I have my machine set for one kind of thread and I am afraid to change anything, especially the tension. Don't those fussy threads always break?

I understand that very well. Tension and thread breakage problems can make quilting a miserable and frustrating experience. There were times when I have wondered what made me ever think I could do this, and regretted spending the money for my machine. When I had a deadline, it became more than a frustration. Over time though, I have found solutions to most all of the problems.

Here are some things that I have learned:

  • One big lesson was the need to slow down sometimes.
  • Cotton threads always leave more lint behind.
  • Although rayon fibers have a lower tensile strength, Sulky 30 wt. Rayon runs great. With a lot of fussing, I can run the 40 wt., however, there are so many colors in Sulky 30 wt. Rayon, I reserve the matching 40 wt for the bobbin.

So let me share with you some other things I have learned from my own experience:

Fabric fiber content matters. Sulky Rayon Thread has a rich, high sheen. It is a pliable fiber lending itself to intricate work. It does not have a high tensile strength, so abrading and fraying may be an issue with fabrics such as a tightly woven batik. The solution: Try Sulky Poly Deco. Same great look, but Poly Deco is extremely strong and it is my number one choice when I want a no fuss, no muss shiny decorative thread.

Invisible threads are not all equal. Most are nylon fiber. Sulky Invisible is made of Polyester. It is soft and supple enough even for baby quilts. Nylon can melt at cotton iron temperatures, or become brittle at high dryer settings.

Cotton Threads are not all equal. Here fiber quality and length matters; the dyeing process matters; consistency of twist and strand matters. Sulky Cotton passes every test. 12 wt. in the needle and 30 wt. in the bobbin is my choice for flannel quilts. 30 wt in both top and bottom is an easy to use choice for anyone preferring Cotton. Take a look at the new Sulky Cotton Blendables for the quilt tops where one color just won't work. There is likely one that is just perfect. When using Cottons, take special care to clean and oil the bobbin area to nearly eliminate poor stitch quality and breakage. I clean the lint out every bobbin change, and put a drop of oil in the race every 8 to 10 bobbins. I know it seems like a lot of oil, but I am brushing most of it out with the lint.