Friday, July 10, 2015

As Exciting As Watching Flannel Dry & The Pet Project Show #28

I'm so tempted to try out these new colors!

It's fun when your friends call asking, "What gorgeous thing did you get to sew or quilt today?" And you say, "I drove an hour on the Interstate to shop for thread, and I did an experiment on drying flannel." I lead a pretty fabulous life, don't I?

I have been sewing everyday, but only on my faithful Pfaff. Axel my Avante has been at rest, waiting until I bought some longarm thread. I picked a selection of what I anticipated I would need for both modern and traditional quilts, and some neutral crossover colors. I chose to use a thread sold locally, and only one brand in the beginning. The fewer variables I have getting started, the easier I hope it will be.

I have been observing how different threads work in my 3 machines lately. I used to use Coats & Clark polyester, and know a lot of sewist do without a problem. You can buy it locally for well under $2 a spool. I can tell you my Pfaff sounds different when I use it. I've stopped to oil it thinking it was running rough. I can hear a real difference between it and the all cotton Coats & Clark, but the biggest difference is when I piece with Aurifil. I'm not under any sponsorship with them, so let me say without bias, my old machine purrs. The thread seems a bit finer, and I have to adjust my tension a bit with the Aurifil, but I think my reliable Pfaff has found a compatible partner. I stocked up on the Mako thread spools during the last Craftsy sale. 

Gearing up to longarm for other people has lead to hours of reading about batting, thread, fabrics, and the combinations of all together. For instance, what happens when someone brings you a quilt top that was made from pre-washed fabrics, unwashed backing, and wants to use a Hobbs 80/20 which has a fair amount of shrinkage? One shop says it should always be pre-shrunk, and another says they've never had a problem just using it out of the bag. Arg! How about flannels? I was reading how they 'shrink twice'. Really? It was time for me to start doing some experiments for myself. I'm in favor of the scientific method, so let's look together.

One chunk of solid off-white flannel bought at a local outlet, Zinck's.

1.25 yards on the tag

We can see they are generous with their yardage here. 48.5"

I put it through my washer on a normal cycle, warm wash/cold rinse, and machine dried low. It shrunk to 45.5" or 6.6%.

Same process all over again, and the fabric measures in at 45". That is a total of 7.7% shrinkage. What happens when this is your unwashed backing, and your polyester batting doesn't shrink? It's most definitely something we all should be considering.

Have you ever had a disaster with a quilt when it was washed? Could you please tell me what your experience was? I appreciate your input on the subject.

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lalaluu said...

My Pfaff loves the Aurifil thread, too!

Stitchin At Home said...

I pre-wash all my fabrics including backings. I however do not pre-shrink my batting I generally use 80/20 and sometimes 100% cotton. I like the look of my quilts after washing them, they have that nice crumply old time look which I like.

WAZOO! Quilting said...

I have an old Pfaff and a newer one. I use Superior So Fine or Omni for all my sewing and quilting, because I am also a longarmer and have a generous supply of both. I agree Aurifil is wonderful, but too pricey for me. I get the Superior wholesale, so it's a no brainer here at Wazoo! I tell all y customers to pre-shrink falnnel, but have had some quilters piece entire tops with un-washed falnnel. I never see the quilt again after quilting it, so I don't know if they end up with a wrinkly quilt after washing or not, but I suspect it will pull up and become wrinkled looking. I use Quilters Dream batting almost exclusively, and have found it to keep its loft and not do the wrinkly thing as much as some other battings. I recommend Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 to people who want the wrinkly look (like an old quilt) because it does shrink when washed.

Anonymous said...

Interesting experiment! I agree that it is a good idea to stick with one brand of thread while learning your Long arm. I keep mostly to one brand as well. It works for me. I use a Singer Featherweight for most of my piecing, interestingly enough, it doesn't like Aurifil! Go figure. I haven't tried it in my long arm yet but the Glide from Fil-Tec that I normally use hasn't given me enough trouble to bother trying much else. I did have a couple spools of Omni that I quite liked as well. I much preferred it to Premosoft which is also made by Fil-Tec. Go figure!

Beth said...

This may be an odd question, but I'm wondering if you changed your font or your spacing between lines of text. Today's post is easier on the eyes--the lines of text aren't bumping against one another, which is to say, this post looks especially good.

I'm still trying to decide about thread. I adore Aurifil but the cost is debilitating. So I have been trying out some thread from Connecting Threads for my QAYG blocks. Nowhere near as thin and lovely, but no breakage at all and $2 per spool when it's on sale. So, sturdy, reliable, and much less expensive? This might be just the thing for my QAYG needs. For precise piecing, though, I think Aurifil's thinness fits the bill. I'm interested to see what everyone else thinks.

Val's Quilting Studio said...

I haven't had any quilt wash disasters....but I have done the thread experiment and had the same results when I switched to the aurifil. But, since I order my thread through Superior at whole sale I tried their masterpiece thread for piecing and it hums as pretty as the Aurifil. NICE!!!

susan718 said...

In order to compare threads you need to make sure they are the same wt. Otherwise you're comparing apples and oranges. If you are using aurifil 50/3 then you must expect that Coats cotton threads (which are 30/3) will be different, as they are thicker. they make finer thread (60 wt) but it is the dual duty. Connecting threads essential thread is also 50/3. Don't go by the brand, but by the fiber, weight and ply.

susan718 said...

just watch Superior thread info video. He said weights are all ballpark figures, just assume that lower numbers are thicker, but more ply added makes thinner thread thicker too. Guess you just have to compare everytime you try new thread

evaj said...

At the eleventh hour, you get a link from me !! Hug Bambi

Julie said...

I can't recommend the video series at Superior Threads enough! It's available on their website, and I'll include it in a post this week. I was enlightened by many things.

Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts said...

My sister made a quilt with unwashed fabrics (cotton, front and back), then used a wool batting. After washing, the quilt was ruined. The batting shrunk, the fabrics didn't, and it was the worst mess I've ever seen. Quilters Dream is my fav, but I use Warm and Natural a lot too. It gives my quilts that wonderful crinkle that I love. I have never pre-washed my fabrics.