Machine Quilting Thread

janice__indiana5April 10, 2012

Good Morning ~

First let me say, you all are such a wealth of knowledge, and talent!

I will soon have a quilt ready to machine quilt. I'm thinking I would love to quilt it in black. Odd as it might sound, I just think this quilt is saying quilt me in black...

I would like to use black (for the most part) on top and white in the bobbin. If I use the same brand and weight of thread, do you think tension will be a problem? I don't mind messing with the top tension, but I would never touch the bobbin tension for fear of never getting it back where it should be. The quilt top is mainly Kaufman Kona soilds, and the quilt back is a print.

I'm also wondering about fading. I know that black fabric seems to fade. I'm wondering about black thread fading. I don't have a lot of experience machine quilting, and have only used cotton thread. I would love your input.

Thanks, Janice

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I think black thread would be great. I've used it a lot with good results. But, never would use white on the bottom. You will see little white dots everywhere even when you have good tension. Try a sample before you decide. You can set the top tension a bit loose and then you'd only get little black dots on the back but with a print, it won't show. Test it and see which looks best for you.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 12:00PM
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Janice, I think you are very likely to have either white poking through the top or black poking through the back (or maybe both!) if you use black and white thread. Does the backing print have black in it? If so, it would probably look fine to use black bobbin thread, too.

As far as fading, I have lots of black clothes that have faded, but the thread seems to stay just as black as it started! I usually notice clothing needs to be retired when the thread is a noticeably different color than the fabric. :)


    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 12:02PM
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I'm going to have to agree with the others: black on top sounds great but the white on the back sounds like it could be a problem. I just don't think it will turn out the way you want it to. I also think the black thread may stay darker than your fabric. Would you consider using a charcoal gray on both top and bottom? It might still give you the effect you want on top and be less severe on the back. Solves the fading issue too.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 1:12PM
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I was afraid that's what you would say. It's the little dots that have me worried. The backing is a leaf print with a lot of black veins, and I thought that black quilting on the back might look kind of messy.

The blocks are inspired by Cincinnati artist Charley Harper, and are birds and animals. I plan on quilting up against the applique and also adding some detail like feet, small branches, and leafs veins etc. I thought black would be a common color for this type quilting.I guess I will have to make some sandwiches and do some experimenting.

What brand quilting thread do you like? Thread content? If it matters, I plan on using cotton batting since this quilt is for a child.


Here is a link that might be useful: Backing fabric

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 2:30PM
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I love your backing fabric! I think black thread would be much prettier than white on that. Maybe my first choice would be a beige to match the background but black would be OK.

Are you going to include that great Charley Harper cardinal? The one with serious attitude? That is a great bird! LOL

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 4:07PM
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Thanks Kate, I love the backing fabric too!I guess what I should have said was a shade of white or beige to blend with the backing background.

LOL yes I'm using a cardinal, but I went for easy as this is my first machine applique. I used bird with seeds. I'm excited that you are familiar with the works of Charley Harper! I'm using 18 different ones!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 4:29PM
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This is the one I'm using!

Here is a link that might be useful: Charley Harper Bird with Seeds

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 4:34PM
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Oh that's perfect! A good friend of mine lives in Cincinnati and used one of his prints in her Christmas cards a few years ago. I loved it and looked him up at the time. His cardinals are my favorites but all the birds and animals he does are very cool creatures!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 6:00PM
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Thread content - I do my FMQ using Superior's King Tut which is a 40 wt 3 ply cotton. But, in the bobbin I use Superior's Bottom Line which is polyester and 60 wt. I can get about twice as much on a bobbin that way. I'm not stuck on any brand but it seems that those two work best with my machine. I also use Connecting Threads brand of cotton thread a lot for piecing and like that but my FMQ machine breaks it.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 7:03PM
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When I quilted my son's quilt, I did dark blue on the top and a cream on the bottom. There are blue "dots" all on the bottom of the quilt. It doesn't bother either of us, but they definitely show.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 7:46AM
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Toolgranny, Where do you buy the King Tut thread? Is the polyester thread soft like cotton? I've never FMQ and will probably just use straight line and curves this time.

Lafonda, Did you use cotton batting? I didn't pre wash, I color fast tested, and will use color catchers. I plan to use cotton batting. I wonder when the quilt is washed if the dots might hide when the cotton shrinks?

Thanks so much ladies!


    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 10:15AM
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This is where Linda has found the best price for Superior Threads...

I've purchased from them just recently with quick turn around, and they ARE cheaper on Superior Threads that even ST at a show with show deals!

My machine is picky and the only thing that works for me is King Tut in the top and Bottom Line down below. (It's the same machine as Linda's) But for me, it took forever to figure out what works on my machine...I'm not messing with it again!

Oh, and I use cotton batting on all my quilts. For yours, I'd go with black top & bottom, even if they're different weights. So much nicer not to have to play with tension so much...same color top & bottom relieves a lot of the tension stress!

Here is a link that might be useful: Sew Thankful site-Superior Threads

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 11:50AM
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Janice, you may want to consider using a variegated thread for the top and a lighter (not white- maybe a darker cream) in the bobbin. I would select a thread color for the bobbin that blends with your background fabric, but is also in the light color range in the variegated thread. Those pokies won't show.
It is okay to adjust the bobbin tension. I know people are scared to death to touch that little screw, but if you are getting dots from the top thread on the back, while your stitch looks perfect on the front side, your tension is a teeney bit too tight on the bobbin thread. An itty-bitty adjustment may be in order to achieve a perfectly balanced stitch. Like a 2 min on a clock turn - space not time :)
No doubt using the same color thread eliminates that headache.
Love your fabric!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 12:07PM
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Janice, I honestly don't remember what kind of batting I used. I have washed the quilt a few times, but the batting didn't shrink up, so the dots are still there.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 3:18PM
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