keep working at it and trying new approaches.

I just saw this on Superior's site and I think it is a great idea to get one of these.

Superior SamplerSampler Sets   If you are not familiar with many of our products, we offer a variety of Sampler Sets at discounts of approx. 40% off
Home Quilting Sampler Set 
Longarm Quilting Sampler Set 
Embroidery Sampler Set 
Embellishment Sampler Set (for bobbin work/serger/couching) 
Silk Sampler set

I hope you are enjoying what you are making and the materials you are using to make your creations.

3 comments:

Stella said...

In addition to the obligatory giant pile of random threads that I have no idea where they came from, I have two main types of thread I use for machine work. The first is a product called "TEX21" that I buy at Sil Thread in New York. It's a nice strong fine polyester thread that comes in I believe 500 yard spools and generally works for any project I've needed to complete. Super low-drama thread! More recently, my stash was utterly upgraded when my parents gave me for Christmas the ridiculous in-home thread cabinet from Gutermann. So. Many. Colors. It's pretty much revolutionized my life! I'll have to try that Madeira thread - the "bold and bright" concept sounds like just the thing for me!

Michelle said...

I use Essentials from Connecting Threads for just about everything but embroidery. It's held up through dozens and dozens of washings and works great in my experience. And it's far less linty than the expensive stuff the sewing machine dealer sold us with the machine!

Cornwoman said...

When I want a matte look, I prefer to use Aurifil 40 or 50, and I love their variegates. It leaves the least amount of lint in my machine, is very strong, and the colors are gorgeous. I also use Presencia because I find it to be a very good thread and low on lint too.

When I want a shiny look, I generally use Madeira 40 wt, as I have a Treasure Chest with tons of beautiful colors in so many shades and tints.

But on occasion I also like to use Superior's Highlights and also Rainbows trilobial, which have a sheen and do a really good job with some beautiful colors.

For thread painting and applique bobbin, I almost always use Superior's Bottom Line in a grey since it's a neutral and I don't have to change the bobbin all of the time.

I've been using the YLI smoke and invisible thread, but when I need to replenish, I think I'm going to try the Aurifil version to see how it does.

The YLI Silk #100 I've tried as the top thread, but not had much success in the results. However, I've used it for hand appliqué for many years.

For outlining, I was using a 40 wt Aurifil because I still can't find it in the 28 wt, but am planning to order some 28 wt soon.

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