coming to terms with stitches…

Has anyone out there ever quilted with black thread? I started quilting my black/white/aqua stripe quilt (name hasn’t come to me yet—open to ideas!) yesterday morning. I started with a few lines of white stitches—as usual with the Juki and Aurifil Mako 50wt, the stitch quality is beautiful. They’re well defined and distinct. I then switched over to my black thread and that’s when the doubt and frustration set in.

I pretty much only  use Aurifil and Gutermann thread after after reading a great blog post last year about thread quality. Check it out here. I’ve had really good results with both of these thread brands. In fact, I just finished quilting “view of NYC from the Whitestone at 47mph” with a combination of both threads and had really good results. Check out what the white (Aurifil) and black (Gutermann) look like together on my latest quilt:


Looking straight on at the quilt, the black stitches aren’t as well defined. I assumed it was the thread brand and gave my friend Jane at The Bolt Quilt Shop a call to see if she had any black Aurifil in stock. One spool left—I drove down to pick it up and Jane did mention that it may have something to do with the staple length (better quality thread has longer continuous fibers which can affect the stitch quality. Read a little more about staple here.) I got home and loaded up the Juki with the black Aurifil. After playing around for a couple of hours (and adjusting tensions), the stitches looked exactly the same. I decided it was time to take a time out and call it a night.

I poked around online to see if anyone else had issues. Could it be that different color thread behaved differently? I did find a couple of posts about different colored dyed thread not acting the same as others, but it seemed inconclusive.

I was just about to start ripping stitches out this morning and figure out a new game plan when it occurred to me to look at the stitches from the side.


When I look at the quilt from the side, the stitches are well-defined. I guess it’s just an optical illusion/shadow thing that the darker stitches don’t look the same as the lighter ones when looking at them straight on.

Anyone else out there ever have similar issues/frustrations in the past? I’d love to hear from you! Please reply below.

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  1. So strange! Even from the side, though, the white stitches seem to sit up a little higher. Have you seen this in other color-dyed thread? I wonder if the same thing happens with navy or red, in which case I would think there is something about the dye process.

  2. Hi Sheri, sorry to hear the black thread’s giving you grief…it’s a unique thread because it’s overdyed so these multiple layers of dye can add to the less smooth finish than that of say, white thread. (Threads that didn’t dye properly as other colors become black thread in the mfg process). Is your bobbin thread the same as top thread? Try a needle that’s a size larger as well to see if that helps. Keep us posted! Best, Jane 🙂

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