Thread Matters: Forty3 Thread

Welcome back to Thread Matters, a monthly series focused on providing you with all the thread information, tips, and tricks that you’ll need to bring your sewing and quilting to the next level. We are happy to introduce Kate Brennan, who has been with us in our US/Chicago office since Spring of 2017. She’ll drop a bit of thread knowledge on the first Friday of every month. Kate has been sewing and quilting since she was 8 years old and (along with Social Media Coordinator, Hilary Jordan) is one of our resident quilty geniuses! If you have specific questions, need help, or just want to say hi, simply send Kate a note!

Hi Everyone! I’m so excited to dive back into Thread Matters and think it’s a tremendous chance to share some great threaducation, answer some questions, and tell you more about some of our products and how to use them to make your creative work shine. I’m kicking this series off with an introduction to the newest member of the Aurifil family of threads, our 100% Cotton Forty3.

Launched in Houston at the 2017 Fall International Quilt Market, the 40 weight 3 ply threads are made specifically to handle the rigor of today’s high-speed, high-tech Longarm machines. We’ve had loads of questions about this lustrous thread and wanted to give you all the details so that you know just where to start!

Manufactured to Aurifil’s quality standards, the new Forty3 threads have all the versatility and lustrous color of the original 40 weight threads, with the added benefit of extra strength.  Don’t worry, it’s still virtually lint free!

Aurifil’s new 40 weight 3 ply threads are the perfect finishing touch to your customer’s latest Longarm quilt project.

Nice sales pitch, but we already make a 40 weight thread, so why do we need something different?

Aurifil’s new 40 weight, 3 ply thread is strong.  Like our sales pitch said, this thread is made to handle “the rigor of today’s high speed machines.”  To put this in a little bit of perspective, today’s longarm quilting machines run upwards of 2,200 stitches per minute, compared to a typical domestic machine that runs at about 1,000 stitches per minute, that’s pretty fast!

Like all of Aurifil’s threads, Forty3 thread is mercerized.  The mercerization process helps the thread take the dye and creates the luster that Aurifil is known for.  Also, like the other Aurifil threads, Forty3 is virtually lint-free.  The thread goes through a process that actually burns off the fine “feathers” that become lint in your bobbin case, but we’ll address that in another post.

Enough of the technical details, why should this thread become your first choice when quilting your projects?

Forty3 was purposely developed with thread experts to determine the proper number of twists per inch to create beauty and strength… shoot, there I go getting technical again!

Forty3 thread is thick enough to showcase the quilting without being too thick to backtrack, meaning it works well when using a pantograph or free-motion quilting where designs tend to go over the same area multiple times.

Forty3 thread is cotton – cotton quilting thread does not abrade (or cut) the fibers of the quilt top and backing like synthetic fibers can. This means your quilt will wear better over time and will shrink at a relatively constant rate. which brings up the perpetual debate of “To pre-wash or not…what to do?”  but that is an argument for another time… (and another installment of Thread Matters!)

We sent samples to people who know about these things – and we heard many positive comments:

Karen Miller of RedBird Quilt Co. said of the Forty3 thread, “It doesn’t shred or break regardless of what direction I’m stitching in.  Many threads, (and longarms) like to go one direction or another and often have trouble going the “wrong” direction.  This thread worked without issue in all directions.  I love that – – I could stitch away and not have to plan out my direction.”

Now that you are ready to try the new thread…what do you need to know?

Use a relatively large needle in your longarm machine, a 4.5 is ideal.  If you are using it in your domestic, use a 90/14 top stitch needle is good.

Use a lighter thread in the bobbin.  In the longarm machines, a coordinating 40 weight 2 ply or 50 weight thread is great.  The domestic machines that we tested seemed to favor the 50 weight in the bobbin.

The Forty3 thread is currently available in 50 of Aurifil’s most popular colors with more colors coming in the fall.  A color chart and images of the cones are available here on Aurifil’s website.

The Forty3 thread is available on cones only with 3,280 yards on each cone (that’s a LOT of thread!)

FMQ by Ebony Love at Made Creative Studio

In conclusion:

Thanks to Ebony Love of Lovebug Studios and Made Creative, I had the opportunity to try the Forty3 thread for myself (and learn how to use a longarm machine….eeeeeek) and I really appreciated how smooth and easy the thread traveled through the machine.  We had very few tension issues and I appreciated how forgiving it was for my first longarm lesson… The sample above is from Ebony, (there will be no pictures of my first attempt, thank you very much).  I can’t wait to back into her studio and try it again – I think I see a longarm in my future!

I hope that this was helpful and informative! Please let me know if you have questions about our Forty3 and once you’ve had a moment to give it a try, I’d love to hear what you think!

I have been sewing since I was about 8, my mom was a crazy-talented artist/weaver/sewist/mom/teacher… (you get the idea!) and I remember her making all my costumes and many of my clothes.  My mother-in-law introduced me to quilting – which suits me more than making clothes as I have trouble sewing in 3-D.  After college, I worked for my mother’s luggage company, in sales and making prototypes of her antique reproduction bags before becoming a middle-school math teacher (yes, I am crazy!)

I still use my 45-year-old Kenmore sewing machine on which I learned how to sew. Soon it will be cool again, because it will be officially “vintage”. I was introduced to Aurifil 9 years ago by the man who services my machine. He said he wouldn’t take care of my baby if I used anything else, and he would know if I cheated. I have not used anything else since!

My trusty side-kick, Wrigley is always at my side (or at my feet) throughout all of my quilty adventures. It is clear that she enjoys the products of all of our hard work!!


  1. Sounds like an amazingthread!! I’d love to try this new thread; however, I can’t find it anywhere I live. Would it be possible to send me a sample?

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