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Thread: Quilt thread

  1. #1
    Member Pattylynn's Avatar
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    Quilt thread

    I have been hand stitching a couple of quilts this past week while recovering from an injury. My problem is that my thread keeps knotting, or breaking, or just disintegrating. It is so frustrating!

    I have tried three different threads, just plain cotton/polyester thread, a silk thread, and what is called quilting thread (Gutermann 100% cotton quilting thread). The Gutermann was the worst for knotting up and breaking, and the silk thread was the best, but still breaking off or unraveling at the ends.

    Do any of you have suggestions for me? I will be chair-bound for a few months, so I have plenty of time on my hands to quilt.

  2. #2
    Super Member Nanaquilts44's Avatar
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    I use the Aurifil cotton thread and have no problems with it.

  3. #3
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    When you thread the needle, do you put the end that comes off the spool into the eye? The way the threads are wound, that is the "smooth" direction. I usually thread the needle and THEN cut it off the spool just to make sure I put it in the right way.

    Make sure not to cut the thread too long. 12"-15" is usually my max that I want to work with.

    After I thread the needle, I gently smooth out the thread by pulling it through my fingers. I also let it untangle before sewing. If I find that it gets tangled, I let it unwind during the sewing process.

    You can get waxy substance that you run your thread through to condition it.

    Good luck.

  4. #4
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    did you try a different type of needle. perhaps there's something wrong with the needle eye that makes the thread shred.
    Nancy in western NY
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  5. #5
    Super Member Helen S's Avatar
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    Not sure if this will help re knotting, but my mom always said to insert the end of the thread that you just cut nearest to the spool into the needle eye. For some reason unknown to me, it seems to work.
    Wishing you a quick recovery!
    Being skinny isn't easy, so I gave up and opted for being sexy instead. (aunty acid)

  6. #6
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    thread heaven is a thread conditioner which helps cut down on tangling, knoting problems- it is very inexpensive & goes a long way- comes in a little blue 1" square box- it's kind of like using bees wax---which is another option- also it is best to be sure you are using the correct size needle for the thread you are using- and only cut pieces about 18" long. i know people always want to cut pieces 40"+ long---to (save time) then they spend more time untangling than stitching---it really is faster to have shorter lengths and not spend so much (wasted time) untangling---you can alway thread a number of needles to have handy-
    i know a lady who will thread 20-30 needles (she does not cut the thread- she just strings needle after needle onto her spool-then when she needs a new length of thread she picks up the next needle-pulls it up pulling the length of thread she wants- clips- the rest of the needles stay with the spool--she can sew a long time before having to re-string a new batch of needles.)
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  7. #7
    Super Member Deborahlees's Avatar
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    Thread heaven works great for me.....have had the same box for years now....only problem is one of my doggies tried to eat the box.....

  8. #8
    Senior Member AndiR's Avatar
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    There is MACHINE quilting thread and HAND quilting thread. The HAND quilting thread usually has a waxy coating which helps avoid tangles and shredding. Perhaps you have the MACHINE quilting thread instead? Just be sure never to use HAND quilting thread in your sewing machine - the coating can cause havoc with the 'innards'.

  9. #9
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    I found i tend to twist my thread and needle myself. so every few stitches, i must let the needle and thread hang loose to unwind. funny, i never twisted a telephone cord by putting the receiver on the cradle, but needle and thread, yep!
    "From hence only infer that an Englishman, of all men, ought not to despise foreigners as such and I think the inference is just, since what they are today, we were yesterday, and tomorrow they will be like us"
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  10. #10
    Senior Member AndiR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nativetexan View Post
    funny, i never twisted a telephone cord by putting the receiver on the cradle, but needle and thread, yep!
    You do realize that anyone under twenty or so will have no idea what you're talking about?!?!?!? Cords on phones??????? LOLOLOL

  11. #11
    Senior Member Sewflower's Avatar
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    I use Coats and Clark for hand quilting and Aurifil for machine.
    Sewflower

  12. #12
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    I was having that problem when I was using the easy to thread needles -- the thread kept shredding because of the needle, so I've gone back the the old fashion needles that are hard to thread for this half blind lady!

