Welcome to the Quilting Board!

Already a member? Login above
loginabove
OR
To post questions, help other quilters and reduce advertising (like the one on your left), join our quilting community. It's free!

Results 1 to 18 of 18

Thread: Any wholecloth quilters who use cotton thread?

  1. #1
    Super Member Bree123's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    2,138

    Any wholecloth quilters who use cotton thread?

    I'd really love to make a wholecloth quilt, but am struggling with the idea of using polyester thread (rayon is totally out of the question because I have a very, very severe contact allergy to it -- and the quilt is for me).

    I keep hearing from online teachers that wholecloth quilts should never be done with cotton thread and, in fairness, my favorite quilts tend to be quilted with trilobal poly. I'm generally a purist -- cotton batting/fabric/thread or silk batting/fabric/thread. I sorta cheat with wool and use floss or pearle cotton thread, although I'm thinking of trying some 100% wool thread on my next project.

    I really, really want a wool batting (possibly Hobb's Heirloom, but more likely a carded wool batt from a local mill). I'm sorta undecided about whether to do wool fabric (Primitive Gatherings, peacock) or cotton fabric (Cherrywood, indigo), but in any case, I'm really hoping to keep it to all natural fibers.

    Does anyone have any experience with this? I'm thinking maybe adding some stuffed work would help. I just keep hearing how "meh" my quilt will be unless I use synthetic threads. I know a lot of you make beautiful quilts with synthetic threads. I know for sure how that would look. Has anyone actually made/seen a wholecloth quilt other than vintage white that was done (FMQ) with cotton thread? Any pics or descriptions -- good or bad -- would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks!!!

  2. #2
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    18,938
    I use Hobbs 80/20 batting for my main batting and I use cotton thread by Mettler or Aurifil. I don't know who are your online teachers are but this is what Harriet Hargrave taught me.
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  3. #3
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Western Wisconsin
    Posts
    12,954
    Blog Entries
    1
    Are you planning to hand quilt? Or machine quilt?

    Edit: I'd be interested in which online quilters say not to use cotton thread for a wholecloth quilt and what their reasoning is.

    As an aside, rayon thread in general is not used for piecing or quilting because it is a relatively weak thread that cannot stand up to abrasion.

    If using a carded wool batt from a local mill, you may need to enclose the batt in cheesecloth before layering in order to guard against the wool bearding. Hobbs and Quilter's Dream wool batts are made with newer processes that dramatically reduce the chance of bearding, thus eliminating the need to encase the batt in cheesecloth.
    Last edited by Prism99; 07-21-2016 at 09:49 AM.

  4. #4
    Power Poster feline fanatic's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    10,162
    Hmm, not sure why they are advocating against cotton thread. Most of the machine quilted wholecloth quilts I am seeing now at shows and following bloggers are using silk dupioni or the silk blend Radiance as the fabric and silk thread.
    Edited to add they are using wool batting.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Washington
    Posts
    664
    Polyester thread is shiny and beautiful in a quilt, and yes, many of the quilters today are using it, longarmers are definitely using it. I love it, myself. I think some FMQ quilters are recommending it because of tension problems they've had. I suspect some of those problems would have been rectified with a good needle to thread match and a well-oiled bobbin (so it won't kick back).

    In my previous life of quilting (I took a 10 year break) the talk was that you should always use cotton. However, really, there is no need. The idea was that polyester would saw through quilt fabric. However, hand quilting thread is a whole lot stronger than polyester. If polyester would do that, hand quilting thread would too. But it doesn't.

    I think you should use whatever you like the best.

    I hand quilted a whole cloth wall hanging all in Guterman hand quilting thread (the 10 year old form of it). It was gorgeous. Whole cloth quilting is greatly about creating textures. You can do that with many kinds of thread.

    Use what you love (and aren't allergic to). It will all hold up just fine and look gorgeous.
    Nobody ever went wrong with kindness.

