Threads – which one to use for quilting?

I love threads! They’re like candy to me and just as addictive. I especially love Madeira and Hilos Iris threads. Did you know that Janome Canada is a distributor of these threads, so they’re conveniently available from your Janome Dealer?

With so many choices available, it’s sometimes tough to know which type of thread to use for your project, specially when quilting your quilt. There are a few factors to consider when choosing the right thread, so I’ll share with you some tips. Colour, of course, is one, as well as the weight and type of thread.

Madeira AeroQuilt thread -100% Polyester thread which looks and feels like Cotton

Today’s threads are not the same as what we used to buy for quilting, especially the hand-quilting thread. It is recommended to avoid using hand-quilting thread in your sewing machine or longarm quilting machine, as it often has a coating on it to make it stiff, and not tangle. This coating will not work well in your machine, so it’s best to avoid using it.

Stick to using a thread intended for machine use, like Madeira AeroQuilt thread. It’s 40 weight, which is a common, average weight of thread for most quilting. Different weights of threads will give you different looks and textures. The numbering system of thread is very odd; the lower the number, the thicker the thread, the higher the number, the thinner the thread. A fine 80 or 100 weight of thread, for example, will virtually disappear into the fabric so you’ll see less of the thread and more dimension, more texture. It is good to use a thinner thread in the needle when you’d like to do very dense quilting, like micro-stippling and lots of background fills around applique so there won’t be a big build-up of thread. You’ll instead mainly see the texture. It’s good to experiment with different types and weights of threads so you get the results you’re looking for.

Madeira AeroQuilt thread on the Janome MC6700P

I really like quilting with Madeira AeroQuilt thread. It has a !00% polyester core, so it’s strong and durable; so it’s a great choice to use if the quilted project is going to get a lot of wear and/or be washed a lot. When choosing thread, always think of the intended use of the project, and how you will care for it. Will it be dry-cleaned or washed in the washing machine? Will it be hung, or laid out flat to dry naturally, or will it be dried in a hot tumble dryer?

Unlike most polyester quilting threads which tend to be shiny, the Madeira AeroQuilt thread has a matte, cotton-like finish and feel to it. It comes in a great variety of colours on large, tall cones, which work great on the longarm quilting machines, like the Janome Quilt Maker Pro 20, Janome Quilt Maker Pro 18, Janome Quilt Maker Pro 18 Versa and Janome Quilt Maker Pro 16. The cones will also work well on the domestic sewing machines with tall vertical spool pins like the Janome Continental M7P and Janome 6700P, but also fit on the Janome Spool Stands which attach to the back of back of many machines. Big cones of thread means more quilting before the thread runs out!

When choosing thread colour, I like to find one that matches closest to the quilt top and blends in well with most of the colours. Madeira AeroQuilt thread comes in many colours, but also in multi-colour cones in a variety of colour palettes which helps blend together colours in your quilt top. A question to consider; do you want your thread to take centre stage, or do you want your fabrics/ your piecing of your quilt top to be the star with the thread being a supporting player?

Madeira AeroQuilt thread comes in solid colours and multi-colours for some fun effects!

In the bobbin, I match the colour as close as possible to the top thread. This helps the top and bottom threads blend well through the holes created by the needle and helps with making the tension look perfect if it isn’t, like at a sharp point, for example. Perhaps a little bit of the bobbin thread pulled up to the top in the corner, but it won’t look as noticeable by using the same colour in the needle and in the bobbin.

I don’t always match the weight on the top and bottom. Generally, I use a 40 weight thread on the top and will use a 60 weight; a finer thread, in the bobbin. The reason for this is I will get more thread on the bobbin so it will last longer, which means saving time with less bobbin changes. The 60 weight thread will “melt” into the backing fabric, so won’t be as visible. Thinner threads will disappear more easily into the fabric, especially if the fabric is a busy print, so it’s a great choice to use when you’re practicing and refining your free-motion quilting skills, for example. The learning curve “mistakes” won’t be as visible.

Janome Needles work in all domestic Janome sewing and embroidery machines!

The weight of the thread also determines the size of the needle. The thinner the thread the smaller the needle size should be. So, for a 40 weight you can use a Janome Purple Tip 14 on a domestic machine and 16 or 18 size needle for your Janome Quilt Maker Pro quilting machine. Many of us like using the Janome Purple Tip sz 14 for free motion quilting and ruler quilting especially, as the flared Cobra head just below the eye of the needle helps spread open the fibers of the fabric making it easier for the needle and bobbin threads to intersect in the middle of the quilt sandwich; eliminating skipped stitches! Not sure which needle to use when, check out the Janome Needle Guide for all your sewing needs.

And, don’t limit yourself to only using thread labeled “Quilting”. You can use your Madeira, Iris and Janome Polyester “embroidery” thread for quilting, too! Have fun and experiment to find which thread works best for your project. The best part about playing with all this thread “candy” is that there’s no calories, so you can never have enough!

Contact your local Janome Dealer for all your thread choices.

Happy Sewing!


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