The House of Tatterdemalion


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I wish Threads would run articles like this. . .

May 23rd, 2007 by tatterdemalion

I found this article to be fascinating and informative. It’s all about how sheep-breeders are milking the hype over super-fine wool (you may have heard them referred to as Super 120, Super 150, Super 180, etc). At the end of the article, it kind of points out that all of this super-fineness has it’s downsides, namely in—and you’d think this would have been obvious to begin with—durability and elasticity. The English Cut blog was much more blunt in simply saying

To qualilify as a good, hard-wearing and attractive wool worsted, it must be rated at least in the upper 80’s and 90’s.

The Super 120’s and higher are beautiful cloths, but there’s a price to pay, and not only financial. Although they do feel wonderful, the simple fact is they don’t wear very well. They’re simply not as durable as their lesser-numbered cousins.

This whole deal vaguely reminds me of food processing. There was a time when “refined” white flour was simply the best of the best, and now everyone telling you it’s horrible for you and you should eat whole wheat. I don’t think it should really be a surprise to anyone—either that the more you take out of food, the less there is in it, or that the more you breed for fineness the less you’ll have in strength.

Nonetheless, this is the kind of educational article I wish Threads would run. I nearly cried the time they ran the article on which pins for which purposes, because I don’t think I learned anything I didn’t already know from reading the back of the pin packages and the signs in the notions aisle in JoAnn’s of all places. Such rudimentary and easy to find information, and what I’d really like to be seeing is the harder to find, technical types of articles like this one. Especially on different types of cloth, because the cloth is such an huge percentage of how a garment will turn out, and the more understanding you have of your cloth, the better you will be able to use it. And dyes; I’m fascinated by them as well.

I just wish that Threads would take sewing more seriously. It certainly takes itself as a magazine very seriously, and there’s a lot of emphasis on photography and layout and graphic design, but really? The content is a million times more important to me than the layout, and I want content that takes sewing seriously. (It doesn’t have to be Threads, but honestly, it doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of choices.) All this lightness and fluff. . .is like Super 180 wool. It might feel good at first, but it wears out really, reallly fast. I’d like a magazine that isn’t quite so pretty but is more long-lasting and hard-working.


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