I recently received a lovely package in the post - some samples of Aurifil thread in all the different weights.
The threads I tested out were:
12wt cotton - red
12wt wool - pale grey
28wt cotton variegated - dark pink to light pink
40wt cotton - black
Forty3 cotton - white in yellow cone
50wt cotton - sand
80wt cotton brown
My tests were all going to be related to quilting and so I started with a quilt sandwich made of Higgs & Higgs black cotton with The Warm Company Warm & Natural wadding.
I started out on my domestic machine, which is a Janome MC9450QCP. I had 60wt Glide thread in the bobbin and a size 80 needle. I decided to try all the thread weights with the same needle to see how it went. If I was doing an actual project I would change needle to match the thread weight - the finer the thread the smaller the needle.
I learnt a lot whilst taking pictures for this post - don't use black as the background fabric was the main one! It shows up every bit of fluff and the pale wadding doesn't help either! What you might not be able to see from this photo is that there was really nice stitch quality to all the thread weights.
My machine has automatic tension settings and, when I left them alone, all the threads stitched fine. It really amazes me how a machine can deal with a 12wt wool or cotton up to 80wt. You've got to love a modern day sewing machine!
The back photographs better and you can see that the stich formation with the 60wt bobbin thread is lovely. You will notice on the decorative spool stitch that there is a little bit of the variegated thread coming through, but that is quite normal with decorative stitches and occurs sometimes with variegated threads because tension can change through the colour intervals.
Next it was time to try them our on my longarm machine, which is a Handi Quilter Amara. I had 80wt Decobob in the bobbin and I did change the needle for the different weights.
First up were the two 12wt threads where I used a size 20 needle and set my stitch length to 8 spi. With the thicker threads you will want to increase your stitch length to get a nice looking stitch. Both produced lovely stitches and again the pale grey wool doesn't photograph well on the black fabric!
Onto the 28wt variegated and 40wt for which I used a size 18 needle and set my stitches to 9 spi.
For the 50wt thread I used a size 16 needle and tried various stitch lengths ranging from 9 to 12 spi.
All of the above spools sat on the main spool pin located in the middle of my machine because, although they are spools, they are cross wound which means the thread is better being pulled off the end of the spool, as opposed to using the horizontal spool pin for horizontal wound spools. I now have a large spool to test out because I was wondering when these small spools got low on thread whether there might be issues with the plastic lip getting in the way. I will let you know when I get that far.
The real test for me, and the main reason I wanted to try out Aurifil threads, was the Forty3 on my longarm machine. This is a 40wt thread 3 ply which makes it that much stronger, which is always helpful when stitching up to 2,500 stitches per minute! I thought I would test this threads with my Pro-Stitcher because the majority of my customer quilts are edge to edge designs using Pro-Stitcher.
I used a size 18 needle and had a stitch length of 10 spi and just look at those gorgeous stitches!!
I couldn't resist trying out the variegated thread too ...
Phew I think that was quite exhaustive testing!
The other thing to note is that the customer service I have received so far has been excellent. Coming from an engineering background and being an Educator myself I had more questions than most. Each was answered promptly and willingly which is not always the case with suppliers. I have taken the decision to stock some Aurifil thread for use with longarm quilting customer quilts, for those customers who would like a natural thread, and also to have a selection of naturals and brights in stock for other people to buy.
Look out for an announcement about that soon if you like Aurifil thread!