Many of my quilting and sewing friends have often expressed the wish that a local fabric store would carry the threads they like to use. I was asked yesterday to provide a fabric store in the area that currently only carries Gutterman, Mettler, some YLI, and Isacord with my suggestions for threads I wished they would carry. Now I realize my own needs in threads may differ from others, but I don’t use any of the ones they carry except for Isacord because of the way they perform with my machines. So I have been doing a bit of a survey on Facebook and The Quilt Show and by direct contact to find out how my own choices in threads match theirs.
For piecing, some machine quilting, and several applique methods one needs a very thin strong thread that does not leave a lot of lint in your machine and the colors are sure not to run or fade. These also work if you are a hand piecer, quilter, and appliquer. For quilting thread choice depends on what you are trying to achieve. For all of these, there are some great threads, and no way could any single store carry them all. I put an asterisk in front of the ones I think are most important to add at first.
Aurifil: *50 wt. cotton…neutrals and colors as much as you can stock40 and 30 wt cottons for embroidery and decorative stitching in colors.Superior:*60 wt. Bottom Line…polyester…for bobbins, piecing, quilting, heirloom sewing, machine applique as many colors as you can stock.*50 wt. MasterPiece…cotton…for piecing, quilting, heirloom sewing*50 wt. So Fine…polyester, in as many colors as you can stock..for piecing, quilting, and fashion sewing (most popular in my survey)
40 wt. King Tut…cotton…colors for quilting and machine applique when you want it to show40 wt. Magnifico colors for shinier embroidery and quilting when you want it to show40 wt. Rainbows for quilting, embroidery, and machine applique I use these a lot100 wt. Kimono silk12 wt. Sew Sassy…for redwork, quilting when you really want it to show, and decorative stitchingRazzle Dazzle..for couching and bobbin work..I use this a lotMetallics just the basic golds, and silver*Monopoly extra fine polyester low lustre clear. Try it you’ll like it.Fil-Tec 40 wt. Glide…a large percentage of professional longarmers recommend this. I have never used it.Wonderfil also has a great reputation and is used by some leading quilters, but I have not had much experience with it except for their metallics, which work in my machines much like Superior’s. They do have an 80 wt polyester that I have one spool of and it seems to do well for bobbins and in place of silk.And my favorite hand quilter, a leading hand quilter in the country and a great quilt historian, highly recommends Presencia threads. I use the thicker ones of this for bobbin work, couching, and hand embroidery and they are wonderful.I have had a terrible time using most monopoly threads, and generally don’t like the way they look because I can see the shine and it looks like plastic to me, but Superior has come out with one I really like…the only problem I have with it is seeing it well enough to thread the machine (you have to hand thread the needle). That is Superior’s extra fine polyester clear. It sews really well in my 830 too if I use a 75 needle and lower my top tension. A lot of quilters like monopoly because they don’t have to worry about color choices. I only use it when I need to hide my stitching as much as possible (stitch-in-the-ditch), for machine applique when I’m trying to look like hand applique and don’t have a matching color in 100 wt silk, and when I have to cross a lot of colors and don’t want to compete with the design. I use it in the bobbin also when I do this.
Metallics have always been problematic for me. I have tried nearly every brand, and there are only two I have found work well for me…those are Superior Metallics and Wonderfil, which perform about the same. I have also used Finca Metallics with success, and they are really beautiful. The tension settings make a huge difference in how these work. I found, contrary to everything any of the thread people say, that INCREASING the top tension is necessary to make it work well in my 830, and REDUCING the top tension in my 350 and 1230 and using polyester in the bobbin. Cotton bobbins will not do with metallics hardly at all. I do not use any other metallics, because they just are miserable in their performance in any of my machines. Some recommend Yenmet, but I have not been happy with it, and I have some of it in my stash. It seems to work ok in my old Bernina 1230 and my little B350, though, but my Bernina 830 doesn’t like it at all.I do use Isacord a lot for my machine embroidery.