Thursday, March 27, 2008

Picking Up a Conversational Thread . . .

Remember last week when we were chatting about quilting, the machine I use, the batting I use, and the brand of tooth floss I use? (Okay, maybe I was talking to someone else about tooth floss--but I'd be happy to have the same discussion with you, and perhaps someday I WILL when I've run out of other things to say!) A few of you left comments pointing out that I had neglected to drone on and on talk about what kind of thread I use. So this one's for you!

When I finished my two most recent quilts the other night and was sorting out the Sweat Shop, one of the things I sorted was thread. Over the course of quilting the last several quilts, I had filled a basket full of spools to the point of overflowing, so I figured it was about time I put them back where they belonged.

I find the Juki is happiest if I'm using the same brand of thread in the bobbin as I use in the top. There are two brands of thread that I use most often: Essentials (Connecting Threads brand) and YLI.

Essentials is probably not as good a quality thread as YLI or Superior, but I don't have any problems with it, the price is excellent, and the color choices are tremendous. The one drawback is that I need to know what I want and order it ahead of time. I DO have a good selection of "country" colors on hand, though, so if I'm quilting a Thimbleberries quilt or fabrics with similar shades, I usually use Essentials.

One of my local shops carries YLI, so if I want a thread color I don't have and I don't want to wait for an online order, I often buy YLI. In quilting, I love variegated thread, and YLI has a decent selection of the color combinations I'm looking for. It's rare that I have a problem using YLI, but I have had breakage issues a few times. Usually I attribute that to either using older thread that's dried out a little or needle size. Most of the time, though, YLI works well.

For thread quality, I like Superior/King Tut thread. I don't so much like the selection of colors though. My other local quilt shop carries this brand. Sometimes I find exactly what I want and other times I feel like I'm "making do" with the colors available. And, of course, Superior and YLI are more expensive threads. It's not unusual for me to go through an entire spool and start on a second when quilting a quilt, and at $7 or $8 a spool or whatever it's selling for now--well, let's just say I'd rather pay less if I could.

(Valdani threads are on the left; Essentials threads are on the right.)

For thread color, I like Valdani. Valdani thread isn't nearly as smooth as YLI or Superior, but Valdani makes hand-dyed variegated thread and I really love the color selections. Unfortunately only one of my quilt shops carried it for awhile and they've sold most of what they had. I do sometimes still order it online, but again, that takes some planning ahead. Luckily, I still have a decent selection of Valdani "in stock."

I hope that answered some of your questions about thread. Now YOU can tell me this. Amanda (who is also FULL of questions) tagged me the other day to do the "7 Random/Weird Facts" meme. I was also tagged by someone else several weeks ago. But don't I ALWAYS tell you weird and random facts about myself? The other thing is that I did this last spring and I even managed to spread the weirdness over EIGHT blog posts--see, that's how weird I really am! Were you reading back then? Would this be repetitive? Do I need to tell you more? I mean, do you REALLY want to know about my 7-foot belly button lint ball and other random stuff like that? I just don't want to bore you wonderful readers, so let me know what you want, okay? Thanks!


ratherbquilting said...

Kim, you brighten my day no matter what the subject! Loved the threads. Have you tried Aurifil for piecing? It is incredibly fine and seems to take up less room in the seam allowance, resulting in a really nice 1/4" seam. My friend Linda sent me a spool and I've never looked back!

Julia said...

I generally use Essentials thread. I have never had any problem with it and the color choices are great. The price is right too! They have some nice variegated choice too.

Doris said...

My favorites are YLI and Valdani. For the same reasons as you. By the way, did you steal the name of my blog for the title of your blog post?!? Just kidding, of course! Thanks for the insight on thread, others opinions are always helpful!

Annie said...

What a wonderful selection of cottons you have - I'm rather jealous. I'm using a varigated one for hand quilting at the moment and it is lovely and soft. I didn't realise cotton talk was so technical.

Anonymous said...

You have some beautiful threads in your collection!!! Wanted to tell you that I loved your bunny & carrot quilt.. great job!!! I am loving my bunny quilt that i won from you....thanks again!

Nan said...

Thank you for the thread discussion. I just bought a pack of the Essential threads - the price is great, but I haven't used it yet. Sounds like I'm going to like it!
A 7' belly button lint ball is AMAZING! You are an impressive lady in more ways than one!