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Thread: Hand Piecing...Best Thread to use?

  1. #1
    Super Member Treasureit's Avatar
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    Hand Piecing...Best Thread to use?

    I am working a Grandma's Garden by hand sewing the hexs using the Brandy method (using templates). I am finding that the thread breaks often while sewing. I have tired several different brands, but the same thing keeps happening. Any suggestions for best thread? Brand and weight?

  2. #2
    Senior Member teddysmom's Avatar
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    I hand piece and hand quilt. The only thread I use is YLI. It tangles less and doesn't tend to break.

  3. #3
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    I've been fortunate to not have issues with any thread I've used. Have you tried using Thread Heaven? It's a conditioner which truly does help with reducing tangling. I use it when I hand quilt. Couldn't tell you if I remember to use it when hand sewing. Most of the thread I have is good ol' Coates & Clark but I have others as well but don't remember specific brands.

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    I made that quilt too, and hand sewed it all. Maybe its your needle doing that. I never had thread break with me but its been a while and dont remember what thread I used

  5. #5
    Super Member nhweaver's Avatar
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    Is the thread you are using old 100% cotton? It may have started to break down. I have started to use aurifil thread for hand piecing, and I use YLI quilting thread to quilt the top. I like YLI as it doesn't seem to knot up as much as the others.

    In the past, I have used any thread for hand piecing, (except for the discount brands - they seem to knot up more) any decent brand works well. I also bees wax my thread length, I have had no discoloration at all.
    If life gives you lemons, make a margarita.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
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    When I hand piece, I've been using Presencia 60 weight thread - it's 3 ply and very strong. I've also used YLI, but I like the Presencia better.

    Janet

  7. #7
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
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    It's also possible that your needle is causing the breaks - I try and move the needle every once in a while so I don't wear the thread at the eye.

    Janet

  8. #8
    Senior Member humbird's Avatar
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    I am also working on a GFG. Was having some problems with breaking thread (don't remember the brand etc) so picked up a spool of Gutermann Quilting, all cotton. Its a bit heavier, but seems to work well stitching those hexies together. I like using a bit heavier thread for EPP, but use C&C Dual Duty for regular hand piecing.

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    I've been doing a GFG with paper pieces. I've had really good luck with the Bottom Line by Superior Threads, a thin 60 weight thread. You can get a "doughnut" of prewound bobbins that has 35 or so colors on it so you don't have to buy full spools and the thread seems to last me quite awhile. It was recommended to me by a lady at a quilt show who does EPP.

  10. #10
    Super Member #1piecemaker's Avatar
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    I use whatever is handy for piecing my quilts. You might try putting your thread in the freezer overnight. It sort of rehydrates the fibers. But, if you will always tie your knot in the end that comes off the spool first, you will see a notable difference in knotting up issues.
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    using a bit of bees wax seems to be the key. note to others when i couldn't find my sliver of quilting beeswax, i used one of the beeswax candles we always have on hand. It worked great and is easier to find.

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    Super Member Treasureit's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the good advise. Still some confused. I started using Gutermann then added bees wax and still had issues of breaking and tangles. Just bought a new thread at the quilt show in the YLI booth, but now I see it is "Star Brand"...is that YLI? It is 50wt and breaks a lot. I went through all the brands I have and just tried to break them with my hands and they all broke fairly easily. I will change the needle and move it often to see if it helps. I had heard about knotting from the end near the spool before...but forgot about it...all helpful!

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    I've been working on a grandmother's flower garden quilt as well, and have found that good old fashioned Coats and Clark 100% cotton works the best. I use a double thread and sometimes a bit of bees wax... when I think of it... and have had good luck with my choice. My opinion is that if it was good enough for mom and grandma, it's good enough for me.

  14. #14
    Power Poster RedGarnet222's Avatar
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    When I used to hand piece I always used a doubled strand of quilting thread. It worked really well and was strong. The trick is to lay your tail upon the work and not allow it to twist between stitches. The thread heaven helps with other type threads.
    RedGarnet222

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    Is your thread still in good condition?

    Sometimes it will break down (get weak and break easily) when stored in unfavorable conditions.

    I give most older thread a 'yank test' to see if it is still strong.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hinterland View Post
    It's also possible that your needle is causing the breaks - I try and move the needle every once in a while so I don't wear the thread at the eye.

    Janet
    I agree with this statement.

    I also use the 'old' cotton covered Dual Duty thread by Coats & Clark. It seems to be working well.

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    I am also making a GMG using English paper piecing method. I use YLI Select, my favorite hand sewing thread. Because I couldn't find YLI Select in some of the colors I needed I bought Gutterman's 50wt. and I hate it. Have to constantly coat it with Thread Heaven and it still tangles. I use Presencia in my machine, but haven't tried it for hand sewing. I'll try it. If it's as tangle free as YLI, I'll use it because I believe I can get more colors in that brand.

  18. #18
    Super Member Treasureit's Avatar
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    I can tell you that Gutermann and Star brand are not good. I think I have one spool of YLI that someone gave me...will see if it works better.

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    I use "King Tut" for hand quilting . I know it's more expensive, but if I'm spending all that time & work , I want a thread that's easy to work with .

  20. #20
    Super Member 117becca's Avatar
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    how long is the piece of thread that you're using? I don't hand piece, but I do hand quilt and when i get too long of a piece of thread, it knots up and breaks - even the YLI stuff. I try to stay around 18 inches..
    my name is becca and i'm a quilt-a-holic :-)

  21. #21
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    I've used whatever thread I had handy for hand piecing. The only one I had real problems with was the super cheap thread from the "everything's less than a $" store. I do let my needle hang down and the thread untwist ever so often. Learned this trick when I was doing lots of counted cross stitch. I also make sure the thread moves freely in the eye of the needle and does not stay in the same position on the thread for very long. Otherwise the eye will rub on the thread and cause it to fray and break. Good luck on your piecing!

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