Thread Weight in Hand Quilting

If you’ve been following me for awhile on instagram, you know I have a deep seeded love for hand quilting. I love the slow process of adding stitches onto a quilt top and the wonderfully snuggly finished feeling it provides. I have written a whole blog post dedicated to my process (you can find that HERE), but I had the idea recently to highlight different thread weights for hand quilting. I have organized them in this photo (as well as this post) from lightest weight to heaviest weight.

Aurifil 50 wt Thread:

This is a typical weight thread that you would use for machine piecing. Some of you use a different brand. Anything you basically buy for machine piecing is about this weight. If used in hand quilting, this will provide a delicate line of stitching that will be closest to invisible that you can achieve by hand (or machine).

Hand Quilting Thread:

This thread is a representation of many different brands that sell a “hand quilting” thread. It is typically cotton thread and a heavier weight than machine piecing thread. I have used this on a few quilts and in my experience, it knots up really badly. I highly recommend using short lengths of thread as well as thread wax if you plan on using this type of thread. It provides a really beautiful finished line of stitching that pops a bit more than 50wt thread.

Aurifil 12wt Thread:

This is one that I just tried for my first time. I have previously used Perle Cotton #8 (see below), and I love this even more. The best part about Aurifil 12wt is I could use a regular needle! I find I need to use an embroidery needle for Perle Cotton, which hurts my fingers more. The finished look of quilting with Aurifil 12wt thread is very similar to Perle Cotton. They both knot up occasionally, but I know it is because I like to cut off really long thread lengths so I end up needing less knots in my quilting. This will be a go-to for me in the future and I’ll be upping my color supply.

Perle Cotton #8:

In my previous hand quilting post, I said I exclusively use Perle Cotton #8. It is available online in a huge amount of colors. It has a shiny finish that I really love, and doesn’t tend to knot a ton. The biggest downfall for me (mentioned above) is that I have to use an embroidery needle. Even with a leather thimble (a life changing tool!), it hurts my fingers. The finished line of stitching is really beautiful, though. You can choose a color that blends really well or pops to add extra personality. I’ve done both and love the look of both!


Aurifloss is embroidery floss. I used this to quilt my Pillow Fight Pillow and while it worked well for a small project, I could picture it being really frustrating for a large quilt. It tended to knot up and every once in awhile a strand of floss wouldn’t move with the rest of the group. I found I achieved a similar result with Aurilfil 12wt thread.

If you haven’t tried your hand at hand quilting, I highly recommend trying it out on a small project. Maybe a coaster or a pillow or a mini. It adds such a fun pop of personality!

For a list of supplies I love to use, see below!

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