Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Thread Experiment

While cruising Quilt Market, we found ourselves at many thread vendors and saying "We teach mostly hand applique and hand quilting classes.  What do you have that we should know about."   As a result we scored some great thread samples.

While I was working on one of the blocks for Ester Aliu's Quilt Along (WIP # 14), I would stitch a length of one thread, then swap to another until I'd tested all the greens that we had received, as well as every green we had in my project bags and Anna's house. 

The thread in front is my standard applique thread:  YLI Silk in a 100 weight.  The middle 3 are the new ones (left-to-right): Clover silk #50,   InvisiFil Poly #100, YLI Soft Touch cotton#60.  Back row is the stash which includes an Aurifil #50 cotton and a Metzler #50 cotton. I used all the threads right off the spool with no wax or silicon conditioner.

Not surprisingly, both the YLI Silk and InvisiFil resulted in nearly invisible stitches.  I need to try again as I work on the next block since I was stitching the light green stems to which the InvisiFil thread was a much better color match than the YLI Silk.

Anna did a similar experiment while stitching down her Mimbres Fish Applique. She makes her stitches closer together than I do, and pulls her thread tighter with each stitch.  She felt that the YLI Soft Touch wasn't as "slippery" as the YLI silk so the needle was less likely to unthread itself while stitching.  When the silk was waxed, it eliminated that problem.

I wasn't impressed with Clover's silk for applique, but I am looking forward to using it for quilting.  Which gave me an idea for making an entirely silk quilt from some old silk blouses and some fabric that I bought for a blouse and never made.  Besides, quilt fabric now costs as much as silk...might as well explore some new options.   Hmmm...that's WIW (Waiting in the Wings) project #11.


Marj said...

I look forward to the results of your experiment.

LesQuilts said...

Personally,after using cotton thread for applique, I found YLI silk thread. I love it!
I used if for my applique and for making hexies.
The stitches are invisible. I once had my hairdresser look at my applique. She went around the entire shop asking people if they could see my stitches!
Yes, I find it slips, but I don't cut it too short or too long. When it starts to slip, to me, that is a sign to get another piece of thread!
Thanks for the comparisons.
Take care, Leslie

Julie Fukuda said...

Thanks for this tidbit of information. I don't have much money to spend on thread just for applique but I'll look around to see if these are available in my neck of the woods.

Ethne said...

Looks like I'll be needing to invest in some silk threads if considering further applique projects - that is once you've finished your test runs

M and M plus 3 said...

Thanks for sharing your results. I use exclusively for my hand applique, YLI silk and soft touch. Grant it, I'm still fairly new to hand applique, but these 2 work for me.