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Thread: Quilts - a Question of Thread

  1. #1

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    I thought I was smart buying invisible quilting thread at the Joanne Fabric sale. After reading a post regarding this not being good for the fabric I have questions now.
    1. Can I use regular thread or must it be quilting.
    2. If I would try the invisible quilting thread should it be threaded from top or bottom.
    3. The biggie for me! Do you all change thread color everytime you move to another color area of the quilt in the works? That one baffles me when I see all the contrasting fabrics you use.

    Thanks! I am learning so much here. Have two table runners to quilt and so seeing that post was really good timing

  2. #2
    k3n
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    I use quilting thread in the top and piecing thread in the bobbin. I like using variegated thread for FMQ, in colours that tone with the top. I've got a goldy/tan/cream one that I use a LOT! In the ditch or echo quilting I'd normally use a neutral - cream in a light quilt or grey or beige in a darker one. :-D Can't help with the invisible I'm afraid, never tried it.

  3. #3
    Super Member beachlady's Avatar
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    I bought some invisible thread and then did reading on it , so have never used it.

  4. #4
    Super Member Maride's Avatar
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    I have used invisible thread only on wallhangings that will never be washed. I made some quilts with hand embroidered centers and used it to quilt over the embroidery. If I don't do that, it looks bulky. Other than that I don't use it for much. As of which thread to use for quilting, also depends on the quilt. If the quilt will be washed often and used daily, I will use 40 wt on the top and bottom. For a fancy wallhanging, I will use thread as fine as 60 wt for the top and bottom. About colors, this time it depends on what you want your quilt to look like. Sometimes I want my quilting to show. This is not well accomplished in a quilt that has many colors and printed fabrics. You do this better with mild prints and solid colors, and you can use a shinny thread or a very contrasting one. If you want your piecing to show more, use a more muted tone for the quilting. If possible, then change colors when changing the area of the quilt, but make sure your stitches are well anchored at the start and end of each color, and be very careful if jumping from one area to another. I only do this if my quilt is basted or heavily pinned. I don't like basting or pinning, so I mainly stitch adjacent areas rather than jumping around, even if that means frequent color changes.
    Hope this helps.

    Maria

  5. #5
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I would be leery of using this thread on items that are going to be washed often.

  6. #6
    Member marlet's Avatar
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    I have seen it recommended that you do not use the nylon invisible thread on quilts, but to use the polyester invisible thread since the poly is softer and less likely to "poke" - if you are quilting a bed, or baby quilt. The nylon, of course, it fine for a wall hanging, but I have had both and truly prefer the poly one no matter what I'm quilting, since it is just softer and easier to use, in my estimation. I must say, my nylon invisible thread is being ignored in my thread stash.

  7. #7
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    I quilted with the nylon thread once or twice. Never again. I like to use a varigated thread and then I don't have to change thread colors on the top

  8. #8
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    I quilted one quilt with the invisible thread and it held up well. However, it was a pain and I didn't like the end effect. I prefer to see my quilting and often use a variegated thread. No, I do not change the color. I may use a different color in the bobbin than in the top, but in general, I try to match the top and bobbin thread weight.

  9. #9

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    I have sure learned some good information here (as I always seem to!) I don't understand what varigated thread is, don't recall ever seeing anything like that.
    Thanks everyone!

  10. #10
    k3n
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    Joan they are threads that change shade every few inches. Some are more muted and the change is subtle and some are really bright. Trying to attach a link. :-D

    http://www.marthasquiltingcorner.com...g-tut-thread-1

  11. #11

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    Thank you K3N, the link came thru fine.
    The thread is a great idea, wonder if Joanne has it, never knew to look for it.

