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Thread and Machine Needles

Thread and Machine Needles

Old 06-04-2020, 10:03 AM
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Default Thread and Machine Needles

I looked around the Superior Threads website to see what they have. Needless to say, they have so much, it is confusing for someone who basically relied on the military exchange store for my sewing needs. That also means that I basically have only the thread I purchased as many as 40 years ago right now. And all that was on small spools, or about 100 to 250 yards of thread.

What I would like to know is what weight thread do I use when piecing together the front part of a quilt.

What weight thread do I need when sewing the backing, batting and that front piece together?

And finally, do needles match thread weights? What I mean is, if you are using a 50 weight thread, do needles have to be designated for that weight class?

These are two tasks. What are the types of needles required for each task. I would imagine the actual quilting of the three layers would require a stronger needle, and the needle would have to accommodate the thread weight required for the task.

Can I get by with just two types of machine needles, or will I need a bigger variety?

What colour of thread would I need for the piecing together of the front part of the quilt. I am imagining black or gray would be OK , as the thread would not show, but are there exceptions?

And I am guessing that the quilting thread would have to match the dominate colour of the quilt, though I am probably wrong.

Sorry if these are basic things most people know, but having been basically married to the military for 24 years, didn't give me much experience when it came to basic home type stuff.

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Old 06-04-2020, 10:18 AM
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A good all around thread is a 50 wt. if you get a variety package of needles, that should get you going. I mostly use 90/14 for most sewing and a package of quilting needles for quilting the quilt sandwich.
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Old 06-04-2020, 11:06 AM
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It seems like you are mostly "starting from scratch" on this quilting adventure.

I am glad that I took a hand-piecing class. It convinced me that one can do a lot without a machine.

If the following is a repeat - sorry - I did a quick look to see if I had posted the following recently -

Jinny Beyer does a lot of hand piecing and quilting. I think she is currently around 78 years old.

Anyway - for hand piecing a top - a minimum supply list:

needles - for hand piecing, I like sharps - John James brand - size 9 to 11. The 9's are bigger and the 11's are more "delicate'
Sometimes I just use a needle that I can get threaded - which might be an 8.
(Hand sewing needles - the smaller the number, the bigger the needle. Machine sewing needles - the larger the number, the "heftier" the needle. )
thimble - make sure it fits - one can flatten a round one into an ellipse, and it will stay on better
Marking tool - I prefer "non-liquid" markers, such as a chalk pencil or a lead pencil

That is all many people used - way back when - and they did beautiful work.

For piecing, I prefer to use 75 or 80 size machine needle.

You will see that we have differing ideas about what we prefer to use.

I have a huge supply of cotton covered Dual Duty general purpose thread by Coats & Clark. My machines do fine with it. Many people do not care for it .I think if the thread rack says "general purpose", it will work for piecing. I have not noticed thread weights (like 40, 50, 60) on thread spools for quite a while .

Some info on thread weights:

For colors of thread- I used to think it had to match very closely - not so much anymore.

If buying only a few spools of thread now - I think white, dark gray (could also use that on black) , sort of a greenish gray, and maybe a light medium - I have learned that if I squint, almost any "medium" color will disappear on another "medium" color.

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Old 06-04-2020, 11:07 AM
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So Fine by Superior would be a good starter thread for both piecing and the Quilting. As a Quilting thread it is fine enough that it usually blends in well and lets the "piecing" be the star of the quilt, not the quilting....and as I generally piece better than I quilt (the actual quilting takes a fair amount of practice to get really good)...I don't always want the quilting thread to show. I probably would just use an 80 needle with it generally but it would be good to have a 90 on hand also in case I needed it for the quilting part...ummm….if you don't want to get a lot of thread colors….I would stick to a cream and a light or medium grey....because this colors will actually blend in pretty well with most....the cream will blend in with warm colors and grey with the cool colors....you can of course go wild and just get one of the "sets" of colors....but I really do find my self using cream and grey a lot....Superior thread actually has a lot of guides on their website as to size of needles and the uses of each thread....
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Old 06-04-2020, 11:21 AM
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bearisgray, Unfortunately I cannot hand sew. I do not have the flexibility in my right hand anymore. I cannot even make my finger tips touch the palm of that hand. One reason why I want to try machine quilting. It allows me to basically just use my finger tips.

