Using the right thread and using it rightly

As you all know, I am one of the 45 Aurifil Artisans worldwide. I love this thread and using it has truly changed my life. Today I am going to share some information about how to choose thread for a project and then what needle and what machine settings to use with it to make it work the best.

thread-talks-how-to-choose-the-right-thread-and-how-to-use-it-rightly

Before I started using Aurifil, whenever I had to choose thread, color was the only criteria that I used. As I started using better thread and saw the difference I worked hard to understand the importance of using the right thread.

Why is thread so important?

Well, I learnt it the hard way. I will tell you two stories to make my point. 

Long back, I had made a quilt with some lovely linen. I used a local brand polyester thread to quilt it. I was really proud of my work. After finishing, I took it to the ironing table to remove the creases. You all know how stubborn linen is when it comes to creases. This one was no different. I turned my iron full throttle, sprayed the hell out of that quilt and began ironing! Everything was okay for a while, but then I smelled smoke. And I realized the horror that had transpired under the iron! The super hot iron on the linen setting had burnt my beautiful quilting because it was polyester and could not stand the heat! All that effort was spoiled. Not just did the thread burn away but it actually formed half burnt polyester clumps and stuck to the quilt. The quilt was completely gone!

The second story is when I made a lovely grey, white and baby pink quilt for a little girl. The quilt had turned out fabulous! Since it was intended to be used immediately, I decided to wash the quilt before I gifted it. I had used all designer fabric in the quilt and knew that it did not bleed color. So I did not bother with soaking it in the color fix solution. It looked okay when it was done washing. But after putting it out to dry, the thread started bleeding color onto the beautiful quilt! All of my lovely quilting had a shocking pink halo around it! The little girl did use the quilt, mainly because the mom knew how much efforts I had put into making it and she also knew that the fabric I had ordered was specially for the quilt. But I wasn't satisfied!

That is when I switched to using Aurifil for all my projects. Even if it means buying a spool for 10 USD (@650-700 rupees) instead of 5 rupees!

How to choose the right thread?

There are three criteria you will need to judge the thread on to find the right thread for your project.

Color : You can choose to use a matching, blending or a contrast thread, depending on your design.

For quilts that do not have many different colors, I usually opt for a matching thread both for piecing as well as quilting. 

In this quilt - #viewPOINT, I matched my thread perfectly with the hand dyed fabric that I used for the quilt because I did not want it to stand out.

If my quilt has too many colors, I usually opt for a blending color. My go-to blending color is 2310 - Light Beige.

Aurifil-2310-light-beige

I love how the thread just blends in with any colors.

Sometimes though, I need to make a statement - especially with the quilting. That is when I choose a contrasting thread. I love the pop of colors on this quilt. 

Material

If you are piecing or quilting on a domestic machine I highly recommend using cotton thread. 

But if you are quilting on a long arm machine I would recommend you use a polyester thread. (Aurifil has polyester cones available)

Sometimes, especially when I do not want to focus on the quilting, but use it only to bind the three layers  together, I use Monofilament thread. I also use them when I am making portrait quilts. I love that it comes in two shades - white (for light fabrics) and smoke (for dark fabrics)

Weight

Have you seen a number on your thread spool? Normally it will be something like 50/2. What does that number mean? 

The first number - in this case 50 - is the weight of the thread while the second number - in this case 2 - indicates the number of strands that are plied together. So a 50/2 Cotton thread means that it is a 2 ply thread of 50 wt cotton strands.

The most simplest way to remember thread weights is to remember that the bigger the number of the weight, the thinner the thread is. So a 50 wt thread will be thinner than a 28 wt thread.

Below, I am sharing with you the information about all the threads that Aurifil makes that will help you decide not only the best thread for your project, but also the best way to use it.

80 wt Cotton : This is the newest thread introduced by Aurifil and ever since I have used it I am in love with it! It just disappears into the seams!
It is available in 88 vibrant, luxurious colors available on a beautiful cherry wooden spool that holds of 300 yards (274 meters)
Photo credit : Auribuzz
Recommended for - but not limited to - 
English Paper Piecing
Hand Applique
Machine Embroidery
Machine Applique
Free Motion Quilting
Free Motion Couching
Other recommendations :
70/10 or 80/12 Microtex/Sharp or Embroidery Needle with 80wt in the bobbin.
For hand sewing, use a short length of thread, around 12”-18” to reduce tangling and breaking.
Some prefer to condition the thread when hand sewing, though it isn’t necessary.
 
50 wt Cotton : This is the most popular weight in Aurifil. This is found on the orange spools. It is the perfect thread for piecing as it does not add any bulk to your seams. It is available in all 270 colors, on a small spool of 220 yards (or 200 meters), a large spool of 1422 yards (or 1300 meters) or a cone of 6452 yards (or 5900 meters).
Photo credit :  AuriBuzz - visit the blog to know more about this wonderful thread.
Recommended for - but not limited to -
Needle Turn Applique
English Paper Piecing
Hand Piecing
Bobbin and Machine Lace
Machine Applique (Straight Stitch, ZigZag, Blind Hem and Blanket Stitch) Machine Embroidery
Dense Machine Quilting
Subtle Machine and Longarm Quilting
Basting
Whole Cloth and Micro Quilting
Dense Background Designs.
 