  12. #12
    k3n
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    I can't really help you with suppliers Joan, I'm in France and order my thread online from the UK. Connecting Threads doesn't seem to have variegated. I did a quick Google of 'variegated quilting threads' and loads of US suppliers came up though. ;-)

  13. #13
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    When piecing blocks I use neutral color thread for top and bobbin. I buy the big cones from Connecting thread for piecing and I like very thin thread in my bobbin so when I find size 60 or 80 thread on sale I stock up on that too. For machine quilting I pick a thread that will blend with the back of the quilt. I like thin thread for machine quilting, the stitches sink into the quilt.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by BellaBoo
    When piecing blocks I use neutral color thread for top and bobbin. I buy the big cones from Connecting thread for piecing and I like very thin thread in my bobbin so when I find size 60 or 80 thread on sale I stock up on that too. For machine quilting I pick a thread that will blend with the back of the quilt. I like thin thread for machine quilting, the stitches sink into the quilt.
    BellaBoo, what is the advantage of thin thread in the bobbin?

  15. #15
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    The bobbin last longer! And the seam is thinner not adding bulk to the seam when pressing to one side.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by BellaBoo
    The bobbin last longer! And the seam is thinner not adding bulk to the seam when pressing to one side.
    I didn't know that! Does Connecting Threads sell a thinner thread? Where do you usually get yours?

  17. #17
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    To offer some solutions to JoanofPa:
    1. Can I use regular thread or must it be quilting.
    The type of thread you select is a very personal decision, and it depends upon what look you are going for. I don't like the thread of my machine quilting to be highly noticable on traditional quilts. What I want to see is the texture that the quilting provides. For that reason, I usually use a very fine weight cotton thread (such as Mettler 60/2 cotton embroidery thread or another thread which is called "bottom line" which is a 60 weight polyester thread which is very fine).
    When you look at the information on the thread spool and it has a weight/ply count the first number is the thread weight and the larger the number, the finer the thread. The second number is the number of plys, which, just like embroidery floss, is the number of strands you have making up the thread. 2 is thinner than 3 because there are fewer plys of long staple cotton combined to make the strand of thread.

    When selecting the color, I unwind a piece of the thread and lay it across the quilt top and then see which blends the most. I will use a thread which blends with the backing (same weight and make whenever possible) in my bobbin. You will have best results if your backing and quilt top are of similar value, then if you have a dark top, let's say, you would have a rather dark thread in your top, and you would have a dark backing and a rather dark thread in your bobbin. That way if there are any little blips where your bobbin thread comes up too far, you won't notice it.
    Any thread marked "quilting" is really meant for hand quilting and it is not meant for your machine.


    2. If I would try the invisible quilting thread should it be threaded from top or bottom.
    If you are using invisible thread, you have a few choices, nylon or poly. Again, the important thing here is the weight. If you use a heavier (often less expensive) nylon thread, you will often feel like you have just quilted your quilt with fishing line. It has a very unwelcoming feel, in my opinion.
    The important thing to look for (again IMO) is the weight of that thread, which should be .004 or less.
    Those threads come in smoke color for darker fabrics and clear for lighter fabrics and they blend beautifully from one color to another. very useful on things like batiks and fabrics and quilts with high contrast where you don't want to change threads all the time.


    3. The biggie for me! Do you all change thread color everytime you move to another color area of the quilt in the works?
    When you are piecing the quilt, try to select a good quality piecing thread (i prefer cotton and I love the Mettler mentioned above) which is neutral and blends with the majority of your fabrics. To keep your machine happy, use the same brand thread in the needle and bobbin.
    For quilting, your bobbin thread will be consistent and you *may* change the thread in your needle, if you have something like a 2 color quilt. But if you are doing patchwork with a lot of different fabrics, simply try to select a thread that blends well with the majority of the fabrics in your quilt top.


    That one baffles me when I see all the contrasting fabrics you use.
    If there is so much contrast that you feel your thread is standing out too much, then consider the monofilament .004 clear or smokey.
    If you take care to use a fine thread and blend it with the majority of your fabrics, you would be amazed at how well it will blend and you will no longer worry about the need to use a different color. Again you should lay the single strand of thread you are previewing across your quilt top and look at several, selecting the one that blends the best. Looking at the spools laying on the quilt top does not do it.


    Thanks! I am learning so much here. Have two table runners to quilt and so seeing that post was really good timing
    [color=blue]If you are putting piping hot plates on your runners, you may want to shy away from nylon thread. But if you intend to use them for the center centerpiece and candles, then the nylon or poly would be fine.