Thanks for the tip on markers. I was totally in the dark how to do this. I will look for chalk pencils, if I can find something I think I can use.

Sewingpup, I forgot about their tutorials at Superior Threads. I'll try to take a few hours and try to go through it all, if my brain can handle all that information in one sitting. I thought about getting a thread colour set, but that is pretty expensive, so I will go with the two colours you mentioned to get started.
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Old 06-04-2020, 11:42 AM
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I use a top stitch 12 or 14 needles for sewing, I use Connecting Threads Essentials thread, I don't think you can beat the price, but it is a little linty, for the actual quilting I use Metro Machine Embroidery thread, and again I don't think you can beat their prices either.
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Old 06-04-2020, 04:23 PM
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I use Coats & Clark threads mainly and their quilting thread. I piece with a size 14 and quilt (FMQ) with size 16. I wear rubber gardening gloves or gardening gloves with rubber nubs. the gloves allow you to move the quilt sandwich easier. They are very cheap and last a long time. Buy mine at WalMart.
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Old 06-04-2020, 05:40 PM
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OK, I got a little confused with just the small numbers without the larger ones. I am guessing 90/14 and 100/16. And someone mentioned that top stitch needles are very good all around for piecing and quilting.

I will look into the different manufacturers threads to see what I can find. I tend to purchase everything other than food on Amazon due to the fact where I live, the only real store for 60 miles is WalMart. And that WalMart is sold out of everything that has to do with crafts. I just cannot see driving 120 miles round trip for a $50 purchase. As it is, the WalMart is a 40 mile round trip. Yes, 29 Palms is basically the boonies, where the local rattlesnakes look down upon us country hicks.

Anyway, I am slowly learning about the things associated with the hobby. It will just take me time to get thing ingrained in the old gray matter.
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Old 06-04-2020, 06:22 PM
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For what its worth: I piece with Aurifil or Prescenia thread. I've never used King Tut as I have plenty of the other. Machine piece with either an 80 or 70 needle. For quilting as a longarmer before retiring I used A&E thread and a larger needle on my Gammill. On my home machine sometimes I still use my A&E thread and a larger needle.
Aurifil and Prescenia thread is made from a long staple cotton and has Much less fuzz than the stuff you can get at Wallyworld, etc. My machines love those threads. I have Singer, several Babylocks, and a Bernina. No problems in any of my machines.
If your older threads break easily please throw them away.
Just a tip: you no not need every thread in the rainbow to piece your quilt tops. I use: white, natural, lt gray, dark gray and black.
I hope this has been helpful.
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Old 06-04-2020, 07:35 PM
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when I started quilting, I pretty much figured it out as I went along. nobody ever taught me and I wasn't savvy enough for internet forums or youtube. I really just used any thread that was on sale and don't think I changed the needle in my machine for years, so just used whatever came with the machine during that time. Later, when I decided I wanted to be more sophisticated, I tried learning about the different options. I got so confused and it seemed like everybody did things differently, so I am now back to "whatever is on sale".
That being said, I currently piece, quilt, and do everything in between with whatever thread is on hand, that includes embroidery thread, cotton thread, 40 or 50 weight, various colors (I don't even have to match my bobbin to my top). I have name brand stuff and cheaper stuff from Joanns. I just refuse to use "old" thread.... that is my only standard. I typically just use the universal needles 80/12, though I hear the top stitch needles are good. when I go through my "sophisticated" phase again, they are on my list to try, but I'm doing fine without them right now.

I say all that to encourage you not to get all bogged down by the details. grab some new thread and needles and just start sewing! (well, I *do* recommend changing your needle more often!)
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