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Thread: Old thread: use or pitch?

  1. #1
    Senior Member SparkMonkey's Avatar
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    A couple years ago, my mom found a large stash of thread that had been her mother's. Mom doesn't sew much anymore (mostly because I have her machine :twisted: ) so she gave it to me. I've only just now gotten around to really digging through it, and I think some of it might have deteriorated too much to be useful.

    It's a mix of cotton, polyester, and cotton-wrapped polyester from a whole bunch of brands; most seem to be from the 70s and 80s but I know there are some older ones in there, too. I'm assuming the synthetics are still ok, but I don't know about the cottons. Some, I know, are too brittle. I can snap it easily. Is it reasonable to assume that if it seems ok with a break test, it'll be ok to use, or should I run them through the machine to check for shredding too?

    Hopefully I'll be able to salvage some of it--there's a really good variety of colors, and most of the spools are nearly or completely unused. Even if I can't keep any of it, I did find a handful of gorgeous half-full wooden spools that might be from the 40s, so at least I got some decorations out of the stash. :-D

  2. #2
    Super Member fireworkslover's Avatar
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    Thread does get old and shouldn't be used in a quilt that will be laundered.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Kat Sews's Avatar
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    Thread gets old after it is sewn into quilts also. Just because it has some years on it doesn't mean that it is bad. Test by pulling on a strand and see if it breaks easily. If it is weak it can still be used for thread basting because it is a good idea to use thread that is weaker than quilting thread for basting.

  4. #4
    Super Member Jennifer22206's Avatar
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    I'd just use the break test. If it breaks easily, I wouldn't use it.

  5. #5
    Super Member dglvr's Avatar
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    Yeap I agree. :thumbup:

  6. #6
    Super Member Doreen's Avatar
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    I agree also. If it breaks, out it goes!

  7. #7
    Junior Member Janet Leigh's Avatar
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    I use old thread for basting and for the birds. I unroll it into a pile (my granddaughters love doing this!!) and then I sweep my rotary cutter through it several times, then put it in a baggie. I throw it out around the edges of the yard (we live in the country) and let the birds use it to make nests with. My grandson found a bird nest a couple of years ago with threads in it!! So cool!! I do the same with hair clippings and the pieces left over when I square-up quilt blocks.

  8. #8
    Junior Member scrappycats's Avatar
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    I worry about putting out thread for the birds since I heard that this causes problems - it gets wet and does not dry as twigs and leaves would. But I do have another use for colorful stuff like that. Put it in a canning jar and put on your shelf and call it thread jelly.

  9. #9
    Senior Member neeng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kat Sews
    Thread gets old after it is sewn into quilts also. Just because it has some years on it doesn't mean that it is bad. Test by pulling on a strand and see if it breaks easily. If it is weak it can still be used for thread basting because it is a good idea to use thread that is weaker than quilting thread for basting.
    I agree.

  10. #10
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    Do be careful of old thread that is on a wood spool. I used one once ... and the thread shrunk!!!! it was quite a mess as it was a very difficult garment to construct. I was just ... aweful. That is one mistake I will never make again.

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