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thread twistA Twisted Myth

Q. A guest speaker was explaining that the thread twist on American and European made threads are in opposite directions.  She prefers the European twist thread because it expands in the quilt. There was a bit more to it than that, however that's the gist. So - do European & American thread twist in a different direction? Would this change how the thread should come off the spool? Would the thread expanding/opening up make a difference keeping the layers of the quilt together? Would Superior use the European twist if it was possible?  I understand the method is still under patent.

A. That is bad info. Any thread made for machines must have the same twist to work well in machines.  If a thread with the opposite twist were to be used in a machine, the thread would actually untwist a little and become bulky and loose.  Maybe that is what she explained as expanding/opening up.  That certainly is not a good thing.  The only thread made with the opposite twist is thread for hand quilting and weaving.  Some of this thread makes its way into the quilting world but it is not intended for machine use because it becomes loose. It is absolutely not possible to patent a twist on thread. It sounds like someone is really mixed up. Every thread has two twists applied.  The individual plies or strands of thread have a primary S twist (sometimes referred to as a left-hand twist). Then these strands or plies are twisted together in a final Z twist (sometimes called a right-hand twist).  Proper terminology is S twist and Z twist. I run unto similar questions quite often and it is usually the result of someone passing along incorrect information. Spools are always intended to unwind straight from the side of the spool (with the spool rotating as the thread unwinds, and not over the end or top of the spool).  Cones are intended to always unwind over the top of the cone.

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By: Bob Purcell