2023 Thread Matters with Karen L. Miller

Greetings Aurifil followers. I’m Karen L. Miller ~ Redbird Quilt Co., Master Educator and Program Coordinator for Aurifilosophy, here to celebrate 2023, the 5th year of Thread Matters – The Aurifilosopher Series with monthly contributions by our wildly talented and creative Aurifilosophers from across the globe!

If your shop, group or guild is ready to take their understanding of thread weights, ply, needles, tension, and technique to the next level, there’s no better time to book an in-person or virtual Aurifilosophy event with one of our certified educators. Learn more and find your favorite Aurifilosopher here.  

I’m excited to be kicking off the New Year with thread basics and a giveaway!  Let’s get started.

Aurifil offers their 100% Egyptian cotton 2 ply thread in 5 unique weights — 80wt, 50wt, 40wt, 28wt, and 12wt. (Additionally, they offer a six strand divisible cotton floss, a luscious 3 ply cotton thread, a nylon monofilament, and a wool blend thread.)

Each unique thread is easily identified by the color of the spool. Learn more about Aurifil’s spool color coding and available cotton colors:

Tip: The best way to experiment with Aurifil’s many versatile thread weights is through practical application. Snag our Aurifilosophy thread set which features one small spool of each of Aurifil’s 7 primary threads (excluding only Forty3 & Monofilament) by checking with your local quilt shop. For online shopping, simply click on the link below.

While each thread has a primary purpose and multiple secondary uses, every creator, maker, and thread addict has their own favorite uses for each. Today I’ll be sharing my favorite uses for each of the Aurifil 2 ply threads paired with lessons I’ve learned to achieve excellent results regardless of the weight I am working with. But first, a little background on “ply” and “weighting”.

Ply Definition & Meaning – Merriam-Webster
excerpt:  ply – noun – b.  one of the strands in a yarn

Did you know that thread weight is calculated or “weighted” with a single strand or ply?  Yes, it’s true. It is, however, a common misconception that thread is weighted with all ply or strands twisted together. Not so. Learn more about thread weighting here: Thread Matters: How is Thread Weighted? – auribuzz

Let me outline why this is important. Many popular quilting cottons are 3 ply or 3 strands of thread twisted together. Aurifil has achieved amazing strength and a lustrous sheen using 2 ply or 2 strands of thread twisted together for the finished product. Sometimes, less is more – one less ply can make a marked difference in our creations.  

Go ahead, grab a 3 ply 50wt cotton and compare the thickness to Aurifil 2 ply 50wt cotton. You’ll fall in love with the difference. You may also fall in love with the fact that a large spool of 2 ply Aurifil 50wt thread delivers 1422 yards of thread compared to large spools of other popular 3 ply threads that generally yield 500 to 600 yards.   

Now, let’s talk about my favorite uses for the 5 weights of Aurifil 2 ply 100% long-staple Egyptian cotton.

L to R: 12wt, 28wt, 40wt, 50wt, 80wt

Aurifil 80wt

This 2 ply Egyptian cotton thread is PERFECT for highlighting fine details when used for machine embroidery or machine quilting.  

But my 1st choice for Aurifil 80wt thread is Needle Turn Appliqué. If you are a needle turn appliqué addict like I am, rest assured this fine weight thread disappears into appliqué and background fabrics like magic! Working with Aurifil 80wt will make your needle turn (or machine) appliqué projects joyful! 


  • Use a straw or milliner needle in size 9 or 10. Remember, the smaller the eye the less often you’ll need to “rethread” the needle.  Trouble with your thread slipping out of the eye of the needle?  Try making a one loop knot at the eye of the needle. Let me know if it helps. 
  • Use short lengths of thread (about the length of your forearm) to avoid excessive wear and tear or knotting when stitching. 
  • Take short stitches ending with a gentle tug. The strength of this fine weight 2 ply thread is gained through applying multiple stitches, not just one.  

Aurifil 50wt

Aurifil 50wt is slightly thicker than Aurifil 80wt thread and, although I love free motion quilting with it on my home sewing machine…

Aurifil 50wt is my #1 choice for Machine Piecing.

That’s right – on top and in the bobbin this 2 ply thread makes piecing a joy. On top, the Aurifil 50wt/2ply helps seams press flat, flat, flat. Less need to worry about achieving that “scant ¼” seam allowance. In the bobbin you’ll be thrilled to load yards and yards of this 2ply thread, resulting in less bobbin changes (promise). 


  • Use a Microtex Sharp size 70/10 or larger for piecing with Aurifil 50wt.
  • With Aurifil 50wt in the bobbin there’s no need to adjust tension when piecing.  Choose a smaller stitch length to gain strength in numbers and have some fun! 

Aurifil 40wt

Aurifil 40wt thread is a wee bit heavier than 50wt. Besides using it for various free motion quilting projects…

it’s my go-to thread weight for Hand Binding.  

The added thickness gives this thread a little extra strength when stitching binding down by hand.  I love to machine stitch the binding to the front (50wt all the way) and hand stitch the binding to the back with Aurifil 40wt thread.  

Side note: Are YOU a Garment sewer? You’ll be thrilled to add this thread weight to your garment construction and detail stitching portfolio.


  • A straw or milliner needle size 9 or 10 works wonderfully when hand stitching with Aurifil 40wt thread.   
  • Use a Microtex Sharp needle size 80/12 or larger for machine work with Aurifil 40wt. Use 50wt in the bobbin. 

Prefer to attach your binding by machine? Check-out the Mitered Flange Machine Binding tutorial here: Karen’s Quilts, Crows and Cardinals: Tutorial – Mitered and Flanged Machine Binding

Aurifil 28wt

Aurifil 28wt thread is so versatile! Have I mentioned 28wt is my favorite weight overall? We’re talking about a heavier weight thread that can be used for hand or machine work – the options are endless.  As promised though, my favorite use for Aurifil 28wt thread is Free Motion Quilting.

