I'm a bit late to the English Paper Piecing game but now that I'm playing, I love it. There is often a lot of trial and error with a new technique and since I'm always interested in learning and experimenting, I'm open to trying new and different ways of doing things. I happened to see a tweet shared by Aurifil from a quilter who raved about using their new 80wt cotton thread for her hand-pieced hexies. In her blog post (which I'm sorry I can't find again) she wrote how the Aurifil 80wt absolutely disappeared into the fabric, was thin but strong, and a dream to stitch with. As I work to perfect my whipstitch I need as much help as I can get to hide those stitches so I knew this was the thread I needed to try a.s.a.p.!
If you've read my previous posts about my Aurifil devotion (and collection!), you'll know that I adore this gorgeous thread made in Italy. It is worth my money to use a cotton thread of the highest quality in my quilting projects. As soon as I first tried Aurifil I knew I could never go back to any other brand. The way the thread works with my machines (strong, doesn't break, no snarls, no shredding, little lint), makes my piecing so much more accurate (this was a big one!), looks amazing when I quilt, and feels luxurious, not to mention all the delicious colours and weights available, - these are the reasons I immediately fell in love with Aurifil thread. My go-to choice is the cotton 50wt because it is excellent for both hand and machine piecing and I have great success pairing it with all my machines. I love it for quilting because my stitches look beautiful. It's also what I used for my first few English paper pieced flowers with terrific results but I definitely wanted to give the 80wt a try.
You can read all the details about the new 80wt thread (and see all the colours available) HERE at Aurifil. Like the 50wt, it can also be used by hand and machine for appliqué, English paper piecing, machine quilting and embroidery. It comes on wonderfully charming wooden spools (300 yards) and is available in 88 colours. With my early hexies I quickly realized that matching thread is a must to help camouflage the whipstitch so having an array of thread shades to choose from is ideal.
As soon as I got my hands on some 80wt I couldn't wait to start stitching. It certainly is fine thread and it truly does melt into the fabric. I don't have a lot of experience yet with EPP but to me, my stitches were virtually invisible. I will admit that on my very first stitch the thread broke and I was worried that it wouldn't stand up to the English paper piecing because I was using card stock templates, but I guess I just pulled that first whipstitch too aggressively in my excitement because after that, no problems at all. I used a gentler hand (and my Ott magnifier!) and had no further breakage.
I'm excited to grow my 80wt Aurifil collection and will pick up another stand (the next time they are on sale!) to co-ordinate with my 50wt display. As I continue with my English paper piecing (and I'm sure I will), I'll want to make sure I have matching thread to complete any future project. If you are a thread obsessed quilter like I am you'll want to give the 80wt a try. I'm looking forward to playing with it on my sewing machines as well to see how it looks and performs. I think there could be some fun design choices with free motion quilting using such fine thread. I'll have to experiment and let you know how it goes in a future post!