Friday Favorites: Long Arm Quilting Thread

Friday FavoritesWelcome to Friday Favorites!

Thread for a long arm quilter is as important as her machine. With 100’s of available colors and fibers there’s certain to be something to satisfy your need.


Where to Purchase

I prefer to buy my thread locally. There is nothing like being able to take your project to a vendor’s location and pulling cones from their shelves to match with your item. If you don’t have thread available locally, then the Internet is a wonderful resource. There are numerous websites offering threads of every kind.

What Brands Do I Use

The brand that currently occupies the largest space in my inventory is Perma Core. I have more of this thread because it’s the primary brand my long arm dealer sells. Perma Core has been a reliable product. Omni holds second place. Of the two, I prefer Omni. I find it to be a much cleaner thread producing far less lint.

Among the other brands and/or other types of thread I have used are variegated King Tuts, and Magnifico metallics. Variegated threads like other specialty fibers are fun to work with. Stitching with them is like painting with a paint brush. Each stroke or stitch adds a varied rainbow of colors. Metallic fibers are the most interesting of all to use. Their shiny nature adds sparkle to anything they touch. Both variegated and metallic threads can be a bit pricey so keep that in mind if budget is an issue. Using metallics takes a little extra care when adjusting the thread tension and selecting the proper needle size but once you have that figured out the possibilities are endless.

Deciding Which Color/Type of Thread to Use

As I mentioned earlier long arm thread is available from a variety of resources. Many of those vendors have thread charts available for purchase. While they can’t match the ease of being able to hold cones of thread next to your fabrics in person, they are the next best thing. I have several of them in my own inventory.

Superior Threads Color CardsPersonal preference and/or a products intended use are the biggest deciding factors when choosing thread. When selecting your thread, always make sure the thread was designed to be used on a long arm quilt machine. Thread used on a long arm machine needs to be able to survive the stress and heat imparted by the rapid movement of the needle.

Next decide whether you want the thread to fade into the background or make a statement. If blending-in is your goal then choose either an invisible polyester or a neutral colored thread. If you want high visibility you might lean toward bright or variegated colors and if pizzazz or a bold statement are in order choose metallics. No matter what direction you go the thread choice you make will either make or break your quilts overall appearance so choose wisely.

One Other Thing

Each type of thread has its own preferred tension setting as well as needle type/size. Refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for best results. Some threads need a net or some sort of cover placed over the cone to keep the thread from slipping down in an unwanted manner. The cone nets can often be purchased through your favorite vendor in person or online. If you cannot find the nets or do not want to purchase them you can make your own out of a women’s nylon stocking. Here’s a video showing how the nets work.

Superior Threads Handy Nets

A Thread Mishap

Of all the thread I have ever owned there is only one cone that has every sent me over a cliff. The brand of cone is Omni. The color is # 3024 Medium Gray.

Omni #3024 Medium Gray

This cone has always tested my patience. The only reason why it has remained in my inventory is because of its popularity with my customers.

I was recently reminded of the thread’s problems when a repeat customer chose it for her project. Hoping that this particular cone was somehow not the one that has given me fits I agreed to use it. Not long into the session I was reminded of its awful habit. No matter how many times I replaced my needle, un-threaded and re-threaded my machine, uninstalled and reinstalled the bobbin the thread breaks…..frequently.

This is the only cone that has ever caused this problem. I’ve been plagued by this issue numerous times on all sorts of quilts. After finally finishing the latest quilt I made certain the cone of thread was removed from my inventory. Never again will I use it in my machine. While the cone is no longer a part of my inventory I haven’t decided if I will toss it in the trash or contact the manufacturer to discuss its fate.


I’ve enjoyed sharing with you my limited knowledge of long arm quilting thread. While the information was not presented in great detail I hope you find it a great place to start. If you have any questions about my experience feel free to leave a comment.


The content contained within this post, aside from the attached links, is my own. I do not in any way receive compensation, reduced or free product, nor endorsement from any thread manufacturer or supplier. The experiences and shared opinions are my own.

Cindy Anderson of In A Stitch Quilting

4 thoughts on “Friday Favorites: Long Arm Quilting Thread

  1. I have so much respect for professional long arm quilters! How brave to create art on another person’s quilt top! I would be terrified (I am terrified when trying to quilt my own small pieces on my own).

  2. It is possible to get a bad cone, but Omni 3024 is not inherently bad. Many factors affect thread breakage. I would call Superior Thread for help with this issue.. They are amazingly helpful. They also have many great videos on thread types and tension.

    Sarah ForeverQuilt

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