One beautiful stitch after another, Aurifil 28wt will allow your free motion quilting stitches to take center stage!! The sheen, the weight, the definition – they come together and steal the show when working with this luscious thread.


  • Choose a topstitch needle size to a 90/14 or larger. Consider dropping your top tension to a slightly lower number. 
  • Continue to use Aurifil 50wt thread in the bobbin.

Aurifil 12wt

Aurifil 12wt thread is the master of all heavyweight threads that will feed through a sewing machine. Although I regularly use Aurifil 12wt for hand embroidery and wool appliqué…

my absolute favorite use for Aurifil 12wt is Topstitching.

If I need to achieve a beautiful topstitch I always choose Aurifil 12wt.  

Sheen, definition, consistency — everything about using this weight for topstitching is a WIN! The thread just looks fabulous. Isn’t it beautiful when used for a double line of topstitching!? Quilt shown is A Wing and A Prayer, prepared by Jan Manley. See more 12wt topstitching here: Karen’s Quilts, Crows and Cardinals: Summer Vacation – A Wing and a Prayer (karensquiltscrowscardinals.blogspot.com)


  • Play with Aurifil 40wt or 50wt in the bobbin. My style requires me to use 40wt, but your speed, tension and stitch length may allow you to use 50wt.   NOTE:  50wt is more cost effective, so if your machine likes it, go for it!!    
  • Choose a topstitch needle size 90/14 or 100/16. Increase the stitch length and consider dropping your top tension to a slightly lower number. 

That wraps up a few of my favorite uses for Aurifil 2ply threads. Stay tuned for future posts to learn more about Aurifil 6 strand divisible floss, Aurifil 40wt/3ply thread for longarm use, and Aurifil nylon monofilament thread. 


To enter to win the Aurifilosophy 7 small spool collection, please comment below with one suggestion for what you’d like to learn about Aurifil threads OR let us know if something that you read today was helpful. This giveaway runs January 27, 2023 through February 13th, 2023. The winner will be contacted via email on February 14. Good luck!

Love the “This Little Light” quilt block? Karen and her good friend and fellow Aurifil Designer Wendy Sheppard (@ivory_spring) are planning a June, 2023 “Piece and Quilt” Retreat in Quilt Town, USA. You wont want to miss the lessons shared by this dynamic duo.  Stay tuned to their social media accounts to catch the upcoming retreat announcement.   

Karen L. Miller, owner of Redbird Quilt Co. is Master Educator for Aurifil, USA, an Aurifilosopher, national educator, author, and cheerleader of all things free motion quilting. She launched Redbird Quilt Co. to share her love of appliqué and show others how free motion quilting on home sewing machines can bring their projects to life. Karen plays with all weights of Aurifil thread and openly contributes her knowledge and experience to the greater quilting community.   When she’s not home enjoying her family and the multitude of songbirds that grace the Finger Lakes Region of NY, you’ll catch her traveling the countryside sharing her passion for quilting with Guilds and Shops alike.

If you’re interested in learning more about free motion quilting on home sewing machines be sure to check out Karen’s websiteprogramstutorialsupcoming events and social media feeds.  Subscribe to Karen’s Newsletter here.


  1. Excellent article, as always. I have never used 40 weight for hand binding (always 50) but will give that a try for my next project. Thank you for a great article.

      1. Sandra, Check with your local quilt shop, often they will order it in for you. If you’re unable to find it there, consider using the Aurifil Thread Concierge service (see the blue button at the bottom of this blog post). Enter what you’re looking for there and someone will get back to you as soon as possible with a shop suggestion for purchasing the 80wt.

      2. I had never even heard they did 80W. Hard to imagine how fine it would be considering how good the 50W is ( which is what I use for all my piecing and for alot of quilting too

    1. I’m so grateful to find your site for learning, (I’m not overwhelmed anymore), & a quick reference. Also appreciate your visual comparisons and examples.

    2. Excellent article, I was not aware that a 12W was available. I am going to try it with my free motion quilting. I love all the vibrant Aurifil colors.

    3. I will definitely copy this article and read again and again until all the information has soaked in!

    4. I have never used Audible threads. You have encouraged me to really improve my quilting with this informative artcle. Thank you!

    5. I found this article extremely illuminating and have printed it out for reference when shopping for my projects!

    6. I liked the article about top stitching. Thanks for the advice on which threats may be used. I love to top stitch.

  2. Such important information. I do love the variety of option and plan to “experiment” with all of them after purchasing them.

  3. It helps to see the same thing stitched out in different weights. I like using the lightest weight when I’m embroidering small words like in a recipe.

    1. So interesting. But this old brain will have to read it again. I recently got a pack of 8 large spools # 14 at the quilt shop, the Lady explained how it will work better in my Baby Lock. She has the same machine.. I only got to try a little before I headed south. I did like it and it never broke, yay! I will read this multiple times, thank you .

  4. So much useful information in this article! I am now ready to try more weights, and it will be my go to for matching needle with thread. Thank you, thank you.

  5. I would love to have a chart with all the Aurifil thread weights listed with “which to use when” that I could reference. Thank you!

    1. i agree; a chart with uses and weights would be great to have handy. i can always refer to this article; but in a pinch; a handy chart i can see readily would be absolutely perfect in my craft/ sewing room.

  6. Thank you for including the needle sizes for each of the thread weights. That was very helpful! Also, it was fun to learn about using the 12 wt for topstitching! Thank you!

  7. I have only used the 12 wt to-date for x-stitch and certainly appreciated it over previous threads for the same purpose. I am planning to check out 50 wt for my quilting creations.

