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nylon monofilament - Harriet's quilts

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In a previous "thread" about monofilament, I related a story I heard from a speaker who came to our guild about Harriet Hargrave's quilts disintegrating because she used nylon thread. I wrote to Harriet and asked if the story was true, and this is her reply:

"I was very interested to read your email. I hear things like this a lot and am always amazed how people can stand in front of a group and not tell the truth.

First, I would love to know who this person was so that I can contact her and let her know that my quilts are just fine. I have been quilting with nylon longer than anyone in the country (over 30 years) and have not had one single problem with the thread. I have had a couple of issues because I did not quilt heavily enough, or damage that I caused by not caring for the quilt correctly, but the thread itself has caused absolutely no problems on any of the dozens and dozens of quilts I have made over the 30 years.

I still use nylon - in fact the beauty on the cover of the 4th edition of Heirloom Machine Quilting is totally nylon on the top and machine embroidery thread in the bobbin. It will outlast many of the quilts quilted in heavy cotton thread today, as the heavier the cotton, the more abrasion the thread takes, which breaks down the fibers. The nylon is so fine that is very close to the weave of the fabric and there is much less chance of damage. I do quilt close with nylon - no more than 1" apart unless it is used only in the ditch with other thread in the open spaces.

Hope this helps lay your mind to rest. I would really appreciate it if you could pass this on somehow to your group so that everyone knows that what was said was not factual in the least.

You might want to pass along that my daughter is finishing

up a Masters Study at university o the physical properties of quilting

thread. It is geared to categorizing thread by size, weight, strength

and appropriate uses in quiltmaking. She taught at Houston Quilt Market

last fall, and will present again at the spring market. She will be the

one that writes an article or whatever comes up about thread."

There you have it! Glad I asked. :)

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Thank you for this....I had stopped using mono threads years ago because I heard this same story in a class, and then when I started to quilt for others I wouldn't even offer it because I too passed on that mono threads were evil and weren't to be used on anything that was to be used, wallhangings maybe. Now, however, this was years ago, when the thread looked and felt like 2 pound fishing line or heavier.

With the new threads from Superior I just recently bought a few spools at MQX, but haven't used them yet. Thanks, now I won't even worry about them anymore....it was the worry about the UV light that was my biggest thought.

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I think the monofiliment threads from Superior are actually Polyester, yep, I'm looking at the catalog now, MonoPoly polyester monofiliment invisible thread. Great stuff. Gotta have it in your studio.

And yes, I've been preachin' to the "polyphobics" at guild all the time to JUST GET OVER IT!!! It ain't going to harm your quilt. If you prefer cotton then by all means do use it. We have lots of wonderful cotton threads to work with. But if you want some of that gorgeous polyester thread we have available nowadays, like the Superior Rainbows, then by gosh-darn, go get it!

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It wasn't the Poly/Mono -V- Cotton issue that I had.

It was the issue that the mono thread would break down after awhile with the sun UV rays and the threads were said to pop after awhile....and I didn't want to have the pokeys when the threads start to break.

I've had many a spread from JCPenny's or Sears that were sewn with either a mono or poly line type thread and after several washing they would start to break and the pokeys would start to show and get scratchy when you slept under them. I didn't want that to ever happen to a quilt that I made or a customer had...and with hearing these stories I just avoided the issue for that reason alone.

Personally I use whatever thread happens to match the material or what the customer wants....I'm sure not a cotton thread on cotton material type...if Poly or Rayon have a better color...I'm there.

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Guest Linda S

The only issue I have heard of with nylon mono is that it doesn't have very high heat resistance and can be melted by an iron. Other than that, I know folks who have used it in quilts that get used and washed frequently and haven't had any problems. I prefer to use Superior's MonoPoly -- I have had no problems running it in my machine. It looks great, holds up well. It comes in clear or smoke for use with darker fabrics.


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