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Cotton Embroidery Threads

Hello everyone

Hope this finds you well? I am increasingly concerned as to the availability of different brands of embroidery floss – it is becoming more and more difficult to source, it seems that many of the online shops no longer stock them or in some cases have closed down, is this your experience?

This week I would like to pick your brains and get some feedback on the different brands of embroidery floss – I am referring to the six strand cotton variety such as DMC, Anchor etc which I use for Needlepainting. I am going to list the three main brands that I like to use and ask that you let me know if they are readily available in your part of the world and which ones you like to use.

Please keep in Mind that for Needlepainting we need a large range of colours so I am not referring to any smaller brands that have less then 450 colours in the range.

DMC

I have always used DMC and as far as I know it is the most popular brand worldwide, however, there are some instances where the DMC range falls short and I have to poach colours from other ranges. Generally DMC is easy to find so I do my best to use it wherever possible but Anchor & Cosmo have some beautiful in between shades that are not available in the DMC range. You can never have enough shades for Needlepainting and sometimes that specific colour needed is just not there – we can’t mix shades like we do in art so it has to be found!

ANCHOR

Anchor has certain shades such as greens, golds, violets, mauves in particular that the DMC range don’t have and quite often I need to slot in an Anchor shade or compensate where a DMC shade seems to skip from light to medium with nothing in between. Sadly, Anchor floss is no longer been manufactured in Germany and try as I might I can no longer source it, or get a reply from a distributor that is willing to ship to South Africa, so it seems I will have to discontinue this brand of thread.

COSMO LECIEN

Cosmo Lecien threads made in Japan are relatively new to the embroidery world – I have tested some of the colours and they are sublime! The floss is beautiful and silky and the colours are beautiful. I love that they include every shade in a family and don’t leave any out. I would dearly love to use them in my designs but my search online tells me that they are not easily obtainable. Do any of you use them and if so do you find them easy to source or have any suggestions as to where you can find them?

Image courtesy Snuggly Monkey Etsy

Till next time, wherever you are in the world keep smiling and happy stitching.

Trish

163 thoughts on “Cotton Embroidery Threads”

  1. I live in the US….DMC is my go to………Haven’t had a problem buying this brand…….easiest to find……..

  2. I remember anchor, but I haven’t seen it in the Ohio Valley of the USA in decades. Mostly I use DMC. I’ve picked up some variegated generic this past year when nothing else was available…it didn’t work well as it frayed and disentigrated. Grrr… I’ve heard of DMC silk and wool threads but have never seen them at store. A fellow stiches sent me a skein each of red whit and blue a few years ago. It was difficult to use being so slippery and prone to twists and knots. I’ve never bought online.

  3. Trish,
    I think that Anchor was last imported into New Zealand about 2 years ago, and the shops that do still sell it are using up their old stock. DMC is widely available, in both specialist shops and in craft shops. The specialists shops also often have Madeira, Au ver a Soie and Cascade House (all pure silk threads) but often only in a limited range. I have to say that Cascade House is the nicest thread I have ever stitched with, and their variegated colours have the subtlest colour changes I have ever seen. They are perfect for stumpwork fruit, but whether they would work in needlepainting I do not know. They are a family owned business in Australia, but the range is only about 150 colours, a lot of which are varigated/ombre. I know of a couple of other ranges but do not have any personal experience of them (Prescencia (? a South African company and Sajou, which is a French company. I think that Cosmo is available on Amazon.

  4. Hi Trish!

    No problem whatsoever getting hold of DMC and Anchor here in the UK. Cosmo I can’t comment on as I’ve never looked into it. (I have more than enough thread!!!)

    When production of Anchor shifted from Germany to Hungary, there were a few distribution problems here too, especially of high demand colours, like black and white. Now they’re back available at previous outlets. lovecrafts.com appear to do international shipping and SA doesn’t appear on their list of current exclusions.

    MEZ Needlecraft, who are the makers, also seems to ship to SA, if that helps at all.

    If you need any help getting hold of beloved shade on a smaller scale, let me know. I’d be happy to get them for you and forward them on.

  5. Hi Trish –
    I live in Victoria , Australia. I have been buying locally from The Wool Shop in Bacchus Marsh, but during the pandemic the shop owner had problems in securing DMC threads.

    I then tried online from Hand Embroidery Supplies Pty Ltd. They could supply but also had to wait for stock to arrive. I found them very helpful.

    I did a search and found the following online suppliers, amongst others, in Australia:

    The Embroidery Den stock Anchor Stranded Cotton- 475 colours @ $1.80; DMC Stranded – 504 colours @ $1.45. Also Cosmo Stranded Cotton – 440 colours @ $1.50.

    All Threads (Queensland) stock a portion of the Anchor range that do not have a DMC equivalent or are popular. They seem willing to add to their range if requested. They also have a small number of Cosmo threads. Also have DMC but they do not state how many.

