Thursday, October 20, 2011


OK...I admit it.  I am a thread snob as well as a thread geek!

When I first got my quilt machine I thought, thread was thread.  I mean how different can it really be?  So I stuck a spool of regular Coats N Clark on the thread stand and thought, 'Boy, I'm really quilting now!'  Umm...not!

It would not take a single stitch without snapping that thread.

That began a 5 year journey to learn all I could about thread. Even if I thought I was only learning which thread I needed to buy.

Now that I have an embroidery machine, I am learning a bit more about other types of thread as well.  Right now, my pet peeve is over dyed thread!

You see that nice shade of purple, or pink, or what ever your favorite color is?  Well, in the manufacturing process, there are mistakes...lots of mistakes.  When the thread is misdyed, it can't be sold.  Some companies, just throw it away.  Some companies try to salvage the thread by a process called over dye.  In those companies, that is where your black thread comes from.

All that mis dyed thread is thrown into a vat and dyed black.  (well, it is a bit more complicated than that, but that is the basic process.)  Some companies throw in another process of bleaching the thread a bit to get some of the old color out.

A lot of people realize that black thread is almost always weaker than any other color.  Some people assume it is because the black dye destroys the fiber a bit more than other colors.  Well, they are half right.  It is the dye that is destroying the fibers, but nott he black color.

The process of over dye makes the thread weaker.  It is easy to tell if your black thread has been over dyed. If you are embroidering, and you get to the clipping of the jump stitches (especially around the face area where the stitches are small and there are lots of jumps from place to place) and you get these black 'fuzzies' everywhere.  THAT is from the process of over dye.

No matter what type of thread, cotton, nylon, polyester, name it; over dyed thread is weaker than non over dyed thread.  I'm sure the thread manufacturer looks at it as a way to make their bottom line look better, and they might even consider it as their way of recycling to help the planet.  But for me, I will not purchase over dyed black thread again!

There!  I feel much better having warned the general public against buying over dyed thread!  (at least the three people who will read my blog anyway!)

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