  6. #6
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    Posts
    13,654
    I have never heard the admonishment not to use cotton thread on a wholecloth quilt. However if it's the shine that you want to avoid with poly, there are some that aren't as shiny as the trilobal.

  7. #7
    Super Member Bree123's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    2,138
    I actually like the shininess -- which is why the teachers (Patti Thompson & Cindy Needham are two, but there are many more) recommend using only poly or rayon thread -- although Patti also says silk is good for microquilting fillers. They were both adamant that cotton thread would not look good & that only synthetics should be used.

    I know it's not a question of going through my machine. I FMQ with Aurifil all the time on my baby quilts & have zero issues with it. And my favorite quilter, Heather Thomas, only uses natural fibers -- primarily cotton -- but she does a lot of piecing & applique & couching & whatnot, so the quilting plays a supporting role rather than being the star of the design. So I know I can FMQ with cotton thread, but am now worried it will look terrible as a wholecloth design on a Queen-sized quilt. I have some poly thread for clothing/home dec construction so maybe I just need to quilt up a couple samples & see how things go.

    I'm really hoping to quilt this on my DSM. I could hand quilt, but kinda would like to actually have new bedding sometime within the next 2-3 years & I'm a super slow hand quilter. I have a horrible poly comforter right now & almost never use it except as a dust cover during the daytime. I sleep with cotton sheets & a wool blanket & couldn't be happier if I had a lovely wool quilt, too.

  8. #8
    Super Member quiltingshorttimer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    kansas
    Posts
    4,985
    Blog Entries
    37
    I like your idea of doing some test mini's to check it out and see how you like it. I'm wondering if the teachers you are talking about are against using a cotton thread because the wt. of the thread is lower (thicker) usually on cotton than on some of the poly's or silk. (most of them are #50-100 wt) and with a whole cloth it seems that most are pretty densely quilted to get the awesome designs in them. Seems like many whole clothes are made with a #50wt for the main design, then something even thinner, like Bottomline, for the filler design. Also, you say you like the shininess of the poly's like trilobal, but cotton is never shiny. If you want a non-shiny poly, check out SoFine or Permacore--both are nice, matte, thinner threads that would probably work fine (and SoFine is available in both #40 and #50 wt--more colors in50). They both look like a finer cotton finish.

  9. #9
    Super Member QuiltnLady1's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    4,542
    What I use depends on the look I want for the quilt -- the quilt usually tells me what it wants. I have used cotton (I like that for table runners and placemats since I may put hot things on them), I use shiny poly for a lot of FMQ but I also use metallic thread when I want a special look. I have couched thicker threads and braids that do not go through my needles if I want something to stand out (pearl cotton, funky yarns and metallic). I really hate to limit myself to one type of thread since there are so many fun threads out there.
    QuiltnLady1

    When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

  10. #10
    Super Member Bree123's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    2,138
    Thanks to everyone who has shared their input so far! Going to try the different samples this weekend, hopefully ... and also going to read up a lot more about poly threads. I think they'd be great for art quilts, but this is going on my bed & due to asthma, I will likely be washing the quilt at least every 2 months, possibly even once a month, in commercial machines so I need something that's going to hold up. I haven't had good luck with synthetic threads & regular washing in the past (had to re-quilt my table runner & that was washed much less), but I'm sure part of the issue was I wasn't using a quality brand. I've also accidentally melted embroidery work so I'll have to learn more about wet blocking rather than steam blocking my quilt. Ugh! So much to learn!

    Thank you again to all of you for taking so much time to respond & provide so much helpful information!

  11. #11
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Blue Ridge Mountians
    Posts
    6,951
    Blog Entries
    19
    I've made whole cloths with cotton thread. My one mistake I made is quilting too close together (1/2" apart}. when washed and shrinks, the pattern became unrecognizable. So keep your stitches at least 1 inch apart. Don't know why cotton is off the list per your experts.