    I think that none of them could always have every thread in stock. It depends on the suppliers who have their own issues with production, shipping etc.

    It becomes problematic when one needs to substitute and one cannot see the colour in ‘real life’!

    DMC still seem to be the most readily available.

    Ella Parker

  6. Hi
    I’m from Vancouver Canada
    I belong to the Vancouver Guild of Embroiderers and we have been noticing that it is getting more difficult to acquire DMC, although it’s been mainly a back order issue between the online store and their distributor. Where I live there is no longer any embroidery / stitchery stores and so we mainly go online for all of our supplies which is usually from the USA and Britain and Europe. Since the Pandemic we have been experiencing great long delays in postal and courier deliveries. We also have a few stores elsewhere in Canada which we also use as sources for supplies etc. and the postal delivery delays is about the same internationally. Go figure.

  7. Hi Trish,
    I find it is getting harder to source threads in Australia. Due to store closure, stores or online stores not stocking the entire range of a brand or simply delays in importing stock.
    Primarily I use DMC, Anchor, and Maderia most of the time. With a few other smaller colour range brands thrown in eg. Cottage Garden Threads, Caron collection, Cascade House.
    My main source for threads in Australia is Allthreads and Crafty Frog. Both Australian business with a shop front and online presence and more importantly owners who bend over backwards to supply their customers.
    One thing I find difficult is creating when I am only able to buy threads online. I can’t afford to buy every thread in a range from several brands. Therefore not being able to see the threads in person and select and match colours for a project that I need impacts the enjoyment of stitching.
    Stitching is tactile and a feast for the eyes so flat colours on a computer screen chart are not helpful.
    I hope this helps in some way.
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful talent.
    Kind regards
    Jan Vidler

  8. Unfortunately I can only get hold of DMC, and then there might be shades that they are running short of or have problems obtaining them. Yes, it would have been wonderful if we could use Anchor for those in between colours, but alas! Do you have a good online store where you can stock your threads?

  9. Hi Trish,
    I am in Brisbane.Aust. “All threads” in Brisbane has an extensive range of DMC. My local “Spotlight store “now has a full supply of DMC.(and seems to replenish more regularly now.)
    However , because of covid restrictions I had called into “The Quilter’s store”, and they have Cosmo and was quite impressed with it as it has a nice lustre and has a buttery sort of feel and a very good colour shade range.
    As for Sullivans thread, maybe if it is just the shade you want and can’t find anywhere else.,then it is helpful but otherwise it is coarser and duller than DMC and Cosmo.
    Hope this is helpful to you.
    Mary

    1. Very helpful thanks Mary. It seems that they have entered the quilting world and not the needlework world hopefully we can change that:)

  10. I have found several sources on Esty in the US. I also found Ted Thread studio in the us that carry the 8000 series((variegated for 8 yards). They also offer the 5000 and 9000. I have never purchased from them but It looks like they carry a large range. I also see their embroidery floss by Cosmo levine for $1.10 USD. I like the way they show the color ranges on their site. like purple gray and black. The ranges look great.

  11. In the UK we also have Madeira threads which come in a 10m sleeve. Not as extensive colour range as DMC, but take a look at Barnyarns website.

  12. I’m from the UK both DMC and Anchor are readily available over here however most shops sell DMC and I prefer it anyway as do most of my stitchy my friends. I’ve never heard of Cosmo but it appears there is a shop here that sells it. From what I can see it seems you would have to buy a pack of coordinating shades to use them though and just an individual skein.

  13. In New Zealand there are still a few independent embroidery stores (at least up in Auckland). DMC is the staple, but we still have a lot of Anchor options (The Ribbon Rose has them on discount for $0.99 per skein as I type this, for any fellow kiwis). I haven’t found any Cosmo, which surprised me given how accessible Japanese goods are here. Would love to try it out, the colour tones look extensive.

    I just received your Kew Embroidery Book in the post so I can start needlepainting for the first time now we’re back in lockdown – it is absolutely stunning!

  14. i am from the usa. ,the state of tennesse. so far dmc is available and some stores are tring to push sullivans on us. i have tried and do not like. anchor is harder to find. there are not as many smaller stores that sell stitching supplies as there used to be. the larger ‘craft’ stores have raised the prices and do carry the whole selection of dmc. in their words just the most popular colors.

  15. DMC is readily available, some Anchor but not much, Cosmo is available in Toronto but not locally here in Oshawa

  16. The most commonly used thread by embroiderers in India seems to be Anchor so I am wondering if it’s worth a search to see their source. It’s the very same as we get here in Canada but certainly far less expensive. Some of our shops carry Anchor but it’s a bit more difficult to find than DMC. I have taught some of the stitches of the Banjara and have tried to match the colours used by them, which are always Anchor. Also, a very large Co-operative in Gujerat all use Anchor.

    1. Hi Bonnie I think India is part of the Coats Craft Anchor – not sure if it is the same but does not come under the umbrella of Anchor in Hungary. I will investigate thank you.

