Sunday, September 9, 2012

Experiments with thread for UFO Sunday's

 I went to the sewing shop today to let the lady know I didn't enjoy working with the Sulky thread. She was out of town, but one of her workers tried to help me. I told her it was to thick for what I was doing. I felt like I didn't have good control of the stitches. As you can see from the back, I got a pucker and a few loops of thread. Plus, the stitches just didn't look nice to me.

She sent me home with 3 treads to try. these threads were already opened. They were ones they were using in the shop, so as not to open a bunch of new ones. So, they don't necessarily match my project. She suggested I practice with each one to see what I liked. So, I did. Also practicing with a few I already had:)

First, I tried the Sulky 30 wt. long staple cotton.It  wasn't fun to work with again. She had suggested I use sewers aid to help. IF you look at the backside picture, the lower left leaf looks discolored(from the sewers aid?) It did seem to help a little, but still not enjoyable to work with. Also, You can tell on the backside that my loose threads were NOT easy to hide. I just did not have any control over this thread at all.

Second, I tried one I had that I thought would work best. Isacord Blue Dawn, 40wt. I stitched the feathers  touching and not touching. I liked them not touching better;) It stitched beautifully. No resistance at all. Plus, the color gave a great contrast, although the picture doesn't give it justice.

Next I tried a thread I had at home. YLI Variations Ocean Trilobal Polyester size 35. I really like the way it stitches. I looks beautiful. I felt like I had control. I don't know how it would do with a lot of traveling. It is a bit thicker than Isacord, but I did enjoy stitching with it.

Next I tried Superior Threads Masterpiece #50. It stitched OK. But there was no luster to this thread. I think it's made for piecing, but she wanted my to try it, and I happend to already have one at home. I didn't have any problems with it.

Next I tried TIRE silk thread (lent from the store). I don't know much else about this thread because the bottom sticker was gone. It felt amazing in my fingers and stitched pretty easily. It's not the color I would have chose, but it's one they had open. I have a question later on this.

Next ,Mettler silk finish # 50(lent form the store). EH. Ok I guess in a pinch. Again, no luster.

Last, Mettler cotton #60 fine embroidery thread(lent from the store). Again, EH, no luster. Kind of blah to wrork with.

The clear winners were Isacord and YLI. THe store carries YLI in silk, not poly. I don't think the owner will let me use the silk because of the cost:( FYI the silk thread she let me use was not the YLI brand. The clear loser is the Sulky.

When I first told the store worker and manager that I didn't like the Sulky, I explained that I was used to using poly thread. OH, THE HORROR! They both told me you always use cotton on cotton and the manager tried to convince me that poly would lent up your machine much more that cotton. HUH? Sweetie, I think you have that backwards.(that is what I said in my head) So I told them it was a matter of personal preference. It's like this, If it aint broke, don't fix it. I did my lobbying for Isacord, but I think they are polyester haters. Some people just have their minds made up.

I will present this TEST sample for the quilt sample wednesday and tell her my preferences and concerns. I won't use a product that won't work for me. The only tread they carry in poly is Mettler. I didn't get to try that one, but it may be and option. I hope she lets me use my Isacord because the color is perfect, and I always have great results with it :)

The above photo goes with my question for Leah. This is the silk thread I used, but this seemed to happen on all of the thread.It just showed more with the silk. I guess I never noticed before. This is the orientation I quilt feathers(down-it's easier for me), and I was working from right to left. When I was pushing the fabric, the stitches looked nice and tight. When I was pulling the fabric, the stitches looked looser and more on top of the fabric. It almost looks like the tension is off ,but it looks fine on the back.Is this normal and I'm just being overly picky?

2  more things.....

I got my homework done and I got the fabric for my UFO's at 3 bucks a yard! Yay! Now I'm off to check on what everyone else is doing!!


  1. Wow....you do beautiful work!

  2. Awesome Danielle! I'm so happy you were able to do a thorough thread test of so many different brands and types and find the one YOU like the best. I wish everyone would do this!!!

    I also love the YLI Variations. It's honestly the most perfect variegated thread available because the color changes are so subtle that the quilt won't look blotchy.

    As for the different directions with your feathers - yes, almost everyone quilts on side or one direction different from the other. It will always 'feel' different. What might fix your thread issue is to speed up slightly. You might be more comfortable stitching in that direction so your hands are moving faster which is causing the bigger stitches. Put your foot down a tiny bit more and see if it helps!



    1. I hadn't thought of my hand foot speed ratio changing as I switched directions. I guess no matter how consistent you think you are being, changing directions will cause resistance.I guess I was being 'to' careful! The thread test was interesting. It showed me to go with my gut and not listen to everyone else. I knew as soon as I saw that thread (the Sulky), it wouldn't work. All thanks to you;) It's good to get opinions from people, but ultimately, you have to do what's right for you.

  3. Great design and super smooth feathers! You've gotten so much done on this sample already. I received a spool of Sulky rayon thread at some point and my machine absolutely hates it too. I would love to try silk.

  4. It's the first time I ever tried it. It's so expensive!! It seems fragile. when I took it off the bobbin winder, the piece of thread that was in the disk looked frayed. But it never broke. I wonder how it would do on traveling. I just might have to experiment before I take it back;)

  5. Are those feathers drawn by your own hand, or a commercial pattern? It's really nice, very even looking. I kind of like the rainbow effect you got from trying the different threads .... it woudl be a nightmare to do on a big project though wouldn't it? LOL

  6. Great experiment, Danielle! Your feathers always look great though :)

    Your comment on Leah's blog a few days (or so) ago about the direction thread was wound has me wondering about a thread I bought a while ago and just did not have any luck quilting with (frayed like heck and broke every few inches). I'm going to look into that. I should also make a sample piece of different threads for future reference.

  7. Thank you Danielle for such a detailed comparrison of threads on a quilting project. Every quilt shop seems to use a different (their favorite) brand. Your sampler is beautiful. I personally like YLI verrigated as it likes all my old machines.

    1. Well, If I had a fabric shop, we know which ones I would carry LOL!

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  9. Wow Danielle! It is so neat to see a project go from paper to fabric, I think yours translated perfectly. It's interesting that you tried out all those different threads because your last blog post encouraged me to try something new. I had picked up a couple of spools of a Wonderfil cotton thread for quilting my daughter's quilt and I kept wondering how well it would work for me so I tried it on a UFO that I found in the guild and wow the difference! For me it was positive, but I can easily understand the dilemma you had with the sulky thread. If it doesn't work don't use it :D

  10. Danielle, your stitching is really nice. Your discussion re the pushing and pulling the piece and the effect on the thread was interesting, although it was hard to see the difference in the sample. I think I understand what your were talking about, I have a similar issue when I travel up a line. Mine don't just look more loose though, mine look more wonky. Great idea of comparing all the threads...and your design is so effective. What a great job.

  11. I also love Isacord for free motion quilting. The 30 wt threads (IMHO) are for thread painting aka free-motion embroidery. They are wonderful for that but like you, when I tried quilting with them, it was a disaster. OTOH, when I tried thread painting with Isacord, the result was puny. Have you tried Coats and Clark's Trilobal polyester? It sews like Isacord and has lovely glossy colors. LOVE your stitching.