If you are a beginning quilter, you're probably excited about heading over to your local fabric store to pick out your fabric and a lovely quilt pattern. Maybe you've purchased a new sewing machine with some nice quilting features, and you can't wait to get started on your first project.
Like many new quilters, you probably haven't given a lot of thought to the thread you will need. After all, buying thread isn't nearly as exciting as building your fabric stash.
However, thread is the glue that holds your quilt together during the piecing process. Once the quilt is completed, and you are ready to stitch the layers together, thread is more like a fine paint that enhances the beauty of your quilt.
Types of thread
Thread has come a long way since the days when most thread was polyester. Quilters now have a variety of threads to choose from. Thread is made of cotton, rayon, nylon, and metallic material. There is also polyester-wrapped cotton thread.
You can choose from domestic or imported threads. There are metallic and plain threads as well as two-ply and three-ply threads. You can also choose from solid colors or variegated threads. Water-soluble threads are available to use for basting that dissolve later when the fabric is washed.
Thickness and weight of threads
All threads are numbered for thickness and weight. Don't let the numbers confuse you. The system seems to run backwards. The lower the number, the thicker the thread will be. For instance, if you choose a thread numbered with 60 or 80, it will be thinner than a thread numbered 50 or below.
To make things even more confusing, there is another number on the thread spool label. This second number refers to the ply of the thread. For instance, if you choose a thread that is 50/3, it means the thread has three strands of fiber twisted together to make the thread. It will naturally be stronger than two-ply thread.
Which thread should you use?
A good rule to follow is to always match the thread to the type of fabric you are using. For instance, cotton fabric with cotton thread, etc.
Start out by purchasing a few basic colors such as white and off-white. A medium weight thread (50/3) is easiest for beginning quilters to work with.
Knowing which threads are best for specific purposes will help you make the right choice in thread when your quilting hobby advances
- Cotton: A sturdy thread that is great for piecing and quilting.
- Rayon: A strong and colorful thread that is good for machine quilting and embroidery.
- Nylon: A clear mono-filament thread that is nearly invisible and is popular for hiding quilting mistakes.
- Metallic: A gold or silver thread that creates shimmering effects in machine quilting.
For more information, contact Ruth's Stitchery or a similar company.