Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thread... it's overwhelming!!

I'm overwhelmed with all the differences and kinds of threads out there. And in true "Heidi" fashion.. I'm on a mission to get to the bottom of it!

I was recently at a quilt store and I was trying to match some thread that I had for a project. I had brought the "dead" spool in with me. All the quilt store had was 100% cotton but my spool was polyester.

I asked the clerk if she had any polyester thread.. she looked at me like I had 2 heads! Then in her best disapproving voice said "I ONLY use cotton thread! Polyester doesn't give and can break easily." HUH?

So that left me thinking.. what's the difference. I know the basic material type difference..

Is one truly better than the other?
If so.. which one? And why?

Then this happened to me..

I made this quilt last year and used cotton to bind.. well well.. look what happened!

Now I'm sure people will say that it comes down to personal preferance. But all that personal preference means is that "cons" to one person, are "pros" to another and vise versa.

And let's not forget.. cotton and polyester are not the only choices out there! Arrgghh... the science of quilting! Are we over thinking it? Pin It


Anonymous said...

I never think about it - I just grab a spool of whichever colour matches the project best. I've got threads which I have collected over years (or been given) and as long as they look fairly decent, that does the job for me.

There are so many choices and brands to choose from... yikes!

Val said...

I have never even noticed that before. Amazing!!

Poppyprint said...

Well, most diehard old school quilters say you should only use cotton for quilts because polyester is actually stronger than cotton and over time with chafing and washing, the polyester can 'cut' through the fibres of your cotton fabric. I think we are machine quilting quilts to within an inch of their life these days and this isn't so much of a worry as when hand-quilting was mostly done. I stick with cotton when piecing & tacking down binding, but tend to use polyester on bags/purses. I've quilted with rayon with amazing results (but sometimes it likes to shred, so you have to try larger-eyed topstitching needles.

BTW, thanks for the Oreo idea - my daughter dipped a large bag's worth to give to all of her school friends as a Christmas present!

Lis Harwood said...

And don't even start on my mystery of the moment - which metallic thread to use in my machine!

Kay Lynne said...

I like to use Superior thread. It's high quality and it comes in polyester, cotton, and metallic. When I free motion quilt and I want a solid color, my favorite thread is So Fine polyester thread. It's thin and less likely to have bird's nests on the back side of your quilt. There is also less lint to deal with. They have other brands too numerous to mention that are high in quality that I like--I have never come across a thread that I don't like that they sell :)

Becky said...

I was a witness to the exact same scenario at a LQS one time. Only cotton. IMO, polyester has more give, but in the end, I use what I have. I've even been known to use super-cheap thread you get in the grocery store or drug store, because I've lived in lots of small towns and that's sometimes all there is. That said, I must admit that I've fallen in love with "Aurifil" thread, and am becoming addicted to it!

Christie describeHappy said...

Really? I have so much to learn about all this. Promise you will fill us in with everything you find out!

Regina said...

I haven't been quilting long but I have definitely noticed a difference in the few threads I've used. I live in a small town so my options are limited. Now anytime I'm in a bigger town I pick up nice thread for future use.

lisa said...

here's the extent of my knowledge: when my mom bought her machine (now mine) she was told to ONLY use gutterman thread (and she tried to use her coats and clark but it was not good, gummed up the machine) so she passed that wisdom onto me but told me thats machine specific.

then she was given Aurifil, and she likes it, but I was given Connecting Thread's (one spool) and it worked in my machine, has yet to run out, and then I won three more spools, and saw the price and want more of them when I saw all the color choices (and the PRICE!)...yeah not a good answer

Melody said...

I know a lot of quilters who will only use cotton thread, always pre-wash their fabrics and dozens of other rules they follow. I love to flout the rules and do whatever I want to do and if I've got a polyester thread, from dressmaking, around I just use it as long as the colour is right.

Michelle said...

I have tried lots of threads and yes there is a difference. I LOVE aurifil. Thin, cotton, low lint and sews like silk. I have some friends who have tried Connecting Threads line and are very happy with it. I think you have to find what works best for your machine and quilting style.

Kristen said...

I like Aurifil. This coming from a former fan of Mettler too. Aurifil 50 is thinner, which allows for a more accurate seam allowance and perfect for applique. It has less lint too and comes in huge spools. You got the two head look from polyester supposedly being able to rub against cotton and shred the weave. I am an all cotton girl, but they wouldn't make them all if they didn't all have a purpose. What thread brand broke on you?