Please help us in welcoming Yvonne of Quilting JetGirl to Auribuzz! We always love seeing what Yvonne is up to and lately, it seems she is everywhere! Between the Quilter’s Planner, the Snowflake Shimmer Quilt Along, a new line of patterns carried by Brewer and all sorts of fun secret sewing, Yvonne has been keeping very busy:). We’re thrilled that she wanted to try out our 12wt thread for a bit of free-motion quilting and have no doubt that her experiments will be incredibly helpful to many of you. So, without further pause, we’ll hand this over to Yvonne!
I am very excited to be chatting with fellow thread and quilting enthusiasts today! I am Yvonne @Quilting Jetgirl, and today I am going to be sharing my recent exploration of free motion quilting using Aurifil’s amazing 12wt thread.
This exploration is all born out of a specific vision I have for a quilting project. I selected my thread colors, and the beautiful rainbow has been tempting me to sew with them immediately!
Before diving right into the project, though, I wanted to spend some time getting used to sewing with the heavier weight thread. I quilt on a 2004 APQS Millennium long arm machine, and I typically quilt using 50wt Aurifil. I knew it would take a bit of time and patience to figure out what combination of settings would work best for me.
I started with a large spool of 12wt 4657 (Tramonto a Zoagli) as my top thread, a standard MR 4.0 18 needle, and 50wt 2420 (Fleshy Pink) in my bobbin. I adjusted the top tension as I sewed the first sample, but no matter how tight I set the top tension, the 12wt thread would jump out of the tension spring and pull through to the back.
My rule of thumb is to make small changes, so for my next sample the only thing I changed was to use a double layer of batting with everything else left the same. Not only did the 12wt thread still pull through to the back, but occasionally a stitch was even dropped. You might notice that I actually did change something else: I used a print for the backing of this sample. Even though I was combing through my scrap bin for these samples, I decided that I would only use solids as I continued to explore my settings so that it would be easier to evaluate the stitches!
Because double batting would actually not be beneficial for my final project and there was no marked change (or if anything it was worse), I went back to single batting for the rest of the samples. My next thought was to use a larger needle, since I was exploring using the 12wt as my top thread. I upsized to the MR 4.5 19 needle, and, if anything, the thread was even less stable and pulled through to the back even more.
For Sample number 4, I moved the 12wt thread to be placed in the bobbin and put the 50wt thread on top. I kept the larger needle installed, and I left all tension settings alone. I thought that this showed impressive improvement, although there are clearly tension issues and “eyelashing” that can be seen. At this point, it also became obvious that using a variegated thread was going to be a challenge due to occasional high contrast between the 12wt and 50wt thread.
For the fifth sample, I used the same thread color in 12wt in the bobbin as the 50wt thread on top: 2535 (Magenta). I spent time adjusting the bobbin tension before getting started. I was really excited and pleased with this sample, and it became clear that the larger needle was no longer needed.
So I switched back to my normal needle size and quilted Sample 6. I am very pleased with the settings, and I am ready to quilt my concept while I have the settings dialed in and before I need to quilt something else!
Note that this is just what I have found to work best for my quilting style and machine, but the same approach works for any sewing machine (long arm or domestic). In general, I recommend a slow change approach when you are trying something new or troubleshooting any quilting problem. By changing one thing at a time, even if you know another change is necessary (like bobbin tension when switching between 50wt and 12wt), it is easy to get a clear understanding of where the sensitivities to the problem are.
And in this case, it was especially beneficial to me because I come across a planning issue when I started working on the final quilt: I wanted to include more fine detail than I was capable of controlling reliably on my longarm. So I headed straight over to my domestic machine and after a few quick test samples with the 12wt in my bobbin, I decided to quilt the mini on my domestic.
I hope this inspires you to consider stepping outside your quilting box and trying something new, whether it is giving 12wt thread a try or experimenting and learning a quilting motif you have been itching to try. Happy Quilting!
Yvonne @Quilting Jetgirl is an intuitive introvert who is passionate about hometown and online quilting community. She believes that quilts can cover the world with care and love, and she uses her blogging platform to cultivate a community with which she shares her passion for quilt making and quilt pattern design.
Yvonne strongly believes that:
You are creative.
Nobody and nothing is perfect: You are doing your best work right now.
The secret to success is to show up, try, learn, modify, and repeat.