I’ll be honest…I have never liked metallic thread. For several reasons. Mostly because there wasn’t very subtle colors, and dear god, the breaking and shredding. I will say now that I am 100% on board with Wonderfil’s Spotlight Metallic. I ordered a few colors to test to add a sparkle of morning frost to a fall quilt I’m working on and they surprised the heck out of me by sending me a case of each of my colors. More than enough to do a few giveaways on my FB and IG accounts. But lets just talk about how the test went.
My number one issue with metallic is that even when it doesn’t break, I feel like I can see the core and the “metal” part peels away. Well, that was the most obvious plus of the spotlight. That didn’t happen at all. Also, it always seems super fragile. Well, I used a TOWA bobbin guide and found a happy place at 180-200 with top tensioned out to match. That is actually pretty tight. By comparison a strong cotton or poly thread uses 200-250, and a fine silk top thread will need a 100-130. So, that tells me the thread is pretty strong. I did a very aggressive stitch out, with lots of direction changes, speed changes, stitch regulator and manual of different speeds on polished cotton with a high thread count. It is like a batik in density, but soft. I had basically no problems. At one point I got several breaks in a row. I had been using my left over size 18 needle from a previous project. I tried a fresh 16 size, but still had a lot of breaks. So, then I put in a fresh sized 18 and literally had zero issue for the remaining hour of stitching at all different speeds. As you can see, my back looks great…no tell tale sparkles of the tension going weird. That may have a lot to do with my awesome A1 longarm…but I suspect it has just as much to do with the thread.
I used wonderfil’s pre wound bobbins, called Decobobs. Pre wound bobbins are a whole other conversation, but I think it is safe to say I think they are a GOOD IDEA. It took me a long time to convert (“I wind my own bobbins for free, darn it!”). The even tension from start to stop and total lack of unpleasant surprises when I roll a quilt, makes the $1 each well worth it. I have tried several other brand pre-wounds and find them ALL superior to winding my own. Eventually though I have come to prefer the decobobs for their plastic bobbin case and matte 80wt. poly thread. The plastic is very slightly curved. This translates into never hitting it. With my metal bobbins (machine standard), or other brand pre wounds, it was possible to have the needle nick the bobbin on some direction changes if the machine is timed really tightly (mine is). Clearly, nicking the bobbin kills the needle and quickly leads to snarls and breaks.
Anyway, back to the bling. I am very very pleased with the Spotlight metallic. It comes in actual blended colors, not just a crayon box of options. Time will tell if I actually use it on my show quilt…but as a product…two thumbs up!!
I will say…don’t be too critical of my ACTUAL stitching. It is a sample and I am on day 4 of removing coffee and my beloved caramel lattes from my life. I have a blistering caffeine headache. (It isn’t the coffee…it is the sugar. 650 calories a day in coffee is just brain dead stupid.)
One of my Instagram followers asked me “how do you think it performs with hand quilting?” Well, um, Im a machine quilter. I hand quilted ONE thing, once, and decided I would turn into a skeleton before ever finishing, but hey, why not? Hold my wine. My tentative answer is it would actually hold up pretty well. I used the same fabric as above. The thread pulled smoothly with no “toothy” feel that most metallics have. It did not kink or twirl…unlike even normal sewing thread. It seemed to pull more like a waxed heavy quilting thread to me. I only sewed for maybe 10 minutes (Because, Good Lord. Don’t like hand quilting), however, I noted no fray or separation at the needle eye. Bottom line is that I think it is worth a try. Enjoy!