Last Thursday was a quilty to the max kind of day. I had two fun quilt adventures but I have to tell about them one at a time! Let's do it chronologically, shall we? That afternoon I headed over to Thimbles, a fabulous quilt store in Lockport, Il to hear Alex Veronelli speak about Aurifil thread. It was a grand afternoon and I learned all kinds of fun facts about Aurifil thread. I bet you are hoping that I share them with you. You are in luck!
First let's set the scene. The talk started at 2:00 but I thought it began at 1:00. I came flying through the door at 1:05 only to discover I was 55 minutes early. So strange for me but I enjoyed watching as the chairs filled up here to hear Alex. He is the "face" of the Italian thread company Aurifil and what a face it is. Yep, he's one good looking dude and I think more than one lady was imagining herself as Sophia Loren during his lecture. No, just me with a Dolce Vita outlook?
After Tammy of Thimbles introduced him, he showed a movie he had shot in their factory in Milan but he did give us a disclaimer - I'm a thread maker, not a movie maker. I am thinking there is a book in that title, at least a song?
Cleverly I had forgotten a notebook so I took notes on my phone (tech genius) and here are my top fun facts that I learned that day.
1. The thread has all the lint singed off, I kid you not. We saw the thread going by a flame.
2. Aurifil uses Egyptian cotton which can vary from year to year so they are continually adjusting for color absorption, retention. This reminded me of wine growing!
3. It takes a little over 7 minutes to create a 50 wt spool of thread. I am glad I don't use them up that quickly.
4. Thread will last and do fine in a consistent temperature, it's temperature changes that can wreak havoc. So much for that myth of storing thread in the freezer.
5. Sunlight can fade the color of thread. Which makes sense as fabrics are just lots of thread and sun fades them also! Sun fades everything but me, I just get red.
6. Aurifil thread is made without any toxic chemicals. It is produced so that it is safe to put in your mouth as they realize many baby quilts are made with their threads. This really impressed me, I am a sucker for baby quilt references.
7. 50 wt is the finest thread and their best seller, outsells others 10 to 1. The numbering system is a throwback to earlier times. Originally they measured how much thread you could wind on a standard unit. It makes sense that you could wind (or load) more of a finer thread, so a higher number = finer thread. I may have the details wrong here but you get the idea. It's convoluted like why we save Love All when the score is Zero to Zero in tennis. (I actually know why that is but I will save it for a different blog piece.)
8. Color number 2000 is the only one which is not dyed, that is the color of the natural fiber. Naturally I had to check my threads once I got home. I discovered that I had this color. Oddly finding those spools made me happy. I'm a quirky quilter, what can I say?
9. They are experimenting with linen thread which is 7 times as expensive. That night I attended my first ever meeting of the Naperville Quilt guild and Tracy Mooney had a sample of it. Synchronicity! It was really thick.
10. The lower the wt, the thicker the thread and the more your stitches will show. Tammy even showed an example of it. I realized now why I like finer thread, it is more forgiving of any mistakes!
11. They buy their raw cotton supply two years in advance so if there is a huge shift in Egyptian market they may not buy for a year or two. This happened once in the past and the current situation in Egypt might or might not affect the cotton trade.
12. You can take the cap off the thread and use it to secure the thread when it's not being used. Why had I never known this before? Does everyone else know this and they just didn't tell me. Of course I had to go home and try it. Worked like a charm.
All in all it was a great afternoon. I liked meeting the man behind the twitter feed who is the Quilty version of "Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego." He was a super guy and gave us all free thread. Thanks! Grazie!
Free thread? Sew happy!
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Besides facts about thread, I have a post with considerations about Longarm Machines. Check it out here.