This is a compilation of QUILTNET postings about quilting with metallic thread. All comments are the OPINIONS of the person who posted the message......................

Metallic Thread

Just wanted to pass along a lesson I learned the hard way trying to get through some Christmas gifts....I have always used Sulky metallic thread, but ran out and couldn't find any at the closest fabric store, so I bought Coats and Clark. It kept breaking as I was quilting, even though I had loosened the top tension. Anyway, in desperation I went out today and bought the Sulky, which was less expensive than the Coats and Clarks stuff....and have been quilting smoothly all evening. There's something to be said for good quality thread!! BTW, does anyone have any sewing tips on stream lame metallic thread....I did not fare well with it at any tension setting---I'm using a topstitching needle...(and I'm putting off using again until after the Christmas stuff is done.)

Sun, 12 Dec 1993 21:29:03 MST
I have done a fair amount of machine quilting with metallic thread this Christmas season, and the BEST metallic thread I could find was Talon America's thread. It came in tiny (71 yd) spools that were promotional. They had gold and silver. It didn't break in the machine,the color was true (no greenish cast to it), and it really looked smooth in the fabric. The Coats&Clark looks like bent metal, IMHO. Unfortunately this thread was only a promotional item, and my local stores are out of the gold thread. They have tons of silver, but no more gold. Ironically, the Talon AMERICA thread was marked as being made in Japan :). I'm using the Sulky thread now. My other favorite metallic thread was also made in Japan, and I picked it up when I was in Tokyo three years ago. I'm "saving" that for when I hand quilt the wedding rings into a quilt. I got it in a fabric stor e near the Hard Rock Cafe. If anyone stumbles across the little spools of gold Talon America thread,buy as much as you can for me and I'll pay you double the price plus shipping! If it were available here, I'd probably buy 10-15 spools of it. Jean

Mon, 13 Dec 1993 10:01:18 PST
You might have more luck "couching" it. Lay a few strands of it where you want to stitch, then use a narrow zig zag stitch to stitch over it and hold it in place. You'll get the same metallic look without the pain and frustration. The thread you use to hold it down could be invisible thread, or a cotton that matches the backing fabric of your quilt, or the "good" metallic (sulky) that doesn;t break. In Chinese embroidery, gold thread is often couched with red thread, it's a very "gorgeous" look. Also, there are new needles especially for metallic thread, I'm going to buy some soon and give them a try.

Stream Lame
I've used the stuff with no trouble at all. I used a brand new #12 needle as recommended on the spool. I loosened the upper tension on my machine. I satin stitched the math blocks I sent out for an exchange. I think the thread broke once on six blocks- and I think it was my fault, not the thread's. The results are great. Actually, my husband bought two spools of the thread to use in tying fly fishing lures- I stole it from him for the project. I'm definitely going to go and buy more colors of it. dss

I got some info on sewing with stream lame thread, which I thought I might share:use a size 90 or a topstitching needle loosen the top tension put a drop of Sewer's Aid on the spool of thread longer stitch length This stuff looks like Christmas tree tinsel and is gorgeous, so it's probably well worth the extra trouble. Happy holiday sewing! Jane

Fri, 14 Jan 1994 13:46:01
Vivian asked about metalic threads. I've used many for both hand and machine work. Coats &Clark has one that is a bit more "thready" than "metally" and that works well for hand quilting but doesn't give the shine you're looking for. My favorite is the Sulky brand. I've quilting entire quilts with it and it is FAB. As with any thread, don't use a large piece because it will weaken and break. No longer than 18" - maybe shorter. It comes in a zillion colors.

Fri, 14 Jan 1994 16:27:57
Need Suggestions on Metallic Thread for Hand Quilting
On Fri, 14 Jan 1994, A train of thought is passing by. wrote: > Has anyone had any experience hand quilting with metallic thread? I just finished a Streak of Lightning wallhanging and I think it would look great if hand quilted in gold metallic thread. Any ideas? Sugesstions? Am I crazy? Thanks, Vivian
No, I don't think you're crazy! Metallic thread works FINE for hand quilting. It's NOT just for machine work. I've done several quilts with it. The kinds I've used have been Kreinik (or Balger) Fine Braid (be careful to get the Fine Braid, not the Blending Filament, which is too thin) or Sulky Metallic. A friend of mine has also done a lot of hand quilting with Stream Lame, which is a very shiny "tinsel" type thread that comes in some amazing iridescent shades. I haven't tried it yet, but will probably = use it on a top I just finished. The only caveats I can offer for working with metallic thread are:
Work with a shorter thread than usual -- about 12" long. Keep moving the needle to a different place on the thread as it does tend to fray and shred when the needle stays in one place for too long. Good luck -- it is well worth the effort!!! Diane

From Sarah :
I used metallic thread while sewing some stockings in December. I used it both in the bobbin and as thread, and didn't have too much trouble. It only broke when I went too fast or hit a thick spot. I'd be interested to know if it works better if you only use it as a bobbin. From: Jo
>Are there any special needles I should use?
I use a needle size 90 and put "sew ease" on the tread. Just slide a glob of it across the lengthwise part of the spool of thread. This lubricates it so it doesn't break. It isn't greasy.
> Do I have to loosen the tension for the top thread?
I don't change the top thread at all. I have used metallic thread in the bobbin and it works just fine. Get up your nerve and CHANGE THAT BOBBIN TENSION! Just remember where the screw was when you started. I give mine a quarter turn and it works very well.

March 9, 1994
I used Madeira gold metallic this weekend for quilting, and did very well after I went through about 4 needles, all new out of the pack, til I found one that had a very nice, sharp point on it. Until then, I kept getting skipped stitches. I didn't sew fast, just carefully &deliberately, and got very nice straight and blind-hem stitches. The Feather-stitch needed to have the bobbin tension tightened; it kept pulling the bobbin thread up. No matter WHAT I did, I couldn't get a nice satin stitch applique; I ended up going back to regular thread in black.
I think there has been some misunderstandings on the topic of "filament". The original post was about adding a filament to another thread for machine stitching. What I think was meant about the original question was the use of Balger Blending Filament. This is a thin, polyester metallic thread wrapped around a core polyester thread. It is very lightweight and comes in a multitude of metallic shades. It is manufactured by the Kreinik corp. I have used the Balger blending filament for hand embroidery and especially smocking. It gives a nice sheen, but is very fragile and must be used in short lengths. Marina posted about how to thread a hand needle with it. I would not use it for hand quilting, since there are other metallic threads that can withstand the constant pulling through the fabcric. I'm curious to hear if the original poster did try it on the sewing machine, and what the results were. Blending filament is a very different product from the nylon filament thread that is used for machine quilting. Hope this clears up any confusion. Debra