As promised this week we are going to talk about threads. When I first started embroidery about 20 years ago we had a nice variation of threads on the market but now………… there are threads, threads and more threads! Browsing the internet is TOO tempting and enticing – I have to say to myself “Dear God, Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from thread shops”! So many options – so how does one know which threads to use?
The purpose of this post is not to promote certain thread brands but rather talk about those that I tend to use most for the style of embroidery that I do specifically. That does not mean that all those other brands out there are not fabulous!
Ask yourself if you were on a desert island and you could only take one brand of thread what would it be? My answer would be ………. good old reliable DMC Stranded cotton. Why because it does it all. It can be used for every form of embroidery, one strand for fine work, building up to several strands for heavier work. It is colourfast, great quality, easy to use, readily available in most countries, has a grand array of 454 colours and its strong – so if you needed to make rope for a raft it would do that:)
I would love to see more colours added to the range, especially very pale green plus some grey, smokey blues and dull lavenders, hope you are listening DMC? However we can always make a plan………… there are of course several other brands of stranded cotton that are of the same quality such as Anchor and Madeira to name a few. So we can fill in the gaps by including shades from other brands. As long as they are of the same quality, why not?
DMC Stranded cotton
I use one strand of this for fine needlepainting. Sometimes I use two strands for raised outlines under the stitching, or if needed elsewhere, but mostly it is one strand. I also use it in combination with Floche and other threads in my Whitework With Colour designs. They come in a gorgeous selection of colours as shown below on the colour chart – compliments of DMC USA.
Needlepainting: I tend to stay with stranded cotton for needlepainting as I prefer the subtle sheen and the fact that it can be washed if necessary.
If you prefer something with a bit of shine you could use silk. Some of the gorgeous silks I have tried and used in the past are: Gloriana silk, which is available in some really beautiful unique colour combinations which I love, Au Ver a Soie D’alger and, Silk Mill both of which are available in a huge amount of shades approx 800. All these are reputable, good quality silks – take care when using no name brand silks. I have recently been trying out Soie de paris silk thread, which is a very shiny and beautiful silk that is effortless to use. You will see it in some of the new designs I hope to launch in 2017. Again there are many other gorgeous silk threads on the market these are just a few.
Whitework: One of the loveliest threads to use for Whitework, especially padded satin stitch is DMC cotton floche. Unfortunately it is not always readily available and I would love to see more shops keeping stock of this. It is available in my Etsy shop in white and grey. It is slightly thicker than stranded cotton and has a beautiful sheen to it. I also use some Gloriana variagated silk in my designs to add a bit of interest.
I store my thread stash in clear acrylic drawers as shown below in my studio. For smaller quantities of thread I would recommend storing them by colour theme in clear plastic bags placed in drawers, so you can access them easily and quickly add leftover/new threads to the packet when needed. There are many ideas for storing thread online so you can find what suits you. If you want more information on how to use thread, the nap of the thread etc you can find details in my handbook here.
Till next time keep smiling, and happy stitching.