Show Me The Thread!

Usually, for me, it’s “Show Me The Fabric!”  I get excited about fabric in my mailbox, browsing the fabric area in a quilt shop, petting new, crisp fabric (yes, petting…), even looking through and handling the fabric in my own collection.  This weekend I was reading some of the Sew, Mama, Sew comments and links regarding “threads stashes” (I didn’t think I had one!) and realized, that I just might be a bit of a thread collector as well….  I wish that photo above was my stash, but it is from Sew, Mama, Sew.  
Here is part of my thread collection.  I store my cotton and polyester solids in a wire rack that was originally a store fixture for Superior Threads.  On my to-do list is an item that reads “make a cover for thread rack”, because I know they should be kept free of dust and get less light exposure, even though they are not sitting near any natural light.  My silk and decorative threads, and my variegated threads live in the drawer of a vintage doll bureau/dresser my Mom bought for me to store my sewing notions. 
  • How did you select colors for your personal thread collection?  Do you always match the color perfectly to your project?

I do most of my piecing (quilting) with neutral colors (white, beige or grey) threads, and my clothing construction, I tend to match the color of the garment.  I do buy specific, matching colors for applique projects and quilting, often quilting with contrasting colors to make my quilting stand out.  For some reason I cannot figure out, I seem to have A LOT of orange and yellow shades (not my favorite colors at all…)

  • Do you ever use contrasting thread?

Yes, now that my quilting is vastly improved, I often quilt in contrasting solid colors or a pretty variegated thread to make my quilting stand out.  I’ve used contrasting thread for decorative hems on garments as well.

  • Do you use the same color in the bobbin as the upper thread?

When piecing or constructing a garment or bag, yes.  When quilting and doing decorative work or applique, typically no.  I usually have a vastly different colored back so my bobbin thread will match that.

  • What if a fabric has big areas of very different colors?

I choose a luscious variegated thread, or a fun contrasting color that will make it P*P!

  • Do you have any tips or suggestions about choosing thread?

If you are just starting out in sewing or quilting, ask your local fabric shop clerks for advice, they typically know their stuff.  Try different brands regularly to see what your machine likes best (yes, different machines react differently to the same brand or even spool of thread!).  When quilting, I always choose 100% cotton thread to match my fabric content, that is, if it is a quilt to be used (crib/throw/bed).  If you are making an art quilt to hang or be displayed, it’s fine to use polyester, rayon, silk, etc. that will give you more sheen and decoration but doesn’t need the strength a quilt in continuous use does.

  • Do you ever buy thread because you fall in love with the color (without a particular project in mind)?

Uh, yes… My entire drawer of variegated and decorative threads was acquired via the impulse purchase…just because I liked the colors….  Most have them have since been used, at least some.  Those in that photo above, many are Valdani threads (another FAVE!) and have names like “Chimney Sparks”, “Cappuccino”, and “Olive Grove”…I’m a sucker for a great name and good marketing!

  • Do you “invest” in thread?

Yes, when I find Aurifil (MY Favorite!) at a discount, I stock up.  Also, some of the YLI threads (variegated and silk) I will buy at a show booth when I can get a discount for buying multiple spools.

  • What types of thread do you have? (elastic, quilting, all-purpose, wool, etc.)

I have some Coats & Clark XP threads that I buy when on sale at Joann’s, which gets used primarily in constructing garments. I have some elastic thread for a smocking project I have yet to make.  Lots of Gutermann and Mettler 100% Cotton for quilt making, a small, but fabulous collection of silk thread for hand applique, Superior Bottom Line that I love using in the bobbin for piecing and quilting, and some rayon and polyesters that are more for decorative purposes. 

So, I didn’t count the spools or anything, but I think after creating this post, I must admit, I DO collect thread and I DO have a stash of it.  Do you?


5 thoughts on “Show Me The Thread!

  1. Oh great photos! And yes, you DO have a lovely stash of thread!

    I have already been drooling over photos of thread…my desktop picture right now is spools of colorful thread!! How crazy is that?!

  2. Your thread collection, and the variety of brands and types put me to shame. And to think – horrors – mine are just heaped into two plastic shoe boxes and a Matchbox car plastic case!

  3. I just bought bunches of No. 8 perle cotton from Thread Art at 89 cents a spool. Wow, when I opened the box and the thread tumbled out, it was gorgeous! I am also a sucker for good names–paint, thread, nail polish, you name it. A good name gets me every time.

  4. I wish I could say I had a thread stash, especially one as nice as yours! I think it would be great to have all these wonderful options at your reach. Have you tried the new Amy Butler thread yet? I do love the colors in those sets. I usually buy thread for a specific project, but then need more selection for those areas that call for contrast.

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