When my grandmother went to the local variety store a few decades ago and asked for quilting thread, the clerk would inquire, “White or cream?” Ask that same question today, and you may hear, “Cotton or polyester? Short staple or long staple? Variegated or solid? What weight? Invisible nylon or invisible polyester?” While our quilting can certainly still have a traditional look, we are no longer limited to just a few thread choices.
A debate rages in the quilting world as to whether any fiber other than cotton should be used to quilt a quilt. From my perspective as a machine quilter, thread choice depends on many factors besides tradition. How durable does the quilt need to be? Should the piecing or quilting dominate? Do I want to see the thread, or do I only want to see the texture the thread creates? Will I be quilting very densely or far apart? Answering these questions helps me select the best thread for each quilting project.
This article can be found in the Mar/Apr 2008 issue of Love of Quilting. Click here to order a copy of this issue.