  8. I too would like to see a chart with weights of thread, compatible bobbin thread size, needle size recommendation, suggested use.
    Love, love, love using my collection of 80 wt aurifil spools purchased a year ago for EPP and needle turn applique!!!

  9. On occasion when quilting/topstitching quilt I get skipped stitches. Had switched types of needles but did not consider increasing to a 90 or 100 needle size!
    I’m putting a big sticky on my machine to remind me!
    Thank you so much!

  10. Your needle size analysis was very helpful. If you had any other tips for using size 12 in the sewing machine, that would be helpful.

  11. Such an interesting article. I have so much to learn about the different weights of thread. This article is giving me the nudge I need to start exploring all that Aurifil has to offer. Thank you.

  12. So much helpful information here! I am definitely pinning this and will return, as I’m sure to need to refresh my brain. The idea of using 50 weight in the bobbin with a different weight in the top is so smart, and I love thinking that it will reduce the number of times I need to change bobbins, always a hassle (probably mentally more than actually).

  13. This article is amazing!!! Thank you for the info re : needle sizes and what bobbin thread weight is optimal for topstitching.
    Thank you, Karen.

  14. Karen lives in the area of the country where I grew up, so her shop holds a special place in my heart! I don’t know how many times I’ve read about the different colors for the weights of Aurifil threads, but my brain refuses to hold onto that information,,, it’s always helpful to read it again! Thanks so much for the chance to win that gorgeous thread!!
    Vivian wvoaks at comcast dot net

  15. I so admire Karen Miller’s machine quilting and am in awe of her thread knowledge. I have a large stash of thread in all sizes and switch between for different uses. I had not considered 40 wt for hand sewing the binding. I will give it a try on my next quilt.

  16. I have never thought about using 40 wt for hand binding! It really makes sense for quilts that will be used! I am going to try it! Thank you for the reminders on needle sizes and stitch length, sometimes I forget! You are always so helpful with your tips!

  17. All the information was very helpful and I learned something new about Needle Turn Applique and using a needle with a smaller eye. Thank you!

  18. Karen is an AMAZING source and endlessly TALENTED! I’m thinking it’s time to give 28 wt. a try with her tips.

  19. I love the examples showing the different weight threads and how they look when sewed, rather than just a piece of each pulled off the spool to show the difference in their weight. Also like the MicroTek needle suggestion. Thanks….I always learn something new from your posts!

  20. Very interesting to read about the topstitching done with 12 wt thread and a size 90/14 or 100/16 needle… and thanks for all the great information!

  21. I am currently replacing my old misc thread with Aurifil. I do a lot of hand applique and like that it doesn’t “unravel” as I am threading a very small needle. I also found the description of the various thread weights to be very interesting and informative.

  22. So much fabulous information, I would never have thought to use the heavy weight for topstitching. It will give it a try on my next bag project.

  23. Great discussion on thread! I was pleased to see your comments/recommendations regarding thread weight in the bobbin. I have been curious about using the low weight (thicker) thread in the bobbin.

  24. I hadn’t realised Aurifil 28 wt can be used in the sewing machine! I tend to hand sew with it but now I am intrigued ….

  25. Saving this to refer back to it as I’m often not quite sure which thread is the best choice for a given effect I’m hoping to achieve.

  26. I love Aurifil thread! I use both the 40 wt and 50 wt. I’ve been interested in trying to 80 wt for English Paper Piecing (which I’m new at) and this article was very interesting. Thank you

  27. Loving the difference between the thread weights, would love to see how the compare in hand stitch too.

  28. I love the Aurifil 4owt thread that I used. I haven’t experimented with other weights yet and this has really intrigued me. The images are absolutely beautiful.

  29. So helpful! When I was an absolute beginner, I had no idea what the different weights were for. I’ve experimented a little since then, but this article is really helpful for me to achieve the look I’m going for in my projects.

  30. Lovely to see how these different weight work in the machine. Would love to see how hand stitching/embroidery would look in the different weights.

  31. Very interesting article. I was particularly interested in the choice of machine needle for each different thread weight. I do use aurofil 50 wt for machine piecing but I mostly use universal needles – will try the microtex sharp as suggested and compare the stitching! I really enjoyed this thoughtful and detailed blog.

  32. I enjoyed reading the explanations of the different thread weights. I found it very interesting. Thank you.

  33. So much great information in this, I haven’t used some of the weights, but plan to explore them more after reading the blog. Thanks!

  34. Thank you for the needle size information about what size goes with what weight. Very helpful!!

  35. I was really interested to read about 40 weight for handbinding. I’ll definitely try this, as have only used 50 before. I also want to try 28 for quilting, the examples looked fab

  36. I’m wondering about a tutorial on using various threads on wool applique project….I normally use what the pattern calls for but would love to understand how to substitute various Aurifil threads instead

  37. Very interesting article, loved that it has pictures that clearly show the difference in the different weights. Do you still make wool thread, what is its weight?

  38. This article gave me many things to think about and the many ways to use your thread. I will now have to buy thread ! I will now have to buy different weights to try them all out, way too much fun.

  39. I was given a 50 wt spool of 28wt thread and am looking forward to giving it a try. I use 50 wt for my piecing and much of my quilting..

  40. I enjoyed the article. I especially enjoyed reading about the 12 weight thread. I was wondering how to use it in my machine. I have asked several people in the past and they did not know. It was very informative. I am excited to use the thread with quilting. Thank you!

  41. As I enjoyed learning about the thread and uses from this article I was not thinking about using 80 weight thread for appliqué, I will try it out next appliqué project I do.

