Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Thread, Needles, and Batts for Quilting

I've been asked about needles and thread for machine quilting.
First, most often I quilt on the Viking/Huskvarna model 6430 home sewing machine I purchased after graduating from college. Occasionally I quilt on the model 6020 I purchased a couple of years ago from a lovely lady who was moving with her husband into assisted living.
For quilting, I love shiny threads; I think they make feathers and other decorative yet functional quilting just glow. One of my favorites is Fil-Tec Glide thread. These threads really do glide through the needles, and they come on 5000 meter spools. When using this thread, I sometimes use the same thread in the bobbin or, if the backing I've made for the quilt is fairly busy, I use Superior Threads Bottom Line, which I also use on the top when outlining the print of pictorial or toile fabrics. Unfortunately, the person from whom I purchase most of my threads has found the demand for Fil-Tec threads to be so low that she's discontinued them so she can use the space for items that are in greater demand.

The needles: Schmetz size 90 topstitch or jeans needles. Sometimes when I use Warm'n'Natural batting for Victory Quilts, I need to switch to size 100 needles. I understand that long-arm quilting machines use much larger needles. In fact, it was Betty Standiferd who is the longarm quilter for Southwest Decoratives -- -- who first showed me the needles the longarms use who convinced me to use jeans needles.

My favorite quilt batts are Quilter's Dream Request and Mountain Mist Rose. We use Warm'n'Natural for Victory Quilts because we are able to order it on rolls and cut pieces as we need them; however, the batting is heavier and the finished quilts stiffer than with my favorite batts. We haven't been able to find the Dream or Rose batts on large rolls.
For my friend's Tuscany quilt I used a 50% bamboo/50% cotton batt. I'll be interested in hearing how it holds up, since it was quite expensive.

And, yes, I just love quilting feathers--to such an extent that some of my quilts should have been named "Tickled to Death"!

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