Monday, March 3, 2014

Thread Color Cards

It's time to give a little perspective on threads and the value of color cards. There are three brands--Superior, Presencia, and Aurifil--which I have color cards for so I will speak to those here. I have pieced, quilted and serged with many brands over the years, for what it's worth. To me, it's invaluable!

My motivation came after ordering this small stack of color cards from Superior Threads Represented here is what I use for serging: Omni & ProLock; piecing/bobbin thread: Masterpiece; quilting: King Tut; and bobbin thread when using decorative threads: The Bottom Line.

For polyester and decorative threads, I thread the top of the machine and use a top stitch needle. This 60-wt. polyester thread is perfect for the bobbin.

The value of having color cards is they are made with a small sample of the actual thread so you can accurately color match. Printed sheets of color are helpful but slightly different than reality. I have a printed sheet of Masterpiece thread and the actual color card. Both lovely, but they are not the same. For accuracy, consult a color card.

Masterpiece is a 50 wt., 3-ply cotton thread. It used to be a 2-ply thread and the spools I have are representative of that. I realized after using it and other 2-ply brands that I prefer the strength of 3-ply for piecing & quilting. Now that Masterpiece is 3-ply, I'm looking at the color availability to compliment another brand I use for piecing and quilting: Presencia.

Presencia cotton threads are available in both 60 wt., 50 wt., and 40 wt. I use the 60 wt./ 3-ply to piece with and it's also great for small design quilting. The 50 wt./ 3-ply cotton thread I use for some piecing, but mainly quilting, comes in 180 colors, in a variety of spool/cone sizes.

Whereas Superior and Presencia threads are the 3-ply threads I prefer for piecing and quilting, Aurifil thread is a 2-ply cotton thread. I use it for satin stitching, machine applique, hand applique, and micro stippling a small area on a quilt. Because it is available in 252 colors (216 solids + 36 variegated) the selection is a big draw for quilters. We do love color! I'm tempted myself when I see an alluring collection endorsed by a big name quilter. It's kind of like eating a box of chocolates. I regret it later...

Beside the 50 wt. cotton, Aurifil offers a variety of threads (all 2-ply) available in 12-wt. for Sashiko and embellishment; 28 wt, for hand quilting, and 40 wt. for machine quilting. They are housed on different colored spindles according to their weight. They also offer Aurifloss, a 6-strand cotton floss wrapped on quaint wooden spools.

Back to Superior Threads! After quilting a denim quilt with an entire cone of Olde Golde (Color #976) King Tut 40 wt., cotton, I really appreciated the quality and look of this thread. The color cards include needle recommendations to use with this thread. Some of Superior's color cards, such as these, are 3-hole punched so you can store them in a notebook. Bonus!

Superior produces color cards at their own cost, so the purchase price is the same whether you are buying them retail or wholesale. I spent between $3-$14 for each card or booklet. This booklet for Omni thread has 172 color thread samples. This poly-wrapped poly core thread, available on 6,000 yd. cones, will keep me serging for days.

I have yet to try the Prolock thread for the serger, but I bought the color card so I can see what is available. Superior offers many "try me specials" which is a perfect way to make a small investment in a few spools of thread and see how they work for you. Check out the deals here:

The best way to learn about a thread is to get some and try it out! Any thread company worth their salt will give you information about thread weight, ply, needle recommendation, etc. You will soon get a feel for what you prefer to use. Happy quilting!

Copyright ©2014, Sharon Baggs

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