Monday, January 17, 2011

Thread Testing

Nearly 2 months ago, I bought a cone of Essential PRO thread from Connecting Threads. I have bought their cotton thread back right after I got my longarm. I call this back in my "I didn't know any better" days. It was before I knew that cotton was messy and linty. Before I knew it would break much more often than polyester. Before I knew that it was too thick to possibly look good for detailed quilting. None the less, it was inexpensive at Connecting Threads, and I stocked up on many colors. I quickly learned that I liked the Superior SoFine thread SOOO much better, bought hundreds of dollars of it and tossed the troublesome cotton aside. It actually was all sold (aka given away) at a garage sale last May.

In December, I learned that they were now selling a 60wt polyester thread for only $5.99. I figured that this would be good to try, so I bought one cone, not 12. Lessons learned. I just got around to testing the thread today. I actually had been awaiting a quilt that needed ivory (and as you know, I have been kinda bogged down on some ridiculous Italian quilt for a month anyways!). I occasionally use Superior's Bottomline 60wt in my bobbin, but have never used that weight on the topside. I went into the test skeptical, but I am happy to report that this inexpensive thread works splendidly! Look see...
I am halfway through a client quilt. I have not had a break or thread nest or anything unsightly. I am using Superior prewound Bottomline bobbins (only because they are simple and I happen to have ivory!). The thread tensioned just fine and it seems to sew basically like a So Fine.
The best thing though is that it is much cheaper. Sorry, Superior...I do love that thread, but for more basic colors that I use a lot, it is nice to have a cost saving alternative when everything else (ie., cotton) is increasing in cost. I happen to buy from Superior at wholesale prices, which are 40% less than their website retail costs. As a comparison, the Essential PRO gives you 553 yards per $, in comparison to the SoFine at 330 yards/$ and the Bottomline at 400 yards/$. I won't put the retail comparison because it is obviously a better deal if you are a wholesale customer, so for those that do not run a business, the cost benefit is even greater. Hugely greater. This would be an ideal thread for piecing. Think about that - How much is a 500yard spool of thread??...$3-4? You can get 3300yards for only $6. If you spend $50 at Connecting Threads, the shipping is free. I usually spend $8 (though retail/non-wholesale shipping is $3.95) at Superior for a $100 order.
Drawbacks??...sure, there are always drawbacks. SoFine comes in a plethera of colors - 135 to be exact. Bottomline comes in nearly 60 colors. Unfortunately, the Essential PRO comes in only 30 colors, but they are fairly commonly used shades so I think that I'd use many of them often.
I don't get a cut back from the store for this review. I just thought that it is good information that quilters, whether longarm or domestic could benefit from. So, go shopping! Spend what you save on thread on something fun to pamper yourself with.


Yvette said...

Good to know! Thanks!

Awesome quilting.

Ruthie said...

Thanks for the great review. I, too, was leary of Connecting Threads new line of thread and haven't tried them, but I think I will give it a try.