  42. A reference chart would be super helpful to keep in my sewing box- I’m a hand quilter and still a bit confused as to which thread is best

  43. Thank you for this post! It was very informative. I have only used 50 wt for all my quilting needs. I look forward to trying some of the different weights on upcoming projects!

  44. Wow. This information is so useful and gives me inspiration to try several new techniques with different weighted threads. Thank you

  45. Hello, I really enjoyed this post on the different threads. I’ve received this pack of threads before and I did not play around with the different weights. I just “used” them. I should have done some experimenting with my pack – shame on me. My question is, I recently made a wall hanging and used Aurifil 50 weight top and bobbin for piecing and the quilting, and I loved it. I did my stitch length at 1.8 – was that too small of a stitch length? What length do you use for your piecing? Thanks!

    1. Hi Kris — great question. I believe most machines default to about a 2.0 or 2.2 setting for piecing. When foundation paper piecing most quilters set their stitch length smaller to aid in removal of the paper pieces after stitching. As long as you can still see a nice definition to your stitches, I don’t feel that 1.8 would be too small. There’s strength in numbers !! {wink, wink}

  46. I loved the explanation in today’s blog. I would love to do some quilting and try out the same colour thread but different thicknesses. I don’t think that I experiment enough with different thicknesses. I usually use colour to define my quilting. It was a good article.

  47. I would love to have this email in a pdf attachment. The information is so good and I know I will never remember it all. Or do you have a brochure or booklet with this information?

  48. Thank you for making suggestions for the needle size to use with each thread and the type of project you are applying it to. Love all the pictures.

  49. Wonderful post and I will be checking out Karen’s sites! A chart as others have stated of the different weights and what to use for would be great. I loved seeing the examples! Thank you !

  50. Excellent descriptions of the different weights of thread, and good photos! My question: which would be best (if any) for sashiko stitching?

    1. Thank you for the feedback, Martha — and great question! If you’re looking for thread for hand sashiko I believe our experts would lean toward Aurifil 12wt thread. There are several Auribuzz blog posts full of fabulous sashiko information. Use this link to preview the posts so you can pick and choose what looks most interesting to you. https://auribuzz.com/?s=sashiko

  51. Such great information! Thank you. I love using Aurifil 50wt for piecing and 28wt for quilting! Perfect!! Thanks again

  52. I learned so much about the weight and different uses of each thread from your article. Thanks! I’m wondering why the needle change from 80/12 to 70/10 when using the 40 weight thread.

    1. Thank you for the feedback, Alicia. As the thread gets thicker and thicker, we suggest increasing your needle size appropriately. For example, a 70/10 needle is large enough for the very fine 80wt and 50wt thread, but when you move up in thickness to 40wt thread you should consider also increasing the size of the needle to an 80/12. The thicker the thread, the larger the eye of the needle. As we increase in thickness to a 28wt thread we suggest using a 90/14 needle and, the thickest thread, 12wt, may require a 100/16 needle. I hope this helps — please let us know if you have additional questions.

  53. I learned 12wt is great for too stitching. As a quilter and bag maker I have used both 50 and 40 wt. I’m going to give the 12 wt a try.

  54. Great article! I have some wool appliqué that I’ve been looking for the perfect thread to start the project. I didn’t realize there’s a Aurifil 12 wt. So excited to get started!

  55. My guild had aurifil present a lecture on their threads. It was very informative. Mine was a zoom meeting with lots of time for questions.

  56. I just started hand Applique with Aurifil 80 weight and just love it. Can’t wait to get more colors.

  57. I found this article extremely informative. Thank you! I would like more information on what to pair bobbin thread with the various top threads.

  58. Hi, What a neat article ! I’ll be saving it, Thank You. I learned a lot about 50wt.Threads. I would like to see a chart with weights of thread, compatible bobbin thread size, needle size and recommendation,for each.

  59. Thank you for the great information. I did not know that Aurifil made a 6-strand cotton floss and would like to know more about this product. I usually use 12 wt thread for hand embroidery but sometimes I need something just a bit lighter. How does the 6-strand floss come packaged? Is it on a spool? I could also use some information on the Aurifil monofilament thread. My machine just won’t sew with it. Is there something I can try to make it work?

    1. Thank you for the feedback, Deborah — and for the great questions. Aurifil’s floss is referred to as “Aurifloss” and comes delivered on a wooden spool (which makes travel with Aurifloss a breeze). As with other floss on the market, it is divisible so you can use as little as 1 strand or go as high as 6 or anything in-between. Read more about Aurifloss in this blog post: https://auribuzz.com/2022/09/21/your-key-to-quilting-success-aurifil-olfa-5/

      About Monofilament – it’s one of my favorites. Reference this Thread Matters post from 2019 for specifics on working with Aurifil Nylon Monofilament. https://auribuzz.com/2019/07/05/thread-matters-2019-the-unsung-hero/

      Please let me know if you have additional questions.
      Many thanks — Karen

  60. Interesting article helped with the photos as explanations. I had no idea what different thread weights make to a project. I want to try them all!

  61. I did not know that they made a 6 strand embroidery thread. I will have to check that out as I love doing hand embroidery.

  62. I’ve used 40, 50 and 80 wt Aurifil, so happy to hear of the other weights! Would love to win and be able to try them too! Thank you

  63. I got some 50 weight for Christmas and I am excited to use it now. The article has been very helpful to help me begin and start something new! Thanks so much!

  64. It’s nice having actual examples of what each thread can be used for. This is from a new-ish quilter that gets overwhelmed sometimes.

  65. As a beginner quilter, I look forward to obtaining and trying out different weights and now know what to look for and expect. I appreciate the tips with the bobbin weight and needle types.

  66. This article was well written and full of a lot of good information. I never thought to use 40 wt when hand stitching my binding, but it makes sense to do so. I’ll give this a try on my next quilt.

