TRUE OR FALSE?: Always use the same thread in the top and the bobbin.
The conventional wisdom: by using the same thread top and bobbin, it is easier for the machine to create a well-balanced stitch. This is probably true….
But, what if we are using very heavy 12 wt cotton on top? Does it make sense to jam it onto a little bobbin? Absolutely NOT! The bobbin thread would run out every five minutes! Furthermore, the heavy thread would be very difficult for the mechanics of the hook.
Consider your goals for bobbin thread. We would like to have as many yards of bobbin thread as possible to minimize bobbin changes and we don’t want to see the bobbin thread peaking up on the top of our quilts. Both of these conditions can be accomplished by using a finer weight thread in the bobbin. How fine? (I knew YOU would ask…) That depends….
50wt thread is the highest weight I ever use in my bobbin (unless I’m trying for a special effect). –even when I’m using 40, 30, 28 or 12 wt thread on top.
I would consider a finer weight thread like 60 wt, 80wt, 100wt. All of these weights will last a long time and create a textured look on the back of your quilt. However, as the thread gets finer it gets weaker. Polyester and nylon threads tend to be stronger than cotton and Rayon but all fiber types get weaker as they get thinner. Try a thread and if it doesn’t break while you are sewing, then it is appropriate to use in the bobbin.
Once you’ve chosen your thread for the bobbin and the top, create a sample and adjust the tension to create a balanced stitch.
FAVORITE BOBBIN THREAD
Once you find a bobbin thread that works for you and your machine, stick with it!
Any fiber works! Some quilters only use polyester. Other quilters always use cotton. Find what works for YOU!
I almost always use Aurifil 50 wt cotton in the bobbin. My machine loves it and I like how it looks on the back of my quilts–a little bit of sheen, but not too much. I find it pairs very well with all my favorite top threads. Again, that’s me…YOU and YOUR machine have to come to your own agreement.
The tip of the day: It’s okay to break the “quilting rules” and use different thread weights top and bobbin.
Find a favorite bobbin thread and use it for most of your quilts. Quilting is easier when you have your “go-to’s”-reliable favorites.
Remember, when you have fun quilting, your quilts will BE fun!
Next Week’s Quick Tip: Choices for Bobbin Thread Color
PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use. Feel free to re-blog, pin or share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt. For all other purposes, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!PS…If you like these motifs and tips, be sure to check out my book, Free Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3 .