Today I wanted to share with you some quick tips for quilting with 12 wt thread. My thread is from Aurifil and the 12 wt is a THICK thread. It’s almost a floss honestly. And it can be a little scary to think about using it for quilting when you compare that to what I normally use, a 40 wt or 50 wt thread. There is quite a difference. But I love that almost hand sewn look you get using this weight and I thought I would share with you how I go about using it.
One thing to note: I am using this for straight line quilting. I’m not offering advice on how to use this for free motion quilting (though I know people have done that too). I find that I don’t need to make too many adjustments when doing straight line quilting and frankly less work makes me happy.
I chose a 12 wt thread for my top thread but I am not using it in the bobbin. Some people always match their bobbin thread to their top thread, but I don’t. I don’t really trust that large a wt in my bobbin. The thread I’m using is wool and causes a good amount of lint, and I don’t want to clean up that much from the bobbin area constantly. Plus, you will need a lot more bobbins because the heavy wt thread fills them up faster with less thread. (Remember, I want less work lol) So I am using a 40 wt thread in my bobbin which is slightly thicker and stronger than the normal 50 wt thread I use for my piecing. And it is working beautifully together.
I did lengthen my stitch length by quite a bit. Pictured above is my stitch length at 4.2 on my machine…a length I would normally consider to be a basting length when using 50 wt thread. And I could go larger. That thick thread just takes up space and needs some room. The good news is that your quilting will go faster because you are doing less stitches per inch. Win win!
I am sewing on a Janome and using their accufeed foot but that is just basically a built in walking foot. I’m not sewing at full speed because I don’t want to over heat the needle or cause extra tension on the thread and split it. The down side of using larger wt thread is that you notice a break in the thread more obviously on your quilt. The other major thing I’m doing is using a Jean Needle. I haven’t overly experimented with needle size at this point but you definitely want a needle designed for heavy weight threads because the eye of the needle is larger…and even with that I’m still hand threading the needle because my automatic threader doesn’t like that heavy weight.
If you are blessed with an auto thread cutter on your machine, take a break from it while using this thread. I find that it pulls to strongly on thread to cut it and ends up shredding the thread, causing you to rethread your machine. Too much work. 😉 So instead I cut the thread by hand like I used to before my fancy thread cutter came into my life.
It may sound overwhelming, but I’m just giving you little tips to help make the process less frustrating. So far I’ve had exactly one skipped stitch and one break in the thread mid line. Not bad at all. And I’m getting a gorgeous quilting line that just pops beautifully from the quilt. I’m not shy about quilting thread colors and have chosen a lovely yellow to stand out against the solid grey. I LOVE it. I need to get this weight in more colors.
So give it a whirl and see what you think! Let me know if you have any tips for sewing with larger wt thread or if you have done with free motion quilting. Let’s share the wealth of knowledge we have!