Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Baby, it's cold outside!!! Perfect quilting weather!

Hello everyone! I hope you are all safe and warm and spending some time with your sewing machine when it's too cold to be outside. Haven't we been getting some incredible winter weather?!! For those who ski or do other outdoor winter sports, I guess all this snow is great.. for the rest of us, it provides a good excuse to stay inside and sew/quilt!!
I am off tomorrow on a little "jaunt" - I won't tell you where, I'll keep you guessing, but watch here later this week for some photos... I'll be seeing a Guild member who has several pieces in a BIG Quilt Show... complete with ribbons!!! Hopefully I'll have a few photos to post, so check back here on the weekend...
Until then, here is another in the Thread Series from Bob Purcell at Superior Threads, reprinted with permission from the Education portion of their newsletter.  This article explains all about their King Tut thread....

As far as I can tell, we are the only thread company that can honestly say our cotton threads (King Tut and MasterPiece) are extra-long staple Egyptian-grown cotton. Dozens of other thread companies label their cotton threads as 'Egyptian cotton, made in China,' or 'Egyptian cotton, made in India,' or other countries.  That is dishonest. True Egyptian-grown cotton accounts for less than 1% of the world’s cotton, so it is not possible that all the threads, clothing, bed sheets, and towels that claim to be "Egyptian cotton" are really Egyptian cotton.  King Tut and MasterPiece are certified extra-long staple Egyptian-grown cotton. This is why we guarantee every spool or cone we sell.  It really is the best available. 

King Tut is an extremely low-lint #40/3 extra-long staple Egyptian-grown cotton thread. It is different from all other cotton quilting threads because the high-quality nature of the raw products and the special processing it undergoes. Below are points which detail why King Tut is nature’s finest thread.

Perfect Growing Conditions
The best cotton in the world is grown in the Nile Delta region of Egypt. Because this geographic area has an excellent combination of weather and nutrient-rich soil from the Nile River, the cotton produced here is premium. Egyptian-grown extra-long staple cotton is the highest-quality cotton thread available.

Extremely Low Lint
When cotton thread comes into contact with a machine, needle, or fabric, some lint will rub off.  Lint buildup is not good, as it can cause problems inside the bobbin case, tension area, and clogging the thread path which results in poor stitch quality.  King Tut is an extremely low-lint thread due to the nature of extra-long staple Egyptian-grown cotton and the special processing it undergoes.

Increased Twist
Although it is never printed on labels, thread twist is measured by the number of twists applied per meter.  Why is this important? A loosely twisted thread requires less total fiber, unravels easily, and is less expensive to manufacture.  Regular cotton thread may have as few as 150 twists per meter (think of a budget thread that can easily be untwisted by rubbing it between your fingers.)  King Tut has almost seven times as many twists per meter, resulting in a smooth, consistent surface.

Mercerized Cotton
Although the main difference in cotton quality is determined by the staple length, processing also contributes to the quality of thread.  Most cotton threads are mercerized whether it is stated on the label or not.  Mercerizing is the process of treating cotton thread in a special solution, which causes the fibers to swell. This allows dye to better penetrate the fibers, resulting in even coloration and strengthened fibers.  King Tut thread is mercerized.

Extra-Long Staple
The overall strength and quality of cotton thread is often measured by the length of the staple. Staples are the individual fibers from a cotton boll. King Tut is certified as Egyptian-grown,  EXTRA-LONG  staple cotton.  This is the highest grade cotton in the world and is one reason why King Tut thread is smooth, strong, and has extremely low lint.

Precision Dyeing
Variegated King Tut colors are precision-dyed with uniform one-inch color change intervals. The benefits of precision-dyeing are consistent color flow, even color distribution, and uniform appearance.  You know how the thread will appear in any part of your quilt.

Gassed Cotton
ng Tut undergoes a special process called gassing.  Gassing refers to passing a cotton thread at a high speed though flame, which burns off excess fuzz and lint. This process gives threads a brighter and smoother appearance.  You can tell whether or not a cotton thread is gassed by the length of fuzz on a strand of cotton thread. If the fuzz has very little variation and appears uniformly short in length, it has been gassed. A non-gassed thread will have a combination of short, medium, and long fuzz in an irregular pattern. Reduced fuzz means less lint displaced inside your machine.  King Tut thread is gassed.  We don’t have room on the label to print all the details such as Mercerized and Gassed, but I’ve seen some labels advertising their thread as “Double Mercerized” and “Double Gassed.” I asked our factory technicians about this and their response was, “If it were done properly the first time, there would never be a reason do double mercerize or double gas the thread.”

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