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.