Prewound bobbins are a hot topic among machine quilters. Everyone has their own opinion about them – some people love them while others won’t touch them. Personally, I love prewound bobbins! It’s hard to beat simply reaching into a box and pulling out a perfectly wound bobbin. Here in the Quilted Joy showroom, the team and I have a few favorite prewound bobbins. Let’s take a look at those and why we love them!
Choose the Right Bobbin for Your Quilt
Before we dive too deep into prewound bobbins, let’s go over some good bobbin basics. Your bobbin thread is a key ingredient for good tension. Specifically you want to make sure you have the “right” weight thread in your bobbin. The best weight bobbin will depend on what your top thread will be. Generally, you’ll want the bobbin thread to be the same weight or a skinnier weight than your top thread. Click here to read my secret recipe for setting tension.
I also highly recommend using the same color thread in the top and bottom. Say you’re quilting with white thread on top and black thread in the bobbin. If your tension becomes a little top heavy, that black bobbin thread is going to peep up on the top side of your quilt. That black bobbin is going to be super noticeable against the white top thread. If your threads are the same color, slight changes in your tension won’t be so eye catching. Now, does this mean you need to use exactly the same shade of green top and bottom? Not necessarily. As long as your thread colors are similar, you’ll be ok!
Why Pre-Wound Bobbins?
As I’ve already said, I love quilting with pre-wound bobbins! There are many great advantages to quilting with them. Professional manufacturers can wind the bobbins tighter and more consistently than I can. Typically, factory-wound bobbins can hold anywhere from 20-30 more yards of thread than self-winding. In my opinion, the convenience of having the bobbin perfectly wound out of the box is well worth it.
As someone who quilts for others, prewound bobbins are a big time saver! When I use a prewound bobbin I’m not spending my time winding bobbins. And since those prewound bobbins have more thread, I’m not stopping to change my bobbins as often. On those few occasions when I have to wind my bobbins I have to decide if I’ll use the same cone of thread for my bobbin or a different thread. If I’m using the same cone, I need to wind bobbins off that cone and hope I wound enough bobbins; because if I run out of bobbins not only am I spending more time winding bobbins, but I’m also rethreading my machine! And really, what is more annoying than having to stop quilting to change a bobbin? Stopping to wind the bobbin in the first place!
One of my longtime favorite prewound bobbins is the Magna-Glide. These are available in both the L-size and M-size bobbins. Magna-Glides use the uber popular Glide thread. If you’re not familiar with Gilde, it’s a 40 weight polyester thread with a lovely sheen. This is fabulous for quilters who already love Glide because you can use the same thread in the top and bobbin. While Glide is available in more than 250 colors, Magna-Glides are only available in 66 colors. You can’t find an exact color match for every color of Glide, but there are many different shades of each main color group. I’m always able to find a Magna-Glide that’s close enough in color to my Glide threads.
What sets Magna-Glide apart from other prewound bobbins is its magnetic core. Instead of using a two sided bobbin, these use a single plastic core with a magnet on one end. The magnet makes a very satisfying snap when you put it into your bobbin case. For these to work correctly, you have to remove the check spring in your bobbin case. If you can, I recommend having a bobbin case dedicated to Magna-Glides so you don’t have to worry about replacing the spring when you’re done. Without a check spring in your bobbin case there are fewer nooks and crannies for dust bunnies to spawn, which makes the case just a little easier to clean out after each bobbin change!
Something to remember about the Magna-Glides is they are a 40 weight thread. This is a little on the heavier side. And because Glide has a lovely sheen, your quilting will show off a little more. If you want your quilting to show off, this is the thread for you! However, that thicker thread can also make achieving good tension a tiny bit more of a challenge. When the bottom thread is as thick and strong as the top, it can more easily pull the top thread down under the quilt where you can’t see it. It also means that when it is pulled to the top, it will make a bigger impression there.
Magna-Glide also has a select number of 60 weight bobbins. Magna-Glide No. 60 uses the Glide 60 thread on the same magnetic core bobbin. There are only a few colors available and they’re only available in quantities of 72 or 100 bobbins. Because these bobbins are skinnier than the traditional Magna-Glide bobbins, there is more thread per bobbin. And is there really such a thing as too many white or grey bobbins? In my opinion, these are a great value for your basic bobbin thread colors!
The DecoBob prewound bobbins are a newer to me bobbin, but I’m really loving them! Like the Magna-Glides, these are available in both the L-size and M-size bobbins. The thread is wound on a plastic bobbin that looks very similar to your machine’s regular metal bobbins. DecoBobs are available in 36 colors.
DecoBob is an 80 weight polyester thread. These bobbins are super skinny! The thinner thread will sink into your quilt nicely and keep the top thread the star of the quilt. DecoBobs leave less of an impact, making them ideal for dense quilting with lots of backtracking. The skinnier thread is also helpful for setting tension. The thin thread pulls to the top easily and is barely visible when it does. This increases the range where good tension is found.
The thinner thread also means there is more thread per bobbin. M-size Magna-Glide bobbins have 130 yards per bobbin, while the M-size DecoBob has 210 yards per bobbin. That’s more than a 50% increase!
Which Bobbin is Your Favorite?
DecoBobs and Magna-Glides are my two favorite pre-wound bobbins. It’s hard for me to say I prefer one over the other. Just like every quilt calls for a different color of thread, they also require different weights and kinds of thread. Some quilts will need the thinner DecoBob bobbins while others will need a specific color I can only find in Magna-Glide. My best advice for any quilter is to try lots of different kinds of threads and bobbins to find what you (and your machine) like best.