Show me the Thread!

Posted by on August 16, 2010

Longarm “newbys”, always ask what threads they can use on the longarm. I only give them 4 little hints to go by since there are so many thread brands and within each brand there are so many kinds. So here it is in a nutshell.

1.  Take the thread and break it. If it is strong it will run with ease and if it is weak you will have to fuss with it to get it to run on the longarm. Simple and true.

 2. Quilts look richer if you get a match on the thread color. If you contrast the thread you will be drawing attention to the sewing and your steadiness in quilting must be extremely accurate or it will be detected.

3. If you are using a variegated thread remember that if one of the colors in the thread match what you are sewing over, it could appear that the matching section of sewing was missing as you lose sight of contrasting thread as it blends in. Something you may want to avoid if you are stitching a design into a plain block and are counting on that design to become a design factor in the finished appearance of the whole quilt.

4. Metallic or monofilament threads are stretchy and require looser tensions and battings that are not so dense. Most of the time your machine will be in adjustment for the everyday common threads that you use in quilting. Running metallic or monofilament threads will require you to adjust and run a sample stitching to see if you are getting a nice stitch quality. I never stitch my quilts together with metallic or monofilament. I use regular thread for that. Then I go back and add the metallic or monofilament where I want it. When I save switching for the end then I only have to adjust once to get started and once to go back to my regular threads, not each and every time I roll the quilt.

Filed under: Blog,TinLizzie18 Quilting Tips

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  1. Lynne Tinsley says:

    Is there a brand of monofilament thread you would suggest? The stuff I’ve bought in the nearest fabric store breaks no matter what tension I have on it. Also, I know this is a trial and error issue but can you give me just a hint on how many turns to the left my top tension knob should go (to start with for monofilament) and how many 1/8 turns I should start with for my bobbin tension screw

    • Myrl Breinholt says:

      Good morning, Lynne. When choosing monofilament thread, make sure it is polyester and not nylon. Nylon is sensitive to heat and melts in the dryer. My favorite monofilament thread is Monopoly by Superior threads. Monofilament likes to stretch and then relax. That will cause at-random irregular tension. It also likes to jump out of thread guides. This sounds like a nightmare, but I have had great results using MonoPoly. First, use a thread sock. That is a mesh covering that helps keep the thread in control. Second, place a safety pin in the first thread guide, the one just above the thread spool. Run the thread through the spring on the safety pin rather than the thread guide. This keeps the thread from bouncing out of the guide. Use a size 14 needle. If the needle is too big, the thread will break because the thread wiggles around in the groove of the needle. If the needle is too small, the thread is also exposed to the friction of the fabric and will break. Now, how to adjust the tension is hard to put into words. If your tension is adjusted to a cotton, 40 wt thread, start adjusting the tension for monofilament by turning the adjustment knob counter clockwise two turns. Start there. The bobbin adjustment should be such that the bobbin case slips down like a little spider on its web when you are holding onto the thread. Hope this is helpful.

  2. Deborah Fox-McHugh says:

    I didn’t realize you could run perle cotton-that would be fun to try. what needle did you use?

    • Sorry Deb, didn’t see your post…been busy.
      I used a GB-#21 titanium. Looks exactly like the size 18…just a bit larger, and has a larger eye.

      You have to really loosen the upper tension..good three full turns or more. It ran really well…and the “embroidery” looks like the old Spanish embroidery with heavy thread. I really like the look.

  3. Great hints on thread, Sabrina!
    I run many kinds of thread on my TL18LS (2009)…I have a silver/gray color 40wt Polyester from on her right now…and dark navy serger thread in the bobbin…this thread is looking like a thin metallic when quilted. I’ve run everything on the machine, including size 10 pearle cotton…very pretty effect from that.

    I’ve used weaker threads (60wt bobbin threads)…but only on wall hangings that won’t get a lot of wear.

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