Friday, March 20, 2015

WHY THREAD MATTERS

I have had several posts in mind, but just not the time or energy to actually put them together.  So today I want to share with you a few fun tips I have learned, or been reminded of, as I have been busy stitching away these last few months.  Here are some thoughts on thread.

This is a quilt that uses log cabin blocks.  As you can see, there are several seams in each block--about 7 pieces across each block.  The more seams you have in a block, the greater chance you have for it to be distorted or come out the wrong size.  For instance, if you don't sew in an EXACT 1/4" seam, the block can be bigger or smaller than it should be. 


You can see here that there are 10 blocks in each row going across this quilt.  What if I was off by just "a smidgen" in each seam--that's 7 seams per block and 10 blocks, so 70 places where I can goof up the sizing of my quilt!

I am not one to freak out over accuracy, but I do a few things to check and make sure things are coming out right.  It just makes everything easier!  I measure each block as I go and make sure they are the right size before sewing them together.  I trim the ones that are a bit too large, and mark the ones that are too small, so that I can adjust in the seam allowance of the block seams.  This way my borders always are cut to length and go on perfectly.

One thing that REALLY helps with keeping my seams accurate is the thread.  I use Aurifil 50 wt on my machine for all my piecing.  This strong, but very thin, thread sews in so smoothly, and doesn't take up any room in the seam allowance when pressing the seams to one side.  It may seem (seam) silly but it really does make a difference.  If you think about being off by just 1/70th of an inch across this whole quilt, I would be off by a WHOLE INCH in the row!

That is one reason that I love Auriful 50 wt thread--very accurate piecing.  Your machine will love it, too for it's smooth and lint free finish.  And, bonus, because it is so thin, your bobbin will hold a ton, and not run out so quickly!

Oh, and I should not forget to tell you that my quilts are quilted with Aurifil, too.  Maika did a beautiful job on the quilting of this one, as usual--I wish you could see it up close!

As you know, I also use Aurifil 50 wt threads for my applique.  (Remember, the 50 weight thread comes on the orange spool.)


I love how the fine, thin thread just melts into my fabrics and never shows!  It doesn't tangle as I stitch, either.  I think this is because it is a 2-ply thread and doesn't have as many twists on it as a 3-ply.  Still, it is very strong because of the high quality long staple Egyptian cotton it is made of.  The colors are amazing, and I can easily find a match for my applique pieces.

If you haven't tried Aurifil threads before, I think you should.  I have been so happy with them!  They make me a better quilter.

To recap,  the top 10 REASONS WHY I LOVE AURIFIL:

1.  Fine, thin 50 wt--thinner than other 50 weights.
2.  A heavy, dense thread that is very strong for it's diameter.
3.  Makes piecing more accurate.
4.  Smooth and lint free--my machine's favorite!
5.  Doesn't show in my hand applique
6.  Doesn't tangle when hand stitching--perfect for bindings and applique.
7.  My bobbin doesn't run out as fast!
8.  Hundreds of beautiful colors.
9.  Perfect for machine quilting.
10. I have used it for 15 years, and wouldn't use anything else!

Stay tuned, I am planning to do some work with some of the heavier weights of Aurifil in the near future.  I just got my samples today in 40wt, 28wt and 12 wt.


Delicious colors, right?  Do you use any of the heavier weight Aurifil threads?  I want to hear about it!  Leave me a comment about how and where you use them,  and you can help me with my new post!

Thanks!!

19 comments:

pearshapedinwales said...

I have used a 60 weight Mettler thread for piecing for exact the same reason you mention - a thin thread that doesn't take up room in the SA. Only recently I found a shop that sells Aurifil 50 weight cotton and bought one spool originally to quilt a quilt and I fell in love. It is sooooo smooth to quilt with and when I encountered problems with a new spool of Mettler that seemed to break and lint (probably been in the shop for ages and pushed to the back of stand for ages) I put on the leftover of the Aurifil to finish a block. Now I want to use up the rest of my Mettler and cross to Aurifil. Sadly it is very hard to come by where I am. I haven't seen it in a heavier variety but have some poly longarm thread I use for machine embroidery (got it years ago on mainland Europe and that is lovely to use too.
Love your quilt - so cheerful

Joanie Schwarzbeck said...

I just started using Aurifil threads in the last 8 months or so. What a difference!!! I always read how people complained about how expensive it is and it is not at all! I generally use the 50 wt. It is smooth and so easy to work with! I will never go back!

Tina said...

Thank you SO much for this post! I am so confused as to 'what' is a good thread for patchwork and what is a good thread for appliqué (as you can see, I'm fairly new to this!) I really appreciate your information!!!!

bonniequilt said...

Thread weights can be so intimidating to sewers..me!! I just started using a 50wt with this brand Aufifil and it is everything you say. But I also used the 40wt and I don't know the difference. Which one is supposed to be in the bobbin or can you use both? Your style of quilting is what I aim for so I am looking for your suggestions. Also, is there one used just for piecing on the machine?? thank you for your advice

Denise Cabral said...

The quilt in this post is just beautiful! When can I buy the pattern?

Lori said...

Can Aurafil be purchased online?

Beverly Wood said...

I haven't had the same good fortune with Aurifil thread on my Bernina. It works great with my Singer Featherweights but when quilting, I use my Bernina. I can't figure it out. I use Wonderfil thread for quilting. No problems whatsoever.

Kizzie said...

The Aurifil 12 wt. is great for redwork. It sits much better on the fabric than 2 strands of floss. Just wish that size had a larger color choice.

Rebecca Grace said...

LOVE my Aurifil threads. They play nicely on my Featherweights, and on my Bernina 750 also. I do lower the tension on the 'Nina to about 3.0 for Aurifil (too tight tension may be why your other commenter is not getting good results with Aurifil on her Bernina). I use the 50 weight Aurifil for piecing and for dense background quilting, but the 40 weight is nice for quilting designs that are more open, with less backtracking, and a longer stitch length. Just a different look.

Karen in Breezy Point said...

I just discovered 12 Wt. Aurifil and I have been using it for embroidery--love it!

Sally Hurst said...

I love Aurifil 50 wt so much; it is all I use for piecing. I have used it for machine quilting as well, but only quilt small pieces. I switched over from Mettler thread to Aurifil years ago, and couldn't be happier! I buy basic colors of it in the large cone, and it lasts forever!

Laura said...

I sewed for many years thinking thread was thread. Then I tried Aurifil. It is the only thread I will use now for piecing. My bobbins last so much longer than they used to.

But I still use Gutterman for hand sewing because I get too many knots with Aurifil.

Kathryn said...

I buy Aurufil in bulk so that I never run out. I love it too.

Maxine said...

Thank you so much for the info. I have just started using Aurifil thread 50 wt. I have not tried it for applique yet, but plan on doing so soon...

Deb said...

Thanks for the information. I recently started quilting on a mid arm and am amazed by all of the lint that it builds up between bobbin changes. I am going to give a different brand of thread a try on my next quilt.

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Jan said...

Thread choices can be intimidating! Thank you for your post. (You've got one span comment!)

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Kathryn Oppelt said...

Great thread information, thank you!
When will this pattern be available (hint hint)?