Thread Color for Machine Quilting

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I’m learning to use your quilting methods on my longarm machine. They are very clear and well done, thank you so much.

My question is: You suggest always using the same thread on the bobbin as well as the top to eliminate the bottom thread showing up at any time on the top, and as well you suggest changing threads on top with the different color changes of the piecing. It all looks great, but does that mean we change the bottom thread each time we change the top thread? This is a lot more work on a longarm, but it is possible. Some of your samples show many different thread colors on a small pieced top.

Submitted by Paulette

NQC Answer

Hi Paulette,

Yes, I do change the thread color a lot, both top and bottom. However, with a long arm machine – which is made for machine quilting only – the tolerances should be better and you should have less chance of tension issues.

If you’re confident that the bobbin thread will not draw up to the top, choose just one color of thread that is a TONE and a medium value. An example would be: if you’re going to quilt the top with a mixture of bright greens, blues, and violets, choose a dull, medium valued blue for the bobbin. For more of my tips and design ideas on free motion quilting, you might want to check out my latest class, Fabulous Free Motion Quilting. Hope this helps and happy quilting,


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6 Responses to “Thread Color for Machine Quilting”


    I'm machine quilting a quilt that the top is white and the bottom is blue. I'm using white threat on top and blue thread in the bobbin, but the blue is coming through to the top, esp where I back stitch at the beginning and the end. I have re threaded the bobbin and the top. What else can I do?<strong>

  2. Marilyn

    I love your suggestions for threads, batting problems etc.

  3. Janis Everingham

    What quilting stitching patterns would you suggest for a log cabin quilt. I am using a longarm machine.

  4. Ruth Ann Lawrence

    I pieced a red and black houndstooth quilt that I want to quilt with black thread. When I sew practice runs with Grey thread the stitches are perfect. Then I change to black thread and the tension is too loose. No matter how I adjust it, it just won't make a perfect stitch. Same brand of thread, same weight. This has me very frustrated and would love an explanation as to why a color would make a difference. Please help

  5. Apple

    A question on labelling quilts, what is required to be put on the label. I have been looking everywhere and hope you can help. I see name of quilt, year, etc but is there anything else you have to put on especially for exhibitions? This is probably the wrong place to ask but I came across your fb page and thought you might be able to help. Thank you

  6. Jacqueline Bonnier

    I have a Bernina 750 QE since a few years ago. I quilt much, but I have never had the answer on my question : do I have to lower the tension for free hand quilting. Normaly I put it on 2 in stead of 5, but I don't know if it "must" or "may not". Thank you for an answer. I will certainly note it, and work like you advise me Jacqueline Bonnier