  13. #13
    Super Member woody's Avatar
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    I love the Mettler, silk finish thread for hand piecing(it's cotton not silk but has a nice smooth finish). It doesn't tangle like the Gutterman thread which is a real PITA. I am very lazy and usually cut my thread around 30"-35" long and I use a long thin needle, which will shred the thread where it goes through the eye if you don't move it every couple of stitches. I hope this helps, I love hand piecing
    The biggest risk is the one not taken

  14. #14
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    Are you hand piecing or hand quilting? For hand piecing and sewing , I like the Aurifil 50wt (I do very little by hand now) It is strong but thin and my machine loves it too. For hand quilting, I prefer the Guterman hand quilting thread. I will say that you should not use thread pieces that are too long. I usually don't have my hand sewing thread longer than 18 inches. Any longer than that and I get it twisted and knotted.

  15. #15
    Member Pattylynn's Avatar
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    Thanks so much for the helpful hints! I think I was doing several things wrong which contributed to the knots and fraying. I will follow all of your advice and look forward to less frustrating quilting time!

    Thanks again, I appreciate your advice very much.

  16. #16
    Super Member Pat625's Avatar
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    I just bought thread heaven today with one of my Joannes coupons! So glad people have had good luck with it..been going crazy..I too found the Gutrmann thread was ther worst I ever used..Actually the best one I have used is the cheaper Coats and Clark hand quilting thread...

  17. #17
    Super Member Deborahlees's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat625 View Post
    I just bought thread heaven today with one of my Joannes coupons! So glad people have had good luck with it..been going crazy..I too found the Gutrmann thread was ther worst I ever used..Actually the best one I have used is the cheaper Coats and Clark hand quilting thread...
    You are going to LOVE your thread heaven and wonder how you ever survived without it....just keep it up and away from children and pets and will last a long long time.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ckcowl View Post
    ...you can alway thread a number of needles to have handy-
    i know a lady who will thread 20-30 needles (she does not cut the thread- she just strings needle after needle onto her spool-then when she needs a new length of thread she picks up the next needle-pulls it up pulling the length of thread she wants- clips- the rest of the needles stay with the spool--she can sew a long time before having to re-string a new batch of needles.)
    This is a great tip! I don't usually hand sew anything on my quilts, but I do hand-sewing for making stuffed animals, etc. and this will save me time & headache. Thanks for posting it!

  19. #19
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    Get yourself a little cake of bees wax, sold in most sewing stores and run your thread through it. Does a great job of keeping your thread from tangling. This way you can use any thread.
    Dena

  20. #20
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    Use "Tacky Fingers" or Finger Moistioner - the stuff you put on your fingers to count paper or money. I find this helps keep the thread from tangling. You can get it at the office supply store or most places that sell office supplies. Run the thread thru it before sewing. I think it better than bees wax or the Thread Heaven silicone stuff in the little blue box.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helen S View Post
    Not sure if this will help re knotting, but my mom always said to insert the end of the thread that you just cut nearest to the spool into the needle eye. For some reason unknown to me, it seems to work.
    If you were to look at the thread under a microscope you could see that there is a direction to the wind. One direction (coming off the spool) the thread will lay nice and smooth. Going the other direction, the tiny little thread-barbs stick up will force the thread to go agains the grain.

  22. #22
    Super Member Knitette's Avatar
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    If you don't have any Thread Heaven, you can run a piece of drier fabric conditioning sheet down your cut thread.
    Lang may yer lum reek. (I'm a knitter - hence - 'Knit-ette'. Confuses a lot of people!)

  23. #23
    Super Member tesspug's Avatar
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    When I'm hand sewing I thread both ends of the thread through the eye and then thread them through the loop made by the thread. Pull tight onto the eye of the needle. Then knot the ends. The needle doesn't rub the thread. It almost never tangles.

  24. #24
    Super Member Pat625's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tesspug View Post
    When I'm hand sewing I thread both ends of the thread through the eye and then thread them through the loop made by the thread. Pull tight onto the eye of the needle. Then knot the ends. The needle doesn't rub the thread. It almost never tangles.
    This would never work for me. When I hand quilt I use a tiny needle with an eye that I can barely see. I have to use my clip on book light to thread the needle. I bought a needle threader, but it seems the eye is even too small for that!

  25. #25
    Senior Member Ccorazone's Avatar
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    I have used a bar of bath soap or bees wax and pulled my thread through it and it helps.

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