Other recommendations :
80/12 Microtex/Sharp
Universal Needles
Quilting Needles
Denim Needles (use 50wt in the bobbin)
Longarm quilters will use 4.0 Longarm Needles (use 50wt in the bobbin).
40 wt Cotton : This is another popular weight when it comes to Aurifil thread. It comes on a lovely green spool.  It is available in all 270 colors on a small spool of 164 yards (150 meters), a large spool of 1094 yards (1,000 meters) and a cone of 5140 yards (5000 meters).
Photo credit :  AuriBuzz 
Recommended for - but not limited to -
Single, Double or Triple Strand Cross Stitch
Hand Piecing
Bobbin and Machine Lace
Machine Applique
Machine Embroidery
Edge-to-Edge
Pantographs and Custom Longarm Quilting
Other recommendations :
80/12 Microtex/Sharp
Universal or Denim Needle 90/14 or 75/11
Quilting Needle (use 40wt or 50wt in the bobbin).
Longarm quilters will use a 3.5 or 4.0 Longarm Quilting Needle (50wt in the bobbin).
28 wt Cotton : This thread comes on the grey spool and is the second heaviest thread that Aurifil offers. It comes in all 270 colors and four spool or skein sizes: small, large, cone, and skein. A small spool of this weight has 109 yards (100 meters), a large spool has 820 yards (750 meters), a cone has 3,609 yards (3300 meters) and a skein has 87 yards (80 meters). 
Photo credit : Auribuzz
Recommended for - but not limited to -
Double Strand Cross Stitch
Blanket Stitch
Hand Applique
Hand Piecing
Hand Quilting
Bobbin and Machine Lace
Machine Quilting
Longarm Quilting
Machine Embroidery
Lower Looper Serging
Other recommendations :
90/14 Topstitch, Quilting or Denim needle
40wt or 50wt in the bobbin
Longarm quilters should use a size 4.0 needle and 40wt in the bobbin Go a little slower than normal-especially when creating curves
12 wt Cotton : This is the heaviest weight thread that Aurifil offers and it comes on a red spool. It comes on three different sized spools: Large 356 yards (or 325 meters), Small 54 yards (or 50 meters) and the Cone  1,914 yards (or 1,750 meters).
Photo credit : Auribuzz
Recommended for - but not limited to -
Hand Applique
Hand Embroidery
Hand Quilting
Cross Stitch
Embellishment
Handmade Lace
Machine Applique
Blanket Stitch
Machine Embroidery (designs that use a longer stitch length) Machine Art Quilting
Sashiko
Redwork
Lower Looper Serging
Longarm Quilting
Other recommendations:
When using 12wt thread by machine use a thinner thread in the bobbin, like 40wt. 
100/16 or 90/14 Topstitch needle
Longarmers will want to use a 4.5 needle and 28wt in the bobbin and should quilt slowly, using a longer stitch and silicone conditioner where necessary.
Aurifloss : The 6-strand cotton floss thread is wound on a pretty little wooden spool similar to the 80wt thread. It has 18 yards (16 meters) per spool and is available in all 270 colors.
Photo credit : Auribuzz
Recommended for - but not limited to - 
Cross Stitch
Huck Embroidery
Miniature Punch-Needle Embroidery
Tatting
Needle Point
Crochet
Applique
Big Stitch Quilting
Accent stitching on garments and other items
Hand Embroidery
Other recommendations :
Aurifil recommends matching your hand-sewing needle to the intended project.
Wool : This is a 12wt thread in a lovely, soft blend of 50% acrylic and 50% wool. It is available in 192 colors on red spools in three sizes: a Small Spool with 54 yards (50 meters), a Large Spool with 383 yards (350 meters), and a Cone 1860 yards. 
Photo credit : Auribuzz
Recommended for - but not limited to -
Single or Double Strand Cross Stitch
Hand Embroidery
Machine Applique
Machine Quilting
Lower Looper Serging
Other recommendations :
Use a 90/14 Topstitch Needle with our 50wt in the bobbin.
Longarm quilters should use the largest Longarm Needle possible (use 28wt in the bobbin) 100/16 Needle with 40wt in the bobbin.
Polyester : Aurifil offers 10 variegated colors of 40wt, high-sheen, premium, trilobal polyester thread. This thread gives absolutely no lint and no issue with thread breaking. Its perfect for Long-arm Quilters, bag makers and garment sewers. . This thread comes only in one size, a large cone, with 3280 yards (or 3000 meters.)
Photo credit : Auribuzz
Recommended for - but not limited to - 
Machine Embroidery
Quilting
Thread Painting
Decorative Stitching
Satin Stitching and Decorative Applique
Other recommendations : 
80/12 Microtex/Sharp, Universal, or Denim Needle (use 40wt or 50wt in the bobbin)
3.5 or 4.0 Longarm Quilting Needle (use 50wt in the bobbin)
Mono filament : Aurifil’s Monofilament Invisible Thread is produced in Italy. It is 100% nylon, available in two colors: smoke (for dark fabrics) and clear (for light fabrics), and in two sizes: a large spool with 1,094 yards (1000 meters) and a cone with 16,400 yards (15,000 meters).
Recommended for - but not limited to -
Hand Needle Turn Applique
Attach Binding
Ladder Stitch
Machine Stitch in the Ditch
Invisible Seaming
Free Motion Quilting
Couching
Machine Applique
Outline Applique
Shape Applique
Echo Applique
Other recommendations :
50wt as a bobbin thread
Top tension lowered to at least 2.0 on a home sewing machine and as necessary on a long arm.
A slightly larger stitch length
When used in bobbin :Fill the bobbin at the slowest speed possible (or by hand) and do not fill all the way.  
 80/12 or 70/10 topstitching or Microtex Sharp Needle
3.0 or 4.0 Longarm Needle (use 40wt, 50wt, or hand-wound monofilament in the bobbin).
For more information check out the series of "All about Aurifil" on their blog Auribuzz

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