Needles & Threads! Oh My! Part 4

It’s the final installment of the Needles & Threads series!

Part 1: Needles with Shirley Bailey
Part 2: Threads with Shirley Bailey
Part 3: Quilting Threads with Kelly Wood
Part 4: TODAY! (aka What I Use)

Thank you so much to Shirley & Kelly for their help!! Now, I want to highlight my favorites! I’m starting with the finest threads and going to the thickest. I’ve listed my chosen needle in (parentheses). It’s always just a starting point though. On any given day, I might find a different needle or thread that works better. Especially with quilting, I always do a test patch:)

YLI Silk 100 wt: (Appliqué Gold’n Glide 11) I LOVE this thread for hand appliqué. It glides easily and melts into the fabric. I use neutrals; I own a pale gray, a medium taupe and a charcoal. I choose the one closest in value and go with it. No matching. When you thread your needle, put your needle at the end of the thread that you pull off the spool first. You will sew with the thread in the same orientation that it comes off the spool. This will prevent kinks and tangles!


YLI Silk 100 wt: (Appliqué Gold’n Glide 11) I also use silk to sew my binding. I double the thread for this though. Thanks to Gina for this tip; it changed my life!


Mettler Fine Embroidery 60 wt: (Microtex Sharp 60) When I’m piecing with voile or making a voile garment, I like this combination. Even though this thread is fine, it’s still strong:) And the smaller needle prevents puckering. If I still get puckering, I lower my stitch length.


Aurifil 50 wt: (Microtex Sharp 80) I piece my quilts with this; I mainly use cream or light grey. I should buy it by the case:) It’s 2-ply so it’s thin, but it’s also strong. It never fails me.

Aurifil 50 wt: (Microtex Sharp 70) I also use Aurifil for foundation piecing/paper piecing! I use a finer needle because it makes finer holes in the paper and better perforation.


Mettler Silk Finish 50 wt: (Microtex Sharp 80) When I am constructing a tote or pouch, I use Mettler 50 wt. Because it is 3-ply, it’s a little stronger than the Aurifil 50 wt which is 2-ply. Although I will admit to sometimes being lazy and using the Aurifil because it is already on my machine if I’m just making a pouch. For totes and bags, I always use Mettler 50 wt!


Mettler Silk Finish 50 wt: (Microtex Sharp 80) I use this for quilting on voile. It gives me a lot of great color options. I tested about twenty different thread/needle combinations for quilting with voile before I got one that I loved! And it has just a hint of a sheen which looks great with the voile! I found that the Sharp Needle worked better as well. I tried Quilting, Topstitch, Jeans, Universal…


YLI Machine Quilting 40 wt: (Quilting Needle 75) This is my go-to quilting thread! I use it for about 50% of my quilting. YLI is based in South Carolina, so I’m staying local:) There are so many things that I love about this thread. I rarely need to adjust the tension. It rarely breaks. The lint is minimal. It’s just an all around great thread!!20130515-220234.jpg

YLI Machine Quilting 40 wt: (Quilting Needle 75) I think it works well for straight line quilting too! The thread lays really well on the fabric.


YLI Machine Quilting 40 wt: (Quilting Needle 90) I used a larger needle here since this bag had a lot of thick interfacing. I LOVE the colors that this thread comes in. This is CELERY, which is a favorite of mine!!


YLI Machine Quilting 40 wt: (Jeans 90) Sometimes I like the YLI 40 wt to topstitch on totes and bags. It gives a great finished look!


Mettler Machine Quilting 40 wt: (Quilting Needle 75) Sometimes YLI doesn’t have the color I want and I use Mettler. For me, I find I have more tension problems with Mettler, but it still works pretty well! It doesn’t look as thick as the YLI, but is similar.


Sulky 30 wt: (Quilting Needle 90) Sulky is another favorite of mine. It has a more matte look than the YLI to me. I do find there is more lint, but it’s not too bad. I’m anxious to try the Sewer’s Aid on this to see if it helps the lint issue.


Aurifil 28 wt: (Quilting 90) I really wanted to like this thread. But I don’t. I am only including it here because I know it’s quite popular. I had a terrible time getting the tension right for it. And I basically just think my machine hates it. But the result was gorgeous. I know that I’ll choose Sulky 30 wt over this 100% of the time in the future though:) Different things work for different people and quilting is about the journey, so just keep trying new things!


Sulky 12 wt: (Jeans 110) This thread just looks so cool!! It’s great for machine appliqué. I use a jeans needle because I find that they break way less often than topstitch. Almost never! I use the blanket stitch for an old fashioned look.


Sulky 12 wt: (Jeans 110) I often use 30 wt in the bobbin with 12 wt in the top. I find that my machine runs smoother this way. Plus, Sulky offers all the same colors in 12 wt and 30 wt, so I buy them in sets.


Sulky 12 wt: (Jeans 110) It also works great with wool! I do take care to sew a little slower on the wool.


Sulky 12 wt: (Jeans 110) Sulky 12 wt is also great to topstitch bags, totes and pouches!


Sulky 12 wt: (Jeans 100) And sometimes I even use the Sulky 12 wt for simple quilting. I used longer stitches for a more old fashioned look.


As you can see, I tend towards all Cotton. When I do embroidery, I use Isacord which is a Polyester, but I really prefer natural fibers. I hope you’ve enjoyed the Needles & Threads series and will try a bunch of new things! Let me know if there is one that you love that I didn’t mention! I’ll try it:)

xo LC

8 thoughts on “Needles & Threads! Oh My! Part 4

  1. I’ve read the whole series and learned a lot. I don’t even know how to oil my machine. Eeek! It keeps telling me there is an error when I try to comment though. Hoping this one goes through!

  2. loved the seires and that sewers aid will fix your sulky problem. I have my paperpiece quilt that I was having an awful time quilting the flowers with that veragated sulky that matches so well and it kept breaking — sewers aid mad it so that I could use the thread I wanted instead of having to pick a new thread and potentially unquilt the flowers I had managed to complete.

  3. Lee I was having the same problem with Aurifil 28… I really hated how the stitching looked… which makes me sad because i have a few spools of them… I love Sulky 28… and because of your recommendation I am going to give the YLI 40 a try for quilting :-) Awesome series thanks!

  4. Thanks, so much for this series, Lee! I have just started FMQ and come to the realization that I can’t just buy whatever is cheapest at Joann! I’ve taken some notes on new threads to try!

Leave a Reply