  67. Planning on purchasing some 50 Wt next week at local shop for machine piecing. I’m certain it will be a joy to work with.

  68. Thank you for this post! I am italian and I am happy when an italian brand is reviewed and it does well. I am a stitcher and I use threads for sampler (the usual brands for cotton or silk). I am interested to know more about how to use Aurifil threads in cross stitch, as I have never used it. I read that the cotton floss in 6-ply is suitable for cross stitch and I wonder if it’s like the DMC brand on linen (two strands for 28 and 32 ct and one strand for 38-40 and up) or the usage it’s different. I guess I would have to buy a spool and try on linen. Thanks again. Paola

  69. I just ordered a package of 12wt threads and can’t wait to get them in the mail. The work shown in this article is so beautiful. I am anxious to try some double row top stitching. I think it adds so much detail to a project.

  70. Great post! Have used Aurifil for years, mainly 50/2…would like to try more of 40/3. Could you maybe talk about their monofilament thread in the future, particularly how to set it up. I’ve got this large spool with a very tight sock. Should that be off, should there be a thread net etc.

    1. Hi Karin – thank you for your loyal support of Aurifl 50/2 — we sure love that thread too!! RE: Monofilament. You’ll want to leave the sock ON — because this thread is stack wound (wound with threads side by side, not cross wound), the thread will easily fall off the cone if the sock is not on. I wrote a blog post some time ago about my use of and love of Aurifil Monofilament. Check it out here and let me know if you have additional questions — we would be happy to help. https://auribuzz.com/2019/07/05/thread-matters-2019-the-unsung-hero/

  71. Great presentation! I use 50 and 40 weights all the time. I want to try the 28 and 12 weights soon! Looking forward to hearing about 3 weight!

  72. So much useful info, and beautiful examples. I always use either 40 or 50 and never knew if it mattered. Thanks for the clarification.

  73. Hand sewing the binding is my favorite part of making a quilt. I will now use your suggestion of using 40 wt Auriful thread instead of 50 wt for the added strength. Thanks! 🧵

  74. I am going to try the 12wt for my next applique project. I can’t wait to compare that with the thread I have been currently using.

  75. It was very helpful to see the close up photos of the various weight threads & what they really look like when stitched out. I would love to know where to buy any of the threads other than the 50 weight as that seems to be the only thing available in any of the “local” shops. I say that in quotes as the shops are still upwards of 50 miles away, but they are the closest. When I try to shop online at Aurifil, everything is a set.

    1. Thank you Linda. Yes, on the Aurifil website you’ll only find thread collections. Thank you for supporting your “local” quilt shop as best you can. If you’re anxious to find a shop that sells individual spools of the thread weight and color you need, try utilizing the “Aurifil Concierge” service (link button at the bottom of this blog post). The folks there are very helping in pointing you in the right direction to find a shop that carries the weight and color spools you need.

  76. Great article about the different weighted threads and their uses. Hadn’t thought of using 28 wt thread for quilting, will give that a try.

  77. I only recently started using Aurifil for hand stitching, thanks to a Secret Santa Sister who reminded me how much fun hand work is. I will now use it for hand binding, because I truly love to hand bind my quilts.

  78. I never paid much attention to thread when learning to sew years ago.My aunt brought it home and i used it. Now that I’m quilting and the thickness of the thread matters so much, blogs like this are so very helpful. The examples of the threads side by side is really helpful. I’d love to know how to determine the best thread for a longarm. I rent one that loves to break thread and it drives me to QAYG.

    1. Oh Marie – – I can relate! There’s nothing more frustrating than thread breaks on any machine. On my longarm I generally choose to use Aurifil 40wt/3ply thread commonly referred to as “Forty3”. This luscious thread was introduced a few years ago for use with high speed longarm machines (but I use it on my home machine too). It’s delivered on a Yellow Cone, and it is Oh So Beautiful for quilting. The added ply gives it a little more strength. You can see it in use on a longarm with the Aurifil 2019 Designer of the Month quilt in the link below.
      Suggest your quilt shop brings it in. Everyone will LOVE working with cotton thread for quilting. Please let me know if you have any questions.

  79. Love Aurifil thread and keep a cone of 50wt for piecing. Will try the 40wt. for hand binding as I have been using the 50wt. Looking forward to more articles like this one.

  80. I would love to use some heavyweight threads for embellishing. What types of fabrics would be easiest to use when machine sewing with these lovely threads?

  81. Using 40 wt on top and 50 wt in the bobbin for garments is the tip I learned from this blog. Thank you!

  82. I’m glad to learn the tip about 40 wt thread for garment sewing and 80 wt thread for appliqué

  83. This was a very informative article about the different thread weights! I have always been a little afraid to use the thicker threads in my sewing machine, but I think next time I have to topstitch something, I might try the thicker thread!

  84. your article on the weights you might try to use in the bobbins and the use of thicker thread to top stitch really shook me up. I can’t wait to try.

  85. Great info. I learned a lot about the different weights of thread and their appropriate uses.

  86. I found this article very informative – especially pairing the thread size with the needle size. The pictured examples were useful and the penny was an inspired addition. I need to experiment!! Thanks

  87. I love knowing how each thread type has a purpose and seeing examples. I only wish there was a way to obtain a greater variety of small amounts of thread so when I am top-stitching or appliquéing multiple colors in a project I don’t need a whole spool of thread to cover about 3 inches of a particular color of applique.

  88. Thanks for the info about which size needles work best with the different weights of thread. I also didn’t know that 50 weight would work well for bobbin thread with a variety of weights used in the needle. 🙂

  89. what’s ” Forty3″ as in “Aurifilosophy thread set which features one small spool of each of Aurifil’s 7 primary threads (excluding only Forty3 & Monofilament)” ?

