My favorite colors of Aurifil thread for quilting

As one of my friends so aptly said, “I’m a thread snob.” Yes, I’ll admit, there’s just no thread like Aurifil. It costs a little more, but in my opinion, is well worth it. I have tried lots of other threads, both cotton and synthetic, and the only other thread that even comes close is 100 wt Silk for quilting–and that’s not a thread I use lightly–no pun intended. Aurifil has a sheen that I haven’t seen in other cotton threads. And it runs like a dream on my longarm with absolutely perfect tension. It isn’t too thick or too thin, it’s just right. In quilting, I use 50 wt Aurifil and buy it on the spools of 1440 yards/1300 meters. While I could get larger cones, it’s nice to have one spool on the machine and one on the bobbin winder.

It’s so hard to decide what color to use on a quilt. There are several things that matter to me. One is a preference for using the same color top and bobbin, however, with Aurifil, sometimes the colors are different and it works just fine. In determining what thread to use on a given quilt, I will pull several lengths of thread off the spool and puddle them on the quilt before making a decision.

I’m going to list my favorite colors and tell you how I use them. I don’t often use dramatic colors for quilting, but subtle colors that enhance the quilting.

Favorite Aurifil colors

Color 2021 is almost white and works on anything that needs white. I like that it’s just almost white because it seems to create a little bit of shadow on a solid white fabric and enhances the quilting.

Color 2715 is a light blue and works beautifully on a lot of blue quilts. There’s enough blue that it isn’t too stark on a dark blue and it’s light enough to look nice on light/white fabrics.

Color 2805 is a light seafoam blue-green which I just purchased but haven’t used yet. Already I know it’s going to be one of my basics. It’s the same intensity as the light blue (2715) and light green (2902), but will be perfect on quilts that are blue-green.

Color 1320 is a medium blue that works well on quilts that have little white in them but lots of different shades of blue. It is definitely a color that completes my blue collection.

Color 2902 is a light sage green and works as beautifully on green quilts as 2715 works on blue quilts. it’s just the right shade of green to blend with almost any dark green, but light enough to look nice on light/white fabrics.

Pinks and purples don’t get as much play on my quilting frame. But the very pale pinkish-lavender–color 2510, and the darker purple–2520, work well for almost any pink and/or purple quilts.

Color 2310 is a very light beige and works great on fabrics that have darks and lights, but not necessarily stark white in them. It is probably the color that I use most.

Color 2314 is a darker beige and is used like 2310 where the “light” fabrics are more of a beige.

Color 2370 is a dark khaki and works great on dark colored quilts. It is one that I use a lot on quilts for men. The khaki color blends with almost any other dark color including dark blues and browns.

Color 2155 is a coppery color and I absolutely love it on green and red Christmas quilts. It blends beautifully with the green and the red.

Color 1135 is a very bright golden yellow. It is great for bright colored quilts and especially baby quilts. It adds a real sparkle to any bright colored quilt.

Color 3920 is a variegated yellow and it works just as beautifully as 1135 on brightly colored quilts.

Color 3817 is basically a primary color variegated and I love it for quilting and machine embroidery. It works great for quilting on brightly colored quilts and for machine embroidery when using the applique stitch on batiks.

Hopefully, I got them all. They seem a bit neutral, and I’m definitely a bright colors girl, but these colors are wonderful for quilting.

Table topper photos

Here’s a photo of the table topper that I started in August for Clarence and Sinead’s wedding gift and which I finished a couple of weeks ago, but I realized I hadn’t shown you what it looks like. The star blocks have curved cross-hatching in the background and a freehand feather meander in the dark areas of the log cabin blocks. There are 45 degree straight lines in the light areas of the log cabin blocks. I was pleased with the way it looks. The Glide thread used for quilting was a little heavy when I had stitched over it 2-3 times, so I used my fabric markers to color it the same color as the darker fabrics when it was stitched on darker fabrics. That is the first time I had used that technique, and it worked very well. After this was washed, it looks great.

Here’s a photo:

Closeup of the quilting

Timing, Tension, and Thread Issues

I have had timing and tension problems ever since I got the new open toe hopping foot. This hopping foot gives me so much more visualization of my quilting that I will not give it up. The answer has to be to adjust something on my machine. There is a good 1/8 inch difference in length between my old hopping foot and the new one. I think that the difference in height of the hopping foot, although I did lower the shorter one to be the same as the old one, has affected both timing and tension.

I have retimed the machine over and over. It seems all right for awhile and then I start getting skipped stitches. My last re-timing was Monday, and all seems better now than ever. I do believe that having perfect timing also makes for good tension.

The other difference that I have noted is the way the thread comes off the cone. I have always used Aurifil thread almost exclusively. When the thread begins to get low on the spool, both at the bottom of the spool and when there isn’t much thread left on the spool, it seems to stick at times–almost as if the thread was starched when it was wound. I used to always soak the cones of thread with silicone, and I never had tension problems. There was a discussion on MQR yesterday about soaking thread in oil or silicone, so I decided to try the silicone soak again. It completely solved my tension problem.

The discussion on MQR was that Sharon Schamber recommends soaking thread in a light oil. Those who have tried it, really like the solution. It has to be a clear and very light oil, such as the oil used for oiling  your longarm machine.

Bottom line (no pun intended), there is a real issue with the thread coming off the cone. When I use Glide thread (a slick, shiny poly), I occasionally get loopies on the back. I can see it happen at the needle as the thread will spring out to the side between the last two thread loops on it’s way to the needle for just a couple of stitches. I dumped a whole cone of Glide into the trash can because I was so frustrated with the loopies (was that wise?). When I use a thread net, it holds the thread too tightly, no matter how much I loosen the tension. And I have the issue of the thread sticking on the Aurifil. I’ve tried everything, but the silicone soak seems to be the best solution for now. Maybe I should try silicone on the Glide. If it is static that is affecting the poly, then silicone should do the trick.