Tricia writes tonight, continuing the thread development story. Check also her comments in answer to other comments, on twist direction and thread availability.
An old adage in my field is to fail often to succeed – you saw the proof of that the last few nights. Now to convince Bill to make the threads that I now knew he had to make!
I swear that I must have spent a few hundred dollars in phone calls and many emails talking to Bill and trying to understand his requirements for the colored silk which would form the core of the thread. In my ‘other life’ I design threads not too far off this for some very unusual new technologies, so I knew what was possible technically. Bill kept insisting that we needed "floss silk" and I kept trying to understand how many twists per inch he needed in the base silk and what denier (a unit of measure of yarn size) so I could go off and try to source raw stock. I hadn’t even thought about dyeing yet!
FINALLY I sent over some emails with drawings and we realized that we were being confused by each other’s terms. Not only was I using textile terminology used in industrial textiles (high performance fibers such as ballistic fibers) and he was referring to terms used for historic textiles/home textiles – but the words for some of the same items are different in British English versus American English. Thank goodness for the internet and drawings! Apparently Floss Silk = Filament Silk = Flat Silk = Tow of Silk. Wow, now we had something I could try to find and send him samples for sizing evaluation.
Bill had lots of questions for me too, every manufacturer has to evaluate an opportunity to see if it will be worth the effort. In this industry there are many more requests than he can fulfill and most of the time when the question ‘how much do you need’ comes up – the answer is ‘a few feet’. So he asked me how much and how many colors. Really good questions and ones I didn’t have any answers for except – A LOT. So I would need to figure this out along with finding a silk source in order to convince him to spend the time. And the time was ticking down to the start of the stitching!