Friday, 29 July 2011

Thread Wise

This post is about thread choices. I could have called it thread 'whys' as I'll be explaining which threads I used in this last quilt and why I used them.

I pieced the top with MasterPiece thread on top and in the bobbin. Why? Masterpiece is 100% extra-long staple , really grown in Egypt cotton. I like to match the fibre content of the thread and the fabric here in the piecing process. The pieced seams in a quilt are the weight bearing seams. Think about hanging up a completed quilt or shaking the wrinkles out of a quilt. What seams are bearing the most weight? In a house not all walls are load bearing walls. In a quilt not all stitches bear the same stress. Lots of people get their knickers in a twist about various types of quilting thread. But it is the pieced seams that are the stress bearing seams. And if we want to match the thread fibres to the fabric fibres, it is most important to do this for the pieced seams. MasterPiece will bear up well against the various stresses in the life of a quilt. With 75 gorgeous colours it's easy to get a good colour match. MasterPiece is a fine weight thread, not too heavy or bulky so it gives nice flat seams and sharp points. I find MasterPiece an ideal piecing thread.

MasterPiece comes in pre-wounds! I love pre-wounds because I hate winding bobbins. Pre-wounds can hold 3 times as much thread as the bobbins that you wind yourself and they work great in most sewing machines, my Janome Memory Craft 6600 work great with pre-wounds.

Because the cotton fibres are matched in the piecing thread I am free to use whatever threads suit my fancy for the machine quilting. For this project I've used Rainbows, a variegated trilobal polyester from Superior Threads. All the fibres that make up this thread are light reflecting which gives Rainbows a lovely shine to it. This particular thread is #803 Northern Lights.

I've used a pre-wound Bottom Line in the bobbin, a soft blue which disappears into the pieced backing fabric. Rainbows and Bottom Line are a machine quilting marriage made in heaven. They work beautifully together!

Finally, for sewing the binding by machine, I've used Sew Fine on top and a pre-wound Bottom Line in the bobbin. Then to hand sew the final stage of the binding I used a red Bottom Line to match the binding colour. The Bottom Line is just wonderful for hand sewing - it disappears into the fabric and it never knots up. I find it a real pleasure to hand sew with.

In summary, I've used a mixture of cotton and polyester threads in the quilt. The choices have to do with the piecing and quilting process as well as the look and durability of the end product. I'm confident that it will wash and wear well and I'm delighted with how it looks.

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