Monday, March 29, 2010

Bobbin Threads and Apron Strings

I've received a few questions about why I use bobbin thread so I thought I'd give you my two cents on the issue. I love bobbin / lingerie thread - specifically YLI Soft Touch thread - it's basically the only thread I use in my bobbin, with one exception which I'll explain below..

YLI Soft Touch is a 60 weight / 2 ply, 100% cotton thread. It is very strong - I've been know to use it on top as well as in the bobbin.

Soft Touch is available in 28 colors - I tend to use only neutral colored thread in most of my piecing so I always keep a supply on hand of white, off-white, grays, tan, brown and black. However when I am quilting I will try to match or compliment the backing fabric with my bobbin thread.

One exception - when I am using a heavy weight quilting thread on top - say a 40 weight - I will put a heavier weight thread in the bobbin - say a 50 weight. I've found that using a bobbin weight thread with the heavier quilting threads can throw of my tension - talk about a thread from the edge!

Why use bobbin thread -
1. because I'm lazy, - - - I hate to have to stop sewing to change my bobbin. A lot of sewers will wind a bobbin with whatever thread they have on top. If you're using a heavy thread on top, say a 40 weight - that bobbin in going to run out before you know it. This is me winding a bobbin - I actually hold onto my thread as it is coming off of the spool to create a bit of tension, allowing me to really pack the thread on my bobbin. FYI - do not do this if you have a machine that uses plastic bobbins - you can create so much tension the plastic will contract and get stuck on the holder - I know - I did it!

2. because I'm cheap - - - those fancy threads we like to use on top can be expensive - why throw money away on something you really don't see. Bobbin thread is more cost effective to use.

3. because I like the way the stitch settles when ironed - - - using bobbin thread really decreases the bulk in your seam.

Where can you find a nice selection of thread - seems I've had no problem with that - take a look at my thread collection below - ouch! There are still bowls and stacks of thread scattered throughout my sewing room that can't fit into this door "organizer" - if you call this organized.

Finding a quilt shop that has a nice thread selection can be tricky - I find a lot of quilt shops have a very poor selection of thread. If you're in the Greater Philadelphia area there is one shop that has an excellent selection of thread - Ladyfingers Sewing (I've always thought this sounds more like a massage parlor than a sewing studio). An FYI - they do not offer their full line of thread on line. Ladyfingers Sewing is located in Oley, PA - farming country close to Reading. But let me make it worth your drive - here's the perfect full day road trip for a quilter -
First stop: Generations Quilt Shop right off route 422 in Pottstown - great selection of designer fabrics
Second stop: Ladyfingers in Oley off of route 662 - stock up on thread, tons of notions, and silk on the bolt
Third stop: Quilters Palette in Pricetown on route 10 off of route 662 - a fantastic collection of batiks and hand-dyed wools
Fourth stop: Goggleworks in Reading - an incredible gallery / artist studio space. Mary Stoudt, who has been in Quilt National, has a studio at the Goggleworks.
Fifth stop: Somethings Looming in Reading - haven't been there yet, but am planning to get there soon.

Here's my pet peeve - why can't sewing machine manufacturers make a machine that doesn't require a bobbin - I feel like the girl in the Windows 7 Microsoft commercial. Why can't they make a machine where you put a big honking spool of bobbin thread on a special holder that feeds directly into the bottom of the machine - WHY??? Are you listening to us????

Enough about thread - I want to show you my Free Spirit apron that I made this weekend - remember this - I bought it at the quilt show?

It was so easy to throw together - if you don't have one of these tube turners - BUY one - they're great - made turning the straps a piece of cake.

Here's my beautiful niece Megan modeling the apron - I gave it to her Mom as a thank you for the big spaghetti dinner last night - I should have given it to her father who got sauce all over his new shirt!

I got a little tricky - the directions had you turning the edge - I decided instead to make it reversible - isn't this cute! Thanks Meg!

1 comment:

yahaira said...

ah thank you! I'll have to give it a try. and I've often wondered why they don't make machines that just let you use a whole spool as the bobbin!

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