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Sorting out my threads

This weekend I have been working on a couple of projects - a 12 by 12 art quilt for a club challenge, and the new Shop Hop quilt. I have been reminded about how much I have learned both from other quilters and by discovery over my quilting journey.

I am rather a new quilter, having started in 2007 when I hadn't even heard of quilting as a hobby. I have been very lucky to have been able to learn from lots of  wonderful and experienced quilters and since I started quilting I have been soaking up like a sponge all the information and tips I can get hold of. When you first start quilting there seems to be so much to remember. Some people are naturally good at sewing and don't seem to have a problem getting their points to match and making their seams perfect. Others of us are not and have to work at it. So I have decided to start gathering together as many tips and tricks as I can  that have made my quilting experience so much more enjoyable than my first attempts. I will be putting them in posts but will also collect them together on a permanent page. If you have tips to offer or questions to ask, please feel free to add them in comments.

This weekend I started with quilting my 12 by 12 challenge. Having fitted the free motion foot to my machine I started practicing on a spare 'quilt sandwich'. I have some lovely silk thread which I have quilted other things with in the past and I was excited about the effect I would get with it on this project. I was using a wool batting  as I have found that this adds great dimension to my quilting. After struggling with the tension on the practice piece I eventually set it at zero and started to quilt my piece. I still couldn't get good results, all my corners had 'eyelashes' on where the top thread had pulled the bottom thread up as I was going around the corner. So eventually I gave up and concluded that the silk and the wool batting just weren't going to play happily together. I changed thread to a nice 100% polyester and lo and behold everything worked out fine. So the evening was spent unpicking the silk thread. Hm - easy to do for straight stitching, I thought the silk would slide out (since it has a habit of doing this anyway), but on my free motion sections it was a real pain!

So what was the lesson I learned (again!)? If your work is not turning out as you want, think about the threads you are using, and how they are working with the fabric and/or batting. Don't waste time fighting with combinations that just don't play together. Another thing I often find with students in my classes is to always make sure you have the same type of thread in the bobbin as in the top. If you try sewing with poly in the top and cotton in the bobbin, odds are they will fight each other and the results won't be pretty,

Do you have thread tips to share? What threads do you like to use? Have you ever had any thread nightmares?


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