Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Nasty Surpise

Today I was working on a block for a bee I am in.  The theme is “your neighborhood”, and so it’s like making a mini art quilt depicting where you live (or perhaps where you want to live).  I decided on a mountain scene with a tent, campfire, etc.  It’s the neighborhood I prefer.  Everything was going perfectly (rare).  I decided to use a decorative stitch and a green-brown variegated thread by Isacord to create a ragged tree line between some of my green pieces.  Even though I am using French fuse as a backing, there were a few very minor puckers that would iron out.  I have done this enough times to know this works well.  However, as soon as I touch the iron to the seams, imagine my horror as the thread disintegrates before my eyes!  I restitched the area and used a pressing cloth – and that was okay.  I was mystified and very upset, as I have used variegated thread on a number of projects, including things that have gone out on bees.  I certainly don’t want my work disintegrating because I used the wrong materials!

My block so far.

So I dug out all the synthetic threads I love to use for embellishing, thread sketching and quilting.  I use mostly Isacord but also quite a bit of Sulky and Mettler, especially the variegated threads.  I laid out several of each brand, both solid and variegated and touched the iron to them.  Whoa, Nellie!
Results of ironing various threads.

1) The 100% polyester variegated threads by Mettler and Isacord disintegrated immediately.  Mettler more quickly and more completely than Isacord. (top 2 threads in picture are Isacord, third one down is Mettler.  )
2) The Sulky variegated threads are made of rayon – the iron did not affect them.  These are threads 4 and 5 from the top in the picture.
3) All the polyester solids were affected a little – but you had to really iron the heck out of them to see any effect.  Threads 6 and 7 are Mettler and Isacord solids, respectively.

My iron was set its usual temperature: cotton, with steam.

I wonder why this difference?  Anyway, quilter beware!


Shawn Stephenson Schumacher said...


Have you tried Superior Threads That is what I use. I ahve never seen them vanish before my eyes. Let me check and I will get back to you. I think they are 100% Cotton except the metalics ones which I am pretty sure would melt.

Moni said...

Shawn, I don;t like cotton because of the tension issues I have with it and I love the sheen of the synthetics. It's the variegated threads that have the issue not the solids, I think that's weird.