    1. Karen, “Forty3” is our shorthand “speak” for the Aurifil 40wt/3ply thread. This luscious thread was introduced a few years ago for use with high speed longarm machines (but I use it on my home machine too). It’s delivered on a Yellow Cone, and it is Oh So Beautiful for quilting. The added ply gives it a little more strength. You can see it in use on the Aurifil 2019 Designer of the Month quilt here: https://auribuzz.com/2021/01/15/thread-matters-2021-its-all-about-the-quilting/

  90. Besides being inspirational, your information on needle sizes really lit the lightbulb for me! Needle size is something I never think about. I usually just use the same needle I have been using all along I will definitely see what needles I have on hand, and go play. Thanks for the information and inspiration !! Your quilting is beautiful!!!!

  91. I found this article extremely informative. I usually use your 40wt for hand applique but I will be trying the 80wt. Thank you for recommending what weight thread to use in the bobbin.

  92. Great article. It was interesting to learn that 12 wt can be used for embroidery, something I have been wanting to try. I was also surprised to learn that using 28 wt looks great with quilting stitches.

  93. Thanks for all the great information about Aurifil’s different threads and the best ways to use them. I use 50wt for piecing and machine quilting, but I would love to try the 80wt for applique or EPP.

  94. This was so helpful! There’s actually a “science” behind what thread to use when! I’ve got a pretty good fabric stash happening already, but I’m thinking my new obsession is becoming thread! I’ve long been a fan of the 12wt spaghetti thread with all of the fabulously glowing colors for the hand quilting I like to do, but clearly I need to diversify my thread inventory!

  95. Thank you for this opportunity to discover all about thread! I’ve learned so much. Thank you.

  96. I love the tips directly from Aurifil because I know from experts. I make notes from each email and keep them in my Sewing Journal. I would to love see more ways ways to use Aurifil in garments. Thank you!

  97. I love the tips that you provided for needle size and types to use for both machine ad hand stitching as well as the advice on bobbin thread weight. I’m really looking forward to learning more about using floss and the 3-ply thread.

  98. Interesting reading….loved reading how to use each weight of thread. Will definitely refer to this article for future sewing/quilting/embroidery projects. Thank you!

  99. The information about needle sizes and stitch lengths is very helpful. I will keep the link for future reference.

  100. I use Aurifil 50 wt almost exclusively, never realized how versatile the other sizes were. Appreciated the needle size suggestions.

  101. As a new quilter, I greatly appreciate the information about Aurifil thread’s weight and usage. Thank you!!

  102. Wonderful article! I did not know about the 12wt Aurifil thread before reading this! The topstitch pictures make a great case for giving it a try!

  103. I just bought a quilt kit with a lot of hand appliqué. I would love to try the 80 wt on this project. Your article is very educational.

  104. I’ve always used the same thread both top and bobbin. It was great to read the recommendations for bobbin and needle choices with the different threads. I’m anxious to try the thicker threads for quilting!

  105. Great information. I thought I needed to use the same weight thread in the bobbin as what was on top. I’ll have to do some experimenting.

  106. It’s all confusing in my head (just a beginner). I took your online webinar about Aurifil threads a few months back and you did a great job explaining everything. These notes are a wonderful follow-up and I’m going to print them and put them in my binder. After your online webinar I ordered the thread card and the monthly thread subscription to build my thread supply. But the subscription comes in one weight so it would be nice to “touch and feel” the different weights for comparison.

  107. I have been quilting for 5 years, I have never used anything other than 50wt thread for piecing and quilting.

    After reading your blog post and seeing the pictures, I have a much better understanding of how the various thread weights can be used. Depending on the weight, the threads can be invisible or bring texture and movement to the quilt.

    It’s time to get out of my comfort zone. Time to buy and try all 7 of Aurifil’s thread weights. Going to visit my LQS. The owner is a Aurifil Ambassador.

  108. Thank you – the needles to use with each thread was helpful! I love to use the 12 weight on wood. 50 weight is my go to for piecing

  109. So interesting and informative! I’ve been using Aurifil 50 weight for EPP projects and needle turn appliqué. Now I want to try the 40 wt for needle turn and I want to try 50 wt on my machine for piecing – especially when making blocks that are small with multiple seams! Thank you for sharing this! I definitely need a cheat sheet, but such good info I really want to experiment! I never thought about the topstitching with the heavier weight!! 🤪.

  110. I use 40 wt to finish my quilts and use same in the bobbin. Curious why recommending using 50 wt in the bobbin? I guess I think using 40 in both gives a little extra strength for over the years but maybe not?

    1. Thank you, Lori — great question. It won’t “hurt” to use 40wt in the bobbin when using 40wt on top but, if there’s no need for the added strength, I always recommend using 50wt in the bobbin because:
      1. 50wt/2ply is thin — you can fit a lot of thread on a single bobbin. You’ll fit a little less of the 40wt/2ply on a bobbin.
      2. 50wt/2ply is the most cost effective Aurifil thread weight to purchase.

      Overall, there is no right or wrong. Go with what works for your project and if you feel more strength is necessary the 40wt jump is a good one.

  111. I use 50wt and floss often. I own some of each of the others but didn’t have a clear sense of when to use them. This post helped clarify that.

  112. Your articles are very informative, I use the 50 wt when sewing with the machine. I love the Aurifil thread all the time

  113. Your article was very informative. Your explanation and examples of each weight was so helpful. I’ve been sewing and or quilting for over 40 years and it’s just been a few years that I found out that my thought of a thread is a thread just pick a color. This article helped make even more sense of the differences. Thank you

  114. Wow, using the 12wt for topstitching was new to me and very beautiful! What thread would you suggest to couch yarns and cordings? Thanks for putting all this wonderful info in one place!

