One of the best things about APQS machines is their ability to run a wide variety of thread. Threads for longarm quilting machines must withstand a great deal of abuse. These machines run at extremely high rates of speed and the thread must be strong enough to handle that speed.
Some longarm machines have tons of thread guides. Of course, the more guides you have, the higher the tension will naturally be on the thread. APQS has very, very few thread guides in comparison. The result is that you can run threads at a lower tension than other longarm machines.
Being able to run threads at a lower thread tension means you have gobs thread options that will run smoothly on an APQS! For example, Superior Threads has a thread called Rainbows. It is a beautiful varigated shiny skinny thread that adds wonderful shimmer and color. The thread changes color every inch and because it is so thin, it settles down in the quilt.
The photos show how I load Rainbows on my APQS Millennium. I use a thread guard on the cone since the thread is so slippery it can come off the cone in spurts and starts if you don’t use a thread guide. Then I use some natural fibers (alpaca loose batting in my case) to help confine the thread from flopping around on the guide that resides just above the cone.
Finally I use only the bottom hole of the three hole thread guide just above the tension disc. Make sure you enter the bottom hole from the back of the machine (the panto side). I do slow down when I’m using Rainbows to minimize any potential breakage especially over any built up seam intersections.
Superior also has a thread called Lava which recently came out on the market. It was made specifically for those longarm machines that have more thread guides. It is stronger and thicker than Rainbows. That thickness, however, means it speaks more loudly on the top of a quilt. Sometimes a bigger variegated thread is perfect but sometimes you just want your thread to shine but not scream, ‘ya know?
Thread choices are similar to the choices an artist uses when they select a paintbrush. Do they want a big brush or a small delicate brush? The choice of thread makes a big difference to the finished product.