(Apologies to my non-quilting/sewing readers…you may be excused from this post if you so choose…)
When I first started quilting, I didn’t really know anything about thread, and what was important to look for. I pieced with Gutermann (100% polyester), until I was told that I should only be using cotton. I was a cotton purist when I first started as a longarm quilter (more than 6 years ago!), but after learning more about thread from Bob Purcell at Superior Threads, I use a lot of different kinds of threads. However, I am careful to match the kind and weight of thread to the purpose, and I try to use the thread in the way in which it was intended. I do not profess to be an expert about this topic, but wanted to share a few thoughts about some things I’ve learned.
These days, my thread of choice for piecing is a cotton thread (matching the fiber content of the thread to the fabric). For the last several months I have been using Masterpiece Thread by Superior Threads. It’s extra-long staple Egyptian cotton and is extremely smooth. It’s a 2-ply 50 weight thread, which means it is fairly thin. I never thought much about the impact of the thread weight on the accuracy of my piecing until I tried this thread, and let me tell you: I can tell a difference in the seams using this thinner thread. And you can tell from the picture above that I’ve used a lot of it. I think this might be my 3rd finished cone of Masterpiece. That’s 3000 yards per cone….
Masterpiece Thread comes in a gob of colors, but honestly: I almost exclusively use neutral colors for piecing. The cone you see above has served me well for quite a few of the quilts I’ve pieced recently. I also like to use gray, and I do also use a white if the pieces I’m sewing together are both white.
There are other nice piecing threads on the market from other companies. This just happens to be my choice. And other than being a satisfied customer, I am not affiliated with Superior Threads.
I have tried using this thread on my longarm, and it did not work well for that purpose. But! It wasn’t intended to be used on a high-speed longarm quilting machine. I read a lot about people who are trying to use super-thin threads on their longarms and being frustrated when they don’t work well. Do you know how many times a section of thread passes through the eye of the needle before it actually gets formed into a stitch? (Well, I don’t know the number, but I do know that it is a lot…) Between that and the stress placed on the thread at every point it touches metal along the thread path: it’s no surprise that delicate threads can be frustrating to use on a longarm. Oh sure, there are lots of tricks you can use to baby a thread along, and some people are quite successful at doing so: but my life is too short to use thread that causes me grief. I prefer to stick with the threads that I know behave well on my machine.
These days, that list includes a wide variety of threads: Sew Fine (by Superior), Arc Poly (from MelcoMart), Signature cotton (by A&E), King Tut (Superior), plus more. Discussion of threads kinds and colors and their usage on a longarm could go on for days…so I’ll leave it at that for the time being.
I would highly encourage readers who want to know more about thread to visit Superior Threads website. If you click on the button labeled EDUCATION, you will be taken to a list of topics about thread. There is more there than you probably want to know.
I need to go eat some lunch and then get some more things checked off of my have-to-do-before-I-leave list, so: