Thread 411

Three things every Quilter should know about Thread...

1. How is it wrapped onto the spool?

Is your thread cross-wound, loaded onto the spool in a criss-cross pattern forming and x around the spool, or is it stacked, loaded parallel and stacking on top of itself?

2. What is your thread made of?

Cotton, polyester, rayon, nylon, metallic, silk, or wool?

3. How thick is your thread?

30wt., 40wt., or 50wt.?

Is your mind spinning, did you not know thread was this complicated? Well, it really isn’t. Let’s address these one at a time…..

1. How your thread is loaded tells you how it should stand on your machine. If it is cross-wound, it should be horizontal with a spool cap to keep it in place. If it is stacked, it should sit vertically. If not in the right direction it doesn’t come off the spool properly and can get tangled or you may even notice some tension issues. If your machine will not hold the spool both directions, there are thread stands to help you out. Thread stands are also used for those large cones of thread.


2. What your thread is made of will depend on your project and different size needles may be required.  Here is the 411 on some common types.

Cotton-natural, soft, durable, not as strong as polyester, and a low shiny factor:)(sheen).

Polyester-strong, durable, colorfast, various finishes(shiny factors).

Rayon-mostly used for embroidery, cheaper, less durable, not colorfast, high shiny factor.

Monofilament-invisible,strong(but brittle over time), not colorfast(yellows over time),not heat resistant.

Metallic-not really thread(plastic cut into strips), need special needle, can break easily.

3. How thick your thread is, or the weight of your thread, is not that complicated either.

•30wt.-thicker, very common.


•50wt.-very fine, great for making your stitches blend, great in your bobbin, too!


Monofilament and Metallic like to fall off the spool, so a net that fits over the spool keeps it in place and helps with tension. I bet you didn’t even know what that netty thing was for:)

Quality, quality, quality! Cheap thread is linty and will get inside your machine and drive you nuts with machine troubles and thread breaks.

Grey is an amazing neutral color to use, light or dark grey will blend with almost anything.

Don’t listen to rumors! Experiment, try lots and see what you and your machine love♥.

Here is a link to a great thread you should totally give a try!

Aurifil Thread


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  1. Quilting Tangent says:

    Thank you for the tips, did not know about position of threads.

  2. Wendy yates says:

    I heard thread expires, is this true?

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