    The only time I don't consider monofilament/nylon or poly is on baby quilts. If the quilting ever pulls out, it is possible (though not likely) that tiny fingers may be caught in the loose stitches and the thread would not give.. Cotton thread would not pose as much of a threat to little ones.

    If you have trouble finding threads to try or to use. you can look for them on a supplier web site:
    http://www.checkerdist.com/products/threads

    if you place them from the site into a wish list, this web site will order the threads for you and ship to you (you can't order directly off the supplier site unless you are a store).
    http://www.quiltersparadiseonline.co...les=0&lastmenu

    Hope this helps.
    Lisa
    Water Mill NY

  18. #18
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    When I bought my machine--the seller suggested only nylon thread--lint issues I guess. I've stuck with it. Gutermann is what it likes. I change colors all the time. :-D

    I always do as Lisa mentioned--lay a strand of thread across a top to decide thread color. My quilter and I lay several out before a decision is made.

  19. #19
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I like Coats and Clark bobbin thread on the mini king cone, not the spool. It's very thin and strong. My bobbin seems to last forever using it. http://www.coatsandclark.com/Product...bin+Thread.htm

    Another good bobbin thread is Bottom Line thread by superior threads. http://www.superiorthreads.com/shop/...e/description/

  20. #20
    k3n
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    Lisa that is great info thanks! :-D

    I do use the quilting thread in my machine and have had issues with the fibres gradually clogging up the eye of the needle then the thread snaps. It's not too serious - say on the FMQ of a bed quilt, it happens 2 or 3 times in total. But it always makes me say bad words because of course everytime it happens - that's FOUR more ends to sew in! I've just got some top stitch needles (on the recommendation of a more experienced friend) and am going to give those a try. They have a larger eye so should help with this. :-D

  21. #21
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Wow!!! I have learned so much about thread in reading this :D:D:D Thank you all for sharing. I will try a topstitch needle when I get to FMQ too :D:D:D

  22. #22

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    Such great information! Thanks so much!

  23. #23
    wishiwerequilting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by k3n
    Lisa that is great info thanks! :-D

    I do use the quilting thread in my machine and have had issues with the fibres gradually clogging up the eye of the needle then the thread snaps. It's not too serious - say on the FMQ of a bed quilt, it happens 2 or 3 times in total. But it always makes me say bad words because of course everytime it happens - that's FOUR more ends to sew in! I've just got some top stitch needles (on the recommendation of a more experienced friend) and am going to give those a try. They have a larger eye so should help with this. :-D
    [color=blue] Yes, that quilting thread is not the recommended item. When you think of it, when you are hand quilting the needle goes up and you pull through several stitches at once, and the thread is done doing it's job.
    When you are machine quilting from the time the thread leaves the spool on the machine, until it actually lands in your quilt, it has moved through a lot of pieces in your machine, and through the eye of the needle and it has experienced something completely different than the hand quilting thread.
    Consequently, when you see a spool marked "quilting" thread, it is for hand quilting.
    There are so many threads to choose from! I learned to machine quilt long ago from a wonderful prize winning quilter who was hooked on the Mettler thread, and consequently I am also. I have experimented with a few others recently, which I like.
    It's worthwhile to ask your machine dealer what thread is recommended for your machine too, as sometimes machines are cranky about what you feed them.
    And sometimes, you can be messing up your machine by using threads which are not appropriate, so i think it is worthwhile to experiment a bit with some of the threads which are specifically recommended for machine quilting on a domestic machine. If you see a thread which has a famous machine quilter's endorsement or name on it, usually that is a sign that they are using it successfully and enjoy it. I have a tendency to branch out from my comfort zone that way sometimes. But I have to say 9 times out of 10 I will take that Mettler 60/2 embroidery thread any time, for piecing or machine quilting.
    If you find some products you love, be sure to share with the group!
    Lisa

  24. #24
    k3n
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    Thanks Lisa - the thread I buy is actually from the same company that supplied my machine and it is recommended by them for machine quilting... :-D

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