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Great Falls, Montana, United States
I love creating art. I love the Creator! And through that love, I find a little slice of heaven on earth and I give Him all the glory! It's a great adventure and I'm excited to see what's around the bend! Come join me, won't you?
Showing posts with label egyptian cotton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label egyptian cotton. Show all posts

Monday, May 2, 2011

"THE FUZZ!"

Time to call in the police... "The Fuzz!"  

Today's post is about a specific thread made by the thread company, YLI.  Let me say that I like, use and appreciate YLI's products.  This particular thread is made specifically for machine quilting, as you can see from the label in the picture below.  It's a 40 wt; 3 ply, which means there are three small strands that are twisted together to make the larger, single strand of thread.
 This is a "100% Long staple cotton" (see photo below). The label also tells us it's 'mercerized.'  What does mercerized mean?  Well, I took this description straight from the SuperiorThreads.com website; specifically under the tab "education."  Go there and get more education!
"Further processing may be done to make a mercerized, glazed, or gassed thread.   Mercerizing is a process of treating cotton thread with an alkali solution, causing the fibers to swell. This process allows the dye to better penetrate the fibers, thereby increasing the luster. Mercerizing increases the strength of the thread and reduces the amount of lint."
I'll tell you what... if that process reduces the amount of lint, I'd hate to see what this thread would have done without the mercerization process!  

I bought quite a bit of this thread several years ago now, before learning more about higher-quality threads (such as those from Superior Thread Company).  I had some I wanted to use up, and so I chose two colors of it; one in pink/mango's and the other in turquoise/blues  for the Ribbon-Thread Scarf, (see my scarf part 1 here). This is a great example of why I prefer -- and am willing to pay more for -- "extra long staple" (ELS) Egyptian cotton threads:
 LINT. FUZZ. And... lots of it.  I was amazed by how much!
 After only about an hour steadily free motion quilting with the YLI "Machine Quilting" thread... this is the amount of lint that built up underneath my stitch plate. And that's ALOT! Of course, it's typical to have more fuzz when using medium to long staple cotton threads, as they are comprised of many shorter strands of cotton. That's why they tend to shed more linty stuff. You can see how it accumulated not only under the stitch plate, but also on my quilting FOOT! And on my needle, too.

 And so I had to stop and clean it all out with my brush.  I also used some canned air, and oiled my machine.

So why is this a big deal to me?  

Well... maybe it's not such a big deal. The thread looks great, and overall, performed just fine for me---except for the excessive lint.  But it won't be my choice for more free motion, until... and unless they improve upon it.  Because when I quilt with an extra long staple cotton - like the Superior threads, (like the King Tut cottons) this just doesn't happen! Just sayin!  And when I quilt, I want to spend my time quilting  ... not cleaning out my machine, and that's why Egyptian, extra-long staple cottons are my preference for free motion quilting, decorative stitch applications and piecing. These are applications in which the thread is the 'star' of the show, sew-to-speak!  So... decide for yourself and go and experiment and see what works best for your needs!




Tuesday, December 28, 2010

TNT Thread NeedlesTension

Very Important:  With threads, the bigger the number (weight), the SMALLER the thread is. With needles, the bigger the number, the BIGGER a needle is.

Once you get those two concepts in your mind, you can really begin to understand what will work for you in your machine, with the process or product you have.  It's all about the basics!

So here are some pics I took of some lovely labels!  Reminds me of a jingle and commerical (we're going back to the 70's folks!) If it says Libby's Libby's Libby's on the Label Label Label...you will like like like it on your sewing table table!!!  Ring a bell with anyone?!  It wasn't really about sewing - I added that part... just my wacky sense of humor.  I think it was about vegetables, but I can't remember for sure!!!  :)

Anyway!  LOVE the Superior labels...finally, thread company Superior Threads is giving us the proper INFORMATION and education we need! Look at this label, and not only will you see the the yardage, but you will notice there is a weight, ply, and size of needle to use!  Wait!  You mean they say what size NEEDLE to use?  Yes!  What a great idea! !