  12. #12
    Super Member Bree123's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    2,138
    Jane,
    You used cotton batting, right? Quality thread like Aurifil is not supposed to noticeably shrink. I'm hoping to use wool batting for my quilt. Cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter & attracts fewer dust mites than cotton.

    Unfortunately (or fortunately, I guess, depending on how I look at it), I was surfing the web last night looking at whole cloth pictures & came across this stunning beauty done on RK Radiance fabric with silk threads: http://www.mainelyquiltsoflove.com/m...ilt-pics-047c/

    It is just stunning! So now, of course, I have one more sample to make! I'm sure that will quilt up beautifully (obviously! since it won 1st prize at QuiltWeek), but want to road test it to see how it does with me sleeping with/on it. Gonna make a pillow sham to make sure it doesn't get too impossibly stained when used as bedding. Other downside is that it needs to be hand washed, supposedly, to keep its luster. But silk is supposed to be the best fabric for people with dust allergies so I guess I'll see (wonder if it still works since it's also part cotton).

  13. #13
    Junior Member quiltwiz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Central Texas
    Posts
    210
    When i hand quilt i have never used anything else but cotton thread...most of the ladies i quilt with also use only cotton thread.
    Peace by Piece
    Diane

  14. #14
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    6,336
    Why not use cotton? For hundreds of years that was all that was available and we have quilts that are still hanging around after being quilted with cotton thread. Heck, my grandmother quilted rough quilts with the cotton string that was used to close feed sacks and some of those are still around, too.

  15. #15
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Piedmont Virginia in the Foothills of the Blue Ridge Mtns.
    Posts
    8,526
    I don't know the quilters mentioned. But I've been handquilting for 30+ years using only cotton thread of many different weights and brands, washing my quilts regularly, using them regularly, and would not ever quilt with anything but cotton thread in my cotton fabric quilts, even with my preferred wool batted quilts. Sorry, I just don't get it.

    Jan in VA
    Jan in VA
    Living in the foothills
    peacefully colors my world.
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/members...bums19552.html

  16. #16
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    6,336
    Since cotton thread was the only thread of choice for 200 years or so and those quilts are still around and going strong, I would not hesitate to use cotton thread. Many of the threads today have not "lived" long enough to see just how well they hold up in the long run of time.

  17. #17
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    North east
    Posts
    268
    You are getting incorrect advice. It sounds like one quilter's opinion. Cotton thread was used for generations and is still holding up in the quilts. Thread is thread. Use what you want to. Good comments tho about rayon and silk. I have a real issue with statements such as you must, you have to, or you gotta, you never, when it relates to quilting. Do these "experts" say why?

  18. #18
    Super Member Bree123's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    2,138
    Quote Originally Posted by Quilt30 View Post
    You are getting incorrect advice. It sounds like one quilter's opinion. Cotton thread was used for generations and is still holding up in the quilts. Thread is thread. Use what you want to. Good comments tho about rayon and silk. I have a real issue with statements such as you must, you have to, or you gotta, you never, when it relates to quilting. Do these "experts" say why?
    Cotton is not shiny. That's it. It will blend with the quilt or be a dull finish. It will not produce the brilliant eye-catching results that are seen in most of the award-winning machine-quilted whole cloth quilts. Sometimes that's okay -- or even desired. For my youngest nephew, I am learning to hand quilt so I can do a whole cloth crib quilt that is white fabric with light beige cotton thread. It's nice, but just looks very, very traditional (which is what my SIL prefers). I love modern quilts & have been a bit dismayed to find that all but one of the award-winning wholecloths that I've researched (which was done in silk) were quilted with synthetic thread (rayon, poly or on occasion, nylon).

    The only way I'm probably ever going to be comfortable with this decision is to see the difference side by side -- since I haven't found any examples of a heavily quilted whole cloth done all in cotton in a modern design. Maybe people are missing out & this is just something that needs to be done more. I guess we'll see.

    Thanks again to all who've posted!!!

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.