Though fabrics are made in countless colors and patterns perfect for making gorgeous projects with your quilting machine, the art of quilting is not always about the fabric itself.

Sometimes it’s about the stitching, which can create its own beauty especially when using a non-standard thread.

Normally used for heirloom and hand stitching,12 weight thread gives a totally different look that mimics hand-stitching even when used on a machine like the Grace Q'nique 19 Longarm.

It’s also tricky to use on any sewing machine, which is why it’s not done as frequently.

Want to know how to do it?

Check out these helpful tips on how you can machine quilt with 12 wt thread to get that gorgeous, chunky hand-stitched look for your quilt!

1. Needle Size

Naturally when using a thicker thread with a quilting machine, you need to use a needle with a larger eye to handle it.

A good size to use with 12 wt thread that will prevent fraying and breaking is a 90/14.

Keep some extras on hand in order to switch out for a fresh needle frequently to keep yours sharp and keep the stitching clean and precise, even using this thicker thread.

2. Top and Bobbin Threads

Typically, it’s best to use the same weight thread in the top spool and in the bobbin in order to more easily maintain thread tension.

When you do work with 12 wt thread, continue to use your standard 40 or 50 wt weight thread in the bobbin to make the stitching easier.

To hide the difference so it’s hard to see that you have one thick thread and one thinner thread, use threads in matching colors so the stitching blends.

3. Adjust the Thread Tension

Because you’ll be using a thicker top thread and a thinner bobbin thread in your longarm quilting machine, take the time to carefully adjust the thread tension before you get going.

Finding the right balance between the two threads is essential to prevent thread breakage, stitches that are either too tight or too loose, and other issues that happen when thread tension is unbalanced. 

4. Experiment with Stitch Lengths

When switching to a thicker thread, it’s not necessary to change the stitch length although it might look more attractive if you do.

Changing the stitch length on your quilting machine from a standard 2.5mm to 3.0 or even 4.0mm can really enhance the look of 12 wt thread depending on where and how it’s used.

Longer stitches are more visible, causing the stitches to look more prominent which is just what you want when trying to highlight that gorgeous thick thread.

5. Go Slow

As with any other time you use a quilting machine in a way that’s a little less than standard, it is very important to work slowly.

You can use thicker thread for machine quilting and get amazing results as long as you heed the above pointers and sew slowly.

Since 12 wt thread is the thickest thread used on any machine, consider that you are pushing the upper limits and will need to adjust stitch speed to prevent breakage and other stitching problems.

Get Hand Quilted Look with 12 Weight Thread!

Quilting thread can be just as beautiful in a quilted design as the fabric itself.

If you want to try something a little different with a quilting machine such as a Q’nique model while giving your project a hand-stitched heirloom look, consider stitching yours with 12 weight thread.

You’ll have to make a few modifications to the process, be especially careful about thread tension, and stitch slowly; however the results of combining thicker thread with thinner can be striking!