  17. DMC is the only brand here in Sweden that is worth buying (that I’ve found at least). The rest are no name brands with subpar quality. A few of the most common colours of Anchor can be found in certain online shops but at the most I think it’s 20 colours available. However, due to the steep prices here (saw DMC priced at €5 the other day) I tend to order from France or UK.

  18. Hi Trish,

    A note from South Australia:

    Have you looked at Anchor threads on this site; anchorcrafts.com/en

    For Cosmos threads in Morphett Vale, Sth Australia, http://www.patchworkbysea.com.au stocks them with large clear pictures.

    Last year I read a comparison of stranded threads (which I’ll send if I find) and found mostly are copies made in China. Most are not of the same standard as Anchor/DMC/Lecien and I am fairly sure Sullivans was one of them.

    Also I love Roseworks patterns.

    Thank you for all you give. I hope this helps.

    With best wishes

    Susan

    1. thanks for the info Susan and yes we need to be careful of cheap copies they are everywhere! I have seen the anchor site – you can read some of my observations in an earlier comment.

  19. Good evening Trish. This comes from Australia; Cosmo threads are available from two places in Brisbane, although I’ve never used them. Anchor cottons are becoming hard to find, although they are still available and one mail order company does advertise them, but DMC has cornered the market; it’s range is freely available. I found Sullivan’s threads to be coarse and dull, so don’t use them for anything.

    I’ve been meaning to tell you about the eighty or more Eterna silk threads in my stash and ask how I use them and when. Do you have any suggestions? Can I use some on Prancer, for example, or the giraffe? Or even Rose from the vintage postcard? Perhaps instead of some of the Guterman threads or for her features?

  20. Thank you everyone for your informative and helpful comments it is so interesting to hear the perspective of different countries what is available and what is not, also some of the feedback from shop owners. Considering all the info you have provided, it seems that DMC is still the most reliable and consistent supply and of course I will always continue to use DMC as much as possible in my designs. IF I do have to use a shade from another brand I will always provide the DMC substitute. As far as Anchor is concerned it is a wonderful brand and I very much hope that is continues. I would love to see Cosmo introduced into the market and become more reliable and possibly more cost effective, but this remains to be seen.

    There are many other brands too that are worth considering and I would never ask you to limit yourself, you can always match up the nearest shades, but it can be tricky with needlepainting where I have used a very specific shade, so please be aware of that.

    In conclusion I think its important that we support our traditional and established brands to ensure their continuation into the future. Lets not forget that they have met our needs for generations and although there are many new brands surfacing, they often come and go?

    I would love it if DMC were to consider the requirements of designers – I don’t have a contact at DMC but if anyone does please put in a word on our behalf!
    Thank you once again and have a lovely day and of course happy stitching:)

  21. thank you for the information : as more and more shops close, and the main production of dmc has been moved to morocco, we are all forced to order online – with the actual covid- and brexit ruling the travel- and mailservices (adding extra customs/taxes etc..) it is always more and more difficult to get what you want – i also like working with dmc but as you indicated with the interchange from anchor the range is sublime – my fellow embroiderers in our club ‘vingerhoedskruid’ also like to work with the silk ranges on offer but that is too expensive for me. — i have also experienced that sometimes the colourbatch when ordered online isn’t quite the same as what i already have, i use then one thread from the old one together with one thread from te new one. – we have two shops left in the antwerp region but they also experience trouble when ordering with the manufacturers – alas : all good and nice things disappear. – we just have to keep hoping the world turns back to normal and that the shareholders remember the “”share”” in their function.

    1. Thanks for your comments Monique it is good to hear your perspective from Antwerp and that you experience some of the problems the rest of us do. It is a sad fact that many high street stores are closing but personally I think online ordering is wonderful. It enables anyone from anywhere in the world to access materials – unfortunately it often does incur customs duties which is not so good:) It seems to me that the manufacturers cannot keep up with the increased demand – also there is the problem of what I call “the chain” – manufacturer – to distributor – to wholesaler – to retailer. They need to take out a few of the chain links and go direct from manufacturer to wholesaler?

  22. Hi Trish, l live in Melbourne Australia, luckily l have a large stash and l use mainly DMC. Over Covid there have been short supplies and l have had to use some Anchor skeins.
    . Some suppliers stock Sullivan’s but l don’t think they are as good as DMC. Louise

    1. Thanks Louise, I know Australia is one of the few places in the world that you can get thread and so many different varieties it is wonderful! I have never heard of Sullivans but will investigate – am a bit wary of re-branding of established brands……………. And think you are right Covid has caused a shortage, hopefully temporary:)

  23. Morning Trish,
    I live in Musina Limpopo, I battle to get thread in Limpopo, I have to order on-line but sadly most time when I order there is threads out of stock. Mostly DMC is more available than Anchor.
    Regards
    Sharon

    1. Hