Happy Monday, friends!
I hope y'all had a good weekend! Friday was my birthday, so I spent much more time playing than working this weekend, and I think it's just what the doctor ordered. I've been feeling full of ideas and totally lacking in follow through this last week, so it felt marvelous to spend time with family and friends having fun and just letting everything marinate in the background.
A couple of months ago, I had a lot of trouble with my Aurifil 50wt (which I had mostly been using on the longarm just like I do on my domestics) breaking more as I quilted. Since I'm still pretty new to this long arming thing, I asked around about thread, and I got a lot of wonderful recommendations. In fact, a number of companies were really generous and sent me thread to try: Aurifil (40wt, my next one to try!), Fil-Tec (Glide), and Sulky. I also bought some Isacord thread to try. The PLAN was to write a big ol' long arming thread round up for you guys. It seems, however, that Leo the Longarm is incredibly picky about his thread. So far, absolutely none of the threads I was sent work perfectly. In fact, all of the poly threads shred and break a LOT. Each and every thread I've tried has been recommended to me by another longarmer as her favorite, so these are not just any thread.
So, where am I at with thread right now? I've come full circle to Aurifil 50wt. I reduced my needle size, and that seems to have solved most of the breakage I was originally having. I'm still getting the occasional skipped stitch, so I'm tweaking my tension and looking forward to trying the 40wt on the longarm soon. I'm going to continue tweaking and experimenting-- maybe that thread round up will happen after I get a little more practice and knowledge under my belt! In the meanwhile, here are 4 quick resources for you:
1) How to Adjust Sewing Machine Tension for Free Motion Quilting
I wrote and videoed this tutorial for domestics, but the same principles apply. Instead of using a practice sandwich, though, I use some extra fabric on top of the empty space on either side of my quilt top on the long arm (where there's batting and backing and It just needs a "top") as shown above. Thank you, Vicki, for showing me how to have this little test area!!
2) The Stitch TV Show on Thread
These gals are local to me and are some of the first quilting friends I made. One of their early episodes is all about thread, and I particularly like their discussion on dipping thread in mineral oil. That's something I did with my Aurifil this time around, and it may be what is making it work so much better.
3) Understanding Thread Quality
My friend Kristin shared this post on Facebook, and I found it fascinating! I think you will, too! (I mean, anything under a microscope is cool, right??)
Now that you've learned about thread, are you ready to use some and quilt with confidence? I have one more great resource for you today, "3 Easy Steps to Improve Your Free Motion Quilting." These foundational tips are sometimes overlooked or dismissed, and yet they can make or break your quilting practice. Just enter your email below, and I'll send the tips straight to your inbox!
Happy quilting, my friends! Leave a comment below with any thoughts you have from today's resources!