    1. Thank you Jan! I just LOVE to use the 12wt for topstitching. I too am in love with the sheen and beautify of the thread — especially with a longer stitch length. RE: Couching — depending on the look you are after, consider either Aurifil 40wt in a matching color to the yarn or cording (use 50wt in the bobbin) — OR — Aurifil Nylon Monofilament Keep the cotton 50wt in the bobbin and Mono on top. Decrease your top tension and increate the stitch length. I wrote about Mono tips and tricks in this blog post — let me know if you have additional questions. We would love to see anything you create! https://auribuzz.com/2019/07/05/thread-matters-2019-the-unsung-hero/

  115. This post is great, especially the pictures showing the difference between the thread weights. I’ve not tried the 28 yet but it’s now on my list to purchase !

    Thanks as always for the education.

  116. Great article. I can’t wait to use 80wt on my next needle turn project. Also thanks for the needle information.

  117. What a helpful article! I have to admit I never knew about the color-coded spools! I’ll be buying 50wt for my next project.

  118. This article about the various thread weights and uses is excellent. My suggestion would be to make this available in a free download reference guide. It has needle suggestions and tension suggestions to use for the various threads. It would be great to have this available. Thank you!

  119. Great article! I found the information about plys especially helpful. I’m saving this post for reference.

  120. Thank you for such an informative article. I enjoyed reading this and shared it with my quilting buddy!

  121. Your article included a lot of information . It was a great review and I also learned new knowledge

  122. I’ll have to see if I can find some 40wt to give it a try on some hand binding. I’ve enjoyed your thread for piecing and machine quilting on a domestic machine.
    In stitches Annette

  123. That was very helpful, not only selecting the thread weight, but which needle to use, and even bobbin selection. Thank you!

  124. Thanks for a great article. If you have a chance to attend an in-person workshop with Karen, do it. I haven’t tried 40 wt for hand stitching bindings and will try that soon.

  125. Will keep this article for reference. Thread weight must make a big difference in a block with many seams.

  126. Oh this is such great information. A chart that contains all of this along with suggested needle size, bobbin thread, etc. would be so helpful! I already see it printed out and hanging on my bulletin board!

    1. I love the article filled with wonderful information. I first started using Aurifil thread 8 years ago when Kim at Chattanooga Quilts suggested it for my Featherweight machine. She explained it was two ply instead of three ply. Bought my first spool and I have never looked back. I use it in all my machines.

  127. I used 12 wt one time on a quilt. I had to use it in the bobbin. I didn’t know you could use it as top thread. I would like to know more about that.

  128. Very informative post. I learned something about thread ply and weight that I never knew. I would be interested in taking each weight and giving many different ways that people use it.

  129. Thank you for the visuals of how the weights look side by side when stitched. I tend to stick with very muted thread colors when quilting. Learning more about adding thread color to my projects would be interesting to me.

  130. Thank you for the great info! I have used the 50weight for piecing and quilting and the 12weight for hand quilting! I think I would like to try the 40 and even the 28! Thanks for such a great article, being a new quilter I enjoy learning about the differences

  131. Thank you for peaking my interest in the 28 weight thread. It sounds like something I must experiment with.

  132. Great information! I’ve been using 50wt for years but only added the others in the last few. Love being able to add visual variety, and invisible stitches on appliqué!

  133. I really misunderstood thread, thinking the higher numbers were thicker and heavier. Thanks for the education. Now will try other weights than the 50 and 40 I have now. Mary Aigner

  134. I live learning about thread. I would like to find or make an easy to read chart showing which thread is best for different projects.

  135. I have never done double row stitches but it is beautiful in your photo. Great information about threads and when to use them. Thank you!

  136. I plan to save this article for future reference. I especially appreciate the advice for best use for each thread weight.

  137. Great article, it’s so helpful to understand the different thread weights and uses along with the best needle size. I mostly use 50wt but will be trying the others.

  138. Now that I better understand the differences. I think I will have to pick some weights other than 50. Very useful information.

  139. Excellent summary of the weight differences. I would like to see more variety and colors in my local shops. Choices are limited. Thanks goodness for online shopping!

  140. I have only used the 50wt and love it. I should be more adventurous and try ALL the others. 😉

  141. Thanks for the information about 28 wt. thread…did not know about this wt. Would love to try some.

  142. I recently bought a HandiQuilter Capri so that I can sit when doing longarm quilting. Should I follow domestic free motion quilting or longarm quilting suggested uses? Also, I’d like to know more about buying large spools versus cones of thread.

  143. I have a few weights I have not tried yet and the article encouraged me to do it. I also want to try the suggestion of using 40wt for hand binding.

  144. Very good article. I haven’t tried the 12 or 28 weight threads. Your article makes me want to try them right now.

  145. Thanks for the information on uses for the different weight threads. I never thought about using a 12 weight thread in my machine. Would love to give all the various threads a try. My LQS only carries 50 weight.

  146. This is super helpful and I am saving for future use to refer back to! Will try the more sturdy weight next time I hand bind!

  147. Very useful information. I adore the 50 wt and have multiple colors for appliqué and machine piecing. You have talked me into branching out into 80 wt as well. Thanks!

  148. Is there a reference chart available? All this information can be confusing. My machine has decorative stitches. What is best thread when using those?

  149. I have only used the 50 wt for piecing and quilting. I want to try to idea of the 28wt for quilting on my home machine. Do you recommend using this for all machine quilting? Denise? or more Open? Does it matter what type of batting one uses if using this 28wt?

