Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What I know about thread

Last night a few of us were tweeting about thread, the kind we like and don't like, colors, bobbins, where to put your thread on your machine and so on. I want to share with you a few things I have learned about thread in my quilting classes. Of course there are no 'laws' in quilting, you do what works best for you. This is just what I do and some reasons for it.

1. The type of thread I use matches the fabric I use. If I am using cotton fabric then I use cotton thread. This just seems to make sense.
2. There are long staple and short staple threads. Long Staple thread means that the thread is longer before it is spun with another thread. This kind has less breakage than short staple thread.
3. Thread can get old.
4. Keep thread out of direct sunlight, sunlight can weaken thread.
5. I find it best to match the brand and weight for the top and and bobbin, although you can mix colors. This keeps your stitches more even and they lay flat better.
6. The way the thread is wound on the spool is very important. If the thread is wound straight it must be on your spool holder that goes straight up. The reason for this is that if it's sideways the thread will spin when it comes off the spool (think of the way a barbershop pole spins). This will cause all sorts of problems with your stitches and needles. The spools that are crisscross wound can go either straight up or on its side.

I am planning a test of different brands of thread and might need some volunteers to help. Stay tuned for info about that.  

Sha :)


  1. I'm terrible about matching my threads - if I'm piecing, and the colors are dark, you'll see whatever color was in my machine last on the back - or even just some ugly colors I'm trying to use up! I always match when you'll be able to see it, though.

    My aunt swears by NOT using Gutermann, because it doesn't fit on her machine - fine with me, since she shipped it all to me! haha! :)

  2. Thanks for the info. Funny how sometimes the thread choice is overlooked and the havoc this can cause!


  3. As regards #6, how does a person know whether the thread was wound straight up or sideways?

  4. Not only am I particular about which thread I use, I am just sooo particular about the color of my thread matching the design of the quilt...and am waiting on pins and needles until (insert favorite thread company here) gets a thread that will coordinate with Sandy Gervais' Lovely fabric...plus Ruby!!!

  5. I would love to help you test. I am new to quilting so have no prior experience with any type of threads. I have been using my dual duty for by piecing that is leftover from my garment sewing days many years ago.

  6. Great post! I do have a question...how do you tell the difference between a short staple and long staple thread before you buy it, or do you go by brand?? I'd be very interested in thread testing. You know which brand I'm interested in testing by our discussion last night!!
    lroghair (at) aol (dot) com


What do you think? I'd love to hear from you :)