Friday, July 9, 2010

Show me your thread...

Sew, Mama, Sew! is asking for sewers to share our thread stash.  And I thought it would be interesting to actually document the thread that I have.  I know I have a lot, but each thread has it's own unique properties and is good for different tasks.

 Some of my thread stash...

They provided a list of questions and I thought that would be a good place to start...
  •  How did you select colors for your personal thread collection?
That's easy.  I buy the colors that match the projects I'm working on.  For embroidery, the pattern usually specifies certain colors and I don't deviate much from their recommendations.  Otherwise, I usually use a neutral color thread if it won't show or I match the thread to the fabric.  Except for machine quilting when I sometimes want the thread to provide a contrast to the fabric.

 White, black, monofilament and neutral colors I keep beside my sewing machine.
  • Do you always match the color perfectly to your project?
If I'm machine appliqueing or sewing clothes, I do try to match the color perfectly.  When I'm piecing quilts, I use a neutral color - either gray or tan.  And for hand applique, I use YLI 100 weight silk thread also in neutral colors.  The thread is so fine you can't see even see it and it's much easier than looking for the proper color.

 Most of my embroidery thread (except for the blues)
  • Do you ever use contrasting thread?
If I want the thread to add some visual interest, then yes, I'll use something that stands out.  Most often this would be for machine quilting or thread painting.

 Remaining embroidery thread, my collection of Aurifil thread and a little bit of YLI silk thread for machine quilting
  • Do you use the same color in the bobbin as the upper thread?
If I'm sewing clothes and I expect someone to be able to see the thread, I'll use the same color in both the top and bobbin.  For machine embroidery, I usually use black or white in the bobbin.  Most often times for machine quilting, I match the bobbin to the fabric on the back of the quilt.  For most other sewing, I just use whatever neutral bobbin I have on hand.

 Serger thread
  • What if a fabric has big areas of very different colors?
If a fabric has lots of different colors, I'll either use invisible thread (clear or smoke colored) or I'll use a thread on the lighter side of the spectrum.  In some cases you can find a variegated thread that coordinates beautifully.

 Elastic thread (for clothes mainly)
  • Do you have any tips or suggestions about choosing thread?
All thread is not created equal.  So don't try to use embroidery thread for quilting or polyester thread for piecing, etc.   I've recently fallen in love with 2 different kinds of thread.  I really love Aurifil 50 wt, both for piecing and for machine quilting.  My machine just loves this stuff and practically purrs when I use it.  Also it produces much less lint than others I've tried.  And I also love YLI 100 wt silk thread.  I use this thread all the time for my hand applique and I'm using it more and more for machine quilting on the top (Aurifil in the bobbin).  That being said, most of my collection is Gutermann thread.  They sell it at my local JoAnn's.  I think it's a pretty good thread and they have some great sales on it.

 Some of my Sulky 12 wt thread.  It's great for hand embroidery.
  • Can you show us a picture(s) of your thread collection?
Yep, I'm including them throughout because there are so many of them.
  • Do you ever buy thread because you fall in love with the color (without a particular project in mind)?
Rarely.  Good thread can be expensive (but a spool usually lasts a while).  The only cases where I might buy  thread because I like the color is with the variegated threads.  It can be difficult to find a wide variety locally and if I see one with colors I'm likely to use, I'll buy one.  But I don't have a lot of variegated thread in my collection.

 Mostly machine quilting thread.  My largest selection of variegated threads.
  • Do you “invest” in thread?
Absolutely.  It is an investment.  I do a lot more quilting than anything else and I want these quilts to last 'forever'.  To help insure that, I use quality fabric, thread and batting.  When I first started quilting, I used the cheapest stuff I could find, but I quickly realized, you get what you pay for.

 Specialty threads like topstitch, jean, metallic, polyester and 50 wt silk thread.
  • What types of thread do you have? (elastic, quilting, all-purpose, wool, etc.)
Sooo many types.  I have embroidery thread, serger thread, 12, 30, 40, 50, 60 and 100 wt thread.  I have silk, elastic, polyester and cotton thread.  I have all-purpose, hand-quilting and machine-quilting thread.  I have invisible monofilament thread in clear and smoke colors.  I have jeans thread and topstitch thread.  I can't think of the others, but I'm sure there are more types.

 More monofilament, all-purpose and 100wt silk thread.

Until later...

“You can tell what they are by what they do” 
Matthew 7:16 (CEV)


  1. Fantastic thread collection (great pictures), loved the answers too. ♥

  2. wow you have a great stash of thread! wonderful questions and answers.