What threads should I use?
While we prefer polyester thread at the factory for its strength, durability, and relatively lint-free properties, we know that quilters often have other ideas!
That's what is great about your APQS machine. It will stitch with just about any thread that will fit through the eye of the needle, as long as you are willing to adjust the tension settings and tweak the thread path. If that intimidates you, read through the answer to question No. 1 for hints on successful tension adjusting.
The key to successful quilting lies in choosing a good quality thread - whether that's polyester, cotton, metallic or another type. Each has positives and negatives.
When polyester thread first appeared over two decades ago, quilters stayed away from it because of its potential to cut through quilting fabric. Back then, the thread did have microscopic sharp edges that could tear fabric after lots of wear. However, we've come a long way since then! Today's polyester threads are nearly indistinguishable from cotton thread, and the polyester's modern formulation has no sharp edges...only smooth fibers. You can use modern polyester thread without the fear that it will eventually cut your fabric. In fact, polyester is an excellent choice when the quilt you are working on will receive lots of washing or use. The polyester thread holds up much better than any cotton thread under these conditions, increasing the longevity of your quilt.
Specialty threads such as metallics and invisible thread can also be used in your machine, but require some speed and tension adjustments to run successfully. With metallics, you'll need to slow down a bit so that the needle doesn't get so hot from the friction and cause the thread to break.
If cotton is preferable, then look for mercerized, long-staple cotton, which produces less lint than other types.
Check out our forum for hints from other APQS quilters on using other types of threads and tricks to taming them! You can also send direct questions to our service and education team by emailing us. We're here to help!