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!