Rainbows (top): 40/3=40 weight 3 ply thread.  A lovely variegated pretty polyester, with a extra bit of high sheen, only because it's a tri-lobal  polyester, which means it has three sides (you can't tell with your own eyes).  It's been specially created that way so that it will reflect light, and that is why there is three 'sides' so to speak. Don't even try it without a 90/14 needle... it will shred if you don't, and that won't be much fun. 50 weight cottons are a good companions with it in the bobbin, as would be a solid colored 40 weight polyester .  I don't usually put variegated threads in the bobbin, unless I know the back will be seen, or the quilt is reversible.
Masterpiece - 50/2 = 50 weight cotton thread, and two-ply means it has two strands twisted together.    Because it's a smaller/thinner thread, it takes up less space in a seam, laying flatter which is especially important for intricate seam piecing, or multiple points that come together or for precise placement.  Primarily it was created for those specific needs.  Use Masterpiece in your top and wind it on the bobbin for the best results in piecing applications. For this kind of application, use an 80/12 microtex needle, or 80/12 HE for best results.
King Tut:   40/3 = 40 weight cotton thread.  What's so great about it? As a 3-ply thread (3 strands twisted together), it's smooth, strong, and has beautiful, but also fairly subtle color variations.  Use for decorative stitching as well as beautiful free motion quilting.  I like to use masterpiece in my bobbin when King Tut is being sewn from the top.  Smooooooth sailing!
  • Notice also that because Masterpiece is s a finer weight, you get more on the spool, and can wind more on your bobbin.  Love that!
    • What kind of thread is it?  Well, many companies may say"Egyptian thread" but if it's TRUE Egyptian extra long staple cotton, they will be HAPPY to say exactly THAT--- and  the acronym "ELS" will be printed, not something just generic. Buyer beware!  Superior labels it exactly what it is.  Yes, ELS will cost more... but it will also save you much in time and frustration.  Buy the best quality you can afford, but know the difference!
    • ELS: That means it's NICE... and you pay for what you get.  Ever touch the Egyptian cotton sheets that are for sale in a department store?  Fabric is so incredibly smooth, and they're usually a very  high thread count which gives them that extra satiny feel.  Same deal with Egyptian cotton thread! 
    • Why buy Egyptian extra-long staple cotton?  1. It's stronger; less breakage.  2.  It's smoother, which means less fuzz in your tension discs and less cleaning in your bobbin case.  Both Masterpiece and King Tut threads are "ELS!" It doesn't need alot of fancy 'treatments' to make it good, because naturally, it's already the best.
    • King Tut and Rainbows spool will also say: "Use Topstitch 90/14" for the needle ---using the right needle is what will make this thread sing to your machine!
    Here's some very good thread... in fact, it's one of my top favorites!  I encourage all my beginning free motion students to use the YLI "Variations" thread (the pink spool and the bottom label in picture below).  Why?  Because it's strong, as it is a polyester.  And... it's pretty!  Because it's a mid-weight thread - 35 weight and two ply, and it's a great value for the money you spend.  It's good not only in the top of your machine, but if you need a pretty thread on the back, it's wonderful in the bobbin, too.  Use a 90/14 microtex, topstitch or metallic needle with it for best results!
    Notice there is a thread from YLI called "Machine Quilting" (spool on the top far right below) and this is 100% cotton, but it is only "LONG staple cotton" - not Egyptian EXTRA LONG staple cotton.  It's still a very good thread, but does have a few more slubs and fuzz on it, as the strands are not as long and smooth. Pretty good as opposed to VERY good (ELS cottons) in the thread/cotton world. You may find you have to clean your tension discs or bobbin area more often with this thread.


    Bottom Line -- well, here it is!  Beautiful and strong polyester 60 wt thread.  Remember, the bigger the number, the smaller the thread... and that is why you can wind 40% MORE on your bobbin!!!  That is a BIG YAY!

    It is absolutely my first choice in the bobbin when I have any type of metallic thread in the top.  Why?  Metallic thread is rough (like a man) and the polyester... smooth... (like a woman!) Less friction, great marriage!  Great compatibility! They get along WELL together; less breakage, smooth interaction...you get my point!  But don't forget to loosen up tho (the top tension that is!)   Bottom Line is also the embroidery maven's choice because it has great VALUE, great STRENGTH, you can wind 40% more on a bobbin because it's so thin, and you have a fabulous COLOR selection.

    Then we have the much bigger topstitch variety of threads.  I've given you samples of two that I have used, and enjoy.  First picture below is the Caryl Fallert BRYTES thread (pictured above and to the right) by Superior threads.  The second picture below is FUSIONS.

    Fusions thread to the left, designed by Laura Heine for YLI threads.  Both of these thicker weights require a 100/16 topstitch needle.

    You can order Fusions from Fiberworks, Laura's beautiful quilt shop in Billings, MT.  I do LOVE the rich colors of this variegated cotton thread.  The label on the cone says it's 24/3, so it's even slightly thicker than a 30 weight.

    Note that the Superior Threads spool cap tells you what needle to use:  100/16.  Actually, the other end of the spool gives you the size, but I'll just tell you cuz I forgot to snap a shot on the other end; it's a beautiful topstitch thread at 30 wt.  It certainly will give your stitches PRESENCE!

    You'd better be sure your stitching looks good when there's this much thread as it will show up big time on your quilting project! I recommend a polyester 40 weight in the bobbin, so the weights are matched and you don't have make such an extreme adjustment in your top tension. 

    Hope this was informative.  Let me know what questions you have!

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