  150. Enjoyed the informative article. Use 80 & 50 wt threads daily in my applique and machine piecing but will try the 40 wt when I stitch down my next binding. Just learning to free motion machine quilt and will experiment with heavier weight threads as my skills improve.

  151. I like the idea of using 12 wt for topstitching/decorative stitching. I’m going to give that a try! I have been using Aurifil for years and don’t use anything else.

  152. I also agree with the suggestion of a chart to compare weights and uses of all the threads. There is a lot to learn even when you have been sewing for more than 65 years!

  153. I found the fact about the 2 ply vs 3 ply thread interesting. Curious to try using the 2 ply Aurifil and see if my seams are easier to press flat.

  154. I learned about “ply”. I want a thin bobbin thread for piecing and learned that the 50wt. of Aurifil may fit the bill! I was looking for a smaller weight but this may work.

  155. I love the 50-wt. thread for piecing and quilting. I have never used the 40 wt. to hand sew binding down but will try it on my next quilt. I have never thought of using 28 wt. to topstitch with but will also try it. I have learned so much from this one post. Thank you.

  156. I’m just starting to play with heavier threads and your blog post was perfect for instilling some confidence to start. Thank you!

  157. Thank you for you detailed explanations. I am one that thought the weight was for the combined strands. I have saved this article for future reference. I’m new to quilting and this is extremely useful.

  158. Thanks for the info about ply. I didn’t understand it, but noticed how ‘heavy’ other 50wt threads feel in comparison to Aurifil! I have tried using 12wt for topstitching and I agree it is the best!

  159. I always wondered what weight thread to use in the bobbin when sewing with a heavier weight thread.

  160. I find articles like this exceptionally helpful!! I’ll be printing this one and keeping it near the sewing machine. Thank you.

  161. A wonderful article and a great reference to keep on hand. I particularly found the “tips” to be very helpful. Thank you!

  162. Thread weight is measured based on a SINGLE ply?!! No one has ever explained that to me before! Fireworks exploding in my brain now; thank you for that!! I could tell that Aurifil 50/2 was taking up less space in my seam allowances and helping my blocks finish to correct size, but didn’t understand WHY a 2-ply thread would be less bulky than a 50/3. Now it makes total sense. Also now I understand why I was able to use 50/3 threads successfully for hand binding, but a couple times when I used 50/2 to hand bind utility quilts I noticed thread breaks and binding needing to be restitched after a few trips through the laundry. I recently tried Aurifil’s Forty3 thread in my longarm machine and it’s absolutely gorgeous, although I wasn’t thrilled with the bobbin thread I paired it with (a 50 wt poly from another manufacturer). Based on what I’ve learned from this post, I’m going to try Aurifil 40/2 in my bobbin with Forty3 in the needle next time for stitches that look as pretty on the back of the quilt as they do in the front. I’m also itching to try Aurifil 12 wt and 28 wt in my longarm… I just want to play with ALL OF THE THREADS! 😉

  163. I loved reading this to find out the different weights of threads and their best use.Thank you.

  164. Thank you for such an informative article! I didn’t know you could use 12 weight in my machine…..that will add so much for top stitching I do on project bags and other gift items. Can’t wait to try it.

  165. Great article! Never thought of using the
    40 wt for garment sewing. But makes sense, I’ll give it a try.

  166. Great information! I’ll be using the information to make a chart that includes weight, use and needle size- thank you!

  167. Thank you for the side by side comparison of the 5 threads I didn’t understand thread weights until I saw your sample it makes it easier to understand!!

  168. The photos along with this article were so helpful! I’ve always wondered about the different thread weights and how they would look when sewing with them. Thanks so much!

  169. Such good information. I think I’m going to try the Aurifil 50wt first. I’m looking forward to seeing how it will help my quilt piecing. But all the the different weights and how you explained uses, pictures, and needle size, makes me want to experiment with them all! Thank you for the info.

  170. Thanks for the tips section. I always have difficulty with my tension so will try different weights

  171. This was such a great explanation with examples of how to use each type of thread. I have never thought about using 40 wt for hand binding and plan to try it out for my next quilt finish.

  172. Great explanation of threads & their use. I’ve veen sewing for years & hadn’t known that you made a 12 & 28 wt thread. I will have to look fir these options. Thanks.

  173. I use aurifil exclusively and I never new for sure what thread to use when 🤦‍♀️
    This article and photos are wonderful!!
    I feel a little more knowledgeable about them now.

  174. I use 80 weight for handsewing hexies together. Works wonderfully. What I do not understand is making the single loop know at top of needle. Anything I have seen just is not clear enough how to accomplish it.

  175. It was good to get the suggestions of what needle to use with each weight of thread. Not sure I’ve seen this anywhere before!

  176. Great article! I LOVE Aurifil & have been using it for years, but I haven’t really tried 28w, so now I’m on a mission

  177. I appreciated the recommendations for using the different weights, especially learning that I can use 12 wt for machine topstitching—excited to try that on my next project.

  178. I learned so much about the different weights of Aurifil. I look forward to trying the 80 wt. threads for hand applique, and the 40 wt. for machine quilting.

  179. I learned so much! The most important I think is that I need to use a different weight in my bobbin on certain projects. I’ve never done this before. Thank you for all the amazing information! Great article!

  180. I learned sew much from this article. I need to save it for all the uses and weights and needle recommendations and recommended bobbin thread weights. The pictures were very educational. I want to get on my machine and sew with all.


  181. I don’t know a lot about threads so the whole article was helpful. I was happy to learn that Aurifil 12wt thread is used for hand embroidery and wool applique.

  182. My go to thread is Aurifil 50 wt. after reading this I definitely will try the others, especially 80 wt for hand sewing/appliqué. Thanks!

  183. Wouldn’t 28 weight thread for quilting make wobbles show up more when learning to free motion quilt?