I contacted YLI thread company in Rock Hill NC to tell us about their thread. Jane Garrison returned my call and we had a long talk, here are a few of the top things she told me about YLI thread.
I would like to know when and how the company got started?
YLI was originally Yarn Loft International an importer of serger threads and started in the '70's. It was sold and moved to Provo, UT where the new owners added Silk Ribbons, threads, metallics and other products manufactured in Japan. In 1996 Jim Miller and Lanny Smith purchased the company and moved it to Rock Hill, SC. Jim had been involved with sewing threads and saw the trend toward quilting and so, they added the Hand Quilting, then Machine Quilting and other products that fit into the quilting line. In 2005 Lanny Smith retired, Jim became the sole proprietor and hired Jane Garrison as Director of Education.
Where is the thread is manufactured?
Our Products are primarily manufactured in the US, Japan, Egypt and Mexico
I am interested in the quality and where you get the raw goods from, for the readers to help educate them about thread.
The products that are manufactured in Japan come from the finest sources we can find and we are simply an importer of the product. We purchase those on large cones and wind to smaller cones in our manufacturing facility in Rock Hill, NC. The products include Silk #100, #50, #30 and 1000 Denier, Silk Ribbons, Fine Metallic, Woolly Nylon, Variations, Pearl Crown Rayon, Candlelight, Jeans Stitch, Silk Floss and Jeans Stitch.
All of our cottons are purchased from the Egyptian Government who owns all the spinning mills in Egypt and are 100% Extra Long Staple Cotton. They are then brought to the US where more than 90% are dyed, finished and wound in SC, GA and NC depending on the color and process.
Our Designer 7 is a polyester serger thread manufactured in Mexico.
We also are the US importer for a line of products (Iris Embroidery Thread) from Mexico and Tentakulum Painter's Threads (an extensive line of hand painted natural fibers) from Germany.
Our Hand Quilting and Select threads are sent, after dyeing, to a facility in MA where a starch Glaze is applied. Our wooden spools are manufactured from Ash in NJ.
What is extra long staple Egyptian cotton?
Extra Long Staple Cotton by definition has fibers longer than 1 1/8" and though a small amount is grown in the US, Peru and India, we purchase our raw material from Egypt. Most cotton grown in the US is short staple cotton and does not make a quality sewing/quilting thread due the amount of lint (each end of each staple will create lint when it goes into and out of the fabric during the sewing process.) and the fact that the shorter the staple the more places there are where the thread is weaker. Longer staple fibers give a stronger finished product.
What does it mean glazed?
Most companies glaze with wax which means you should not put it in a sewing machine where we glaze with starch which adds the strength and wear resistance but will not harm a sewing machine.
There is a great brochure on the YLI site The Truth about Thread. I suggest you check it out, download it and print it for reference. There is also a chart with their thread on it and what needles to use with which thread.
What is Trilobal Polyester?
A tri-lobal Polyester literally has three lobes much like a three leaf clover. The lobes give the shine to the thread much like a rayon and so tri-lobal Polyesters are a good substitute for Rayon when one wants to be able to wash and bleach the finished product. Polyesters are also more resistant to light damage thus keep their color and shine longer than rayon's. Not every Polyester is a tri-lobal.
What is the main difference in using polyester over nylon?
Can I assume you mean the differences in the Monofilament Poly vs Nylon? YLI has manufactured a high quality Nylon Monofilament for more than 25 years. When we first began using monofilaments for quilting some companies sold basically a thin nylon fishing line that had not been engineered for sewing purposes as ours has been.
Today when you compare the Sulky or Superior Polyester to the Wonder Nylon Monofilament there is very little difference other than cost. (I cannot speak to other brands of Nylon or Polyester since we have not tested them in the lab) They all melt at approximately the same heat setting on the iron and yes, you can get an iron hot enough to melt them all. We know that our product has not yellowed or gotten brittle from the experience we have had with many well known quilters who have used the Wonder from the beginning. We have gotten tired of arguing the point and now have a Polyester that matches the other brands in quality. In general, you will pay at least twice as much for the Polyesters as you will for our Nylon so choose the one you prefer based on your own criteria!
Any tips on using the Mylar and Metallic thread?
The Mylar is flat while Metallic thread is round so the Metallic Needle was specifically designed with a rectangular eye to keep the mylar flat as it was sewn. This is the only time the Metallic Needle should be used unless no other choices are available. The best needle for the Metallic is an Embroidery Needle with an oval eye so that it will hold the thread in place and not allow it to move around from left to right and potentially cut the metal fiber that is wound in a spiral around the central filament. The biggest tip I can give for using Metallic or Mylar threads is to use a spun cotton or polyester in the bobbin. First the little texture on the spun fibers help hold the thread in place and second, if a filament polyester or Nylon is used in the bobbin it is often stronger than the core of the Metallic thread and will snap the core.
What is the difference in the weight sizes, what does the number indicate?
Most of the numbers on the spools are what someone at the company decided to name the thread with the exception of cottons.
Cottons are sold in a fixed length to weight measurement and so a 40 wt cotton has 40 hanks of cotton each 840 yds long to make a pound while a 60 wt cotton will have 60 hanks the same length. That is the first number you see on cotton. The second (ex 40/3ply or 60/2ply) is the number of those 40 or 60 wt cotton twisted together.
The higher the ply the stronger the thread and the more visually round it is. There are advantages to both 2 and 3 ply but all cottons are plied threads. Tex is another designation you will find today on many threads. It is a commercial length to weight measurement. One Tex= 1gram/1000meters and is rounded to the nearest 10 bracket thus you will find Tex 40, 50 etc. The actual size of the thread can vary greatly depending on how tightly it is twisted and what finishes are applied. Most of the domestic thread manufacturers put information on their websites regarding their threads and what needle sizes they recommend but the entire system is not standardized and very difficult to compare apples to apples.
What is your best seller?
Our Silk #100 and Machine Quilting Cottons are our best sellers. Unfortunately for us, many people using the Silk #100 are hand appliquers and are slow to use their threads!
That is not true, I use the #100 all the time to machine quilt with and I love it. It gives a fine and beautiful finish to the quilting.
I want to thank Jane for sharing so much information about YLI thread.