No too long ago, I had picked-up more King Tut thread by Superior at one of the quilt shows. I like the look (variegated by design and a 40 weight so it is just a little heavier than my usual Aurifil) and it comes in large cones. I had plenty of the Sahara Shadows - 2 1/2 cones - that is a variegated gold and tan color that works well with the Americana color base of this quilt. In the original thread kit was a cone of John Flynn So Fine polyester in the perfect tan for the bobbin. It is the right match for color and look with the King Tut.
I started by loading 3 bobbins for the Juki and got through the primary stabilization lines and part of the first star point before I had to reload my bobbins. I am now about 30% of the way through the quilting and I have already loaded the 7th bobbin in the machine. I am amazed when I look at how big the spool or cone of thread is and then realize how much thread I actually use in a project - how many miles of thread we use go through in just one quilt. As a guess, I will estimate 20-25 bobbins in this one quilt - that will add some weight to the quilt.
What I am saying, in an indirect way, is that we forget about the quantity and the cost of the thread we use in the construction of the quilt and then in the quilting. By the time you have spent so much money on fabric for the top and the back, and invested your time in construction (and your time is worth a lot) this is not the point to go on the cheap and use inexpensive threads.
I will keep trying different threads and combinations to get the look that I want.
On a slightly different note, during my quilting so far, I have been having trouble with a lot of skipped stitches. It has been really frustrating and resulted in a lot of cussing at an inanimate sewing machine. Of course it is a problem with the machine. I did everything I could think of:
- Took the machine apart,
- Cleaned and oiled everything I could reach,
- Re-loaded the bobbin and the top threads
- Sewed slower
- Sewed faster
- Changed my needle
- Spent time on the internet looking at forums for some ideas
- And completely overlooked the obvious
As with thread, changing needles frequently to keep a fresh sharp needle in your machine improves stitching no matter what you are working on. How long should a needle last? I read somewhere that it is recommended that you change your sewing machine needle after about 8 hours of continuous sewing. Although that makes sense when you remember that the points will get dull with use, I can't be quite that obsessive. For some folks that could be in a couple of weeks or even months. Often for me that is every couple of days. I try to remember to change my needle at the start of every new project and then every so often during the project.
I do know that it is time to change my needle if I hear a popping sound, when the needle goes into the fabric or if I start to see skipped stitches. These are two of the most common signs of a dull needle.
So when was the last time you changed your needle? If you haven't replaced the needle since you started the current project, is it time to make a change? Is it really too much to spend $0.75 or $1.00 for a good quality needle 2, 3, or even 4 times during a project that you just spent $175 buying the fabric for?
I just gotta keep it in perspective, if I want smooth even stitches then I need a well oiled machine with a sharp needle, and good quality thread appropriate to the project to pull it all together.