Thread thoughts…

I’m so glad I started my new hand appliqué 
project – I love to have something that I can stitch on that is ready to go!  I haven’t made lots of progress yet, but that’s OK.  This project is meant to be one of those that has no deadline – it will be finished when it is finished.

I always use 100 weight silk thread by YLI for my hand appliqué.  I love the way the silk thread just disappears into the fabric.  

The back of the project above

People often comment on how tiny and invisible my stitches are and my thread is a major factor in this result.  (Sorry this isn’t a better picture – my camera does not like taking detail shots)

I was lucky enough to purchase this wonderful assortment of colors early in my quilting life and have used it a LOT.  It can be hard to find silk thread in quilt shops these days so I usually add to my collection at a bigger quilt show.  When I teach hand appliqué, I always bring my thread so my students can try it first, as it is not inexpensive at $5-7/spool.  Silk thread this fine does knot easily, but once most people see how it sinks into the fabric, this annoyance is worth it!

While I use YLI because I have it on hand, I’m sure there are lots of other threads that would work well too.  Like anything in quilting, just try a few to see what you like.  I think the two most important things are thread weight and color.  Mine is 100 weight compared to my normal 50 weight for machine piecing.  If you have difficulty finding 100 weight thread, try some of the finer 50 weights such as Aurifil.  The color of the thread must match the fabric you are appliquéing onto the background.  This is not the place to use an “all purpose” neutral.

I prefer to work with natural fibers, so a fine cotton thread would work too.  I have heard that some quilters are concerned that the silk thread is stronger than the cotton fabric and might damage it over the long term.  While I can’t say whether this is true or not, I think it is unlikely to happen in the next 50 years, so I choose not to worry about it and continue using the product that gives me the results I like.

How about you – do you have a favorite thread for hand appliqué?

PS I know some machine quilters love to quilt with 100 weight thread too!

  • Pip
    Posted at 23:12h, 19 June Reply

    When I made my first (and only) applique quilt I started used YLI silk thread, I love it for the same reasons you do and prefer to use it rather than any other thread. I'm not sure what sort of camera you have but have you tried using the macro setting on your camera for detail shots, if you look for a tulip icon in the camera settings/buttons then that is the macro setting, it works really well.

  • Jayne
    Posted at 14:16h, 19 June Reply

    Its beautiful! I have yet to hand applique anything, but love seeing it! Those thread colors are amazing and so vibrant. I do love to have something to do by hand in the evenings, wheather its bindings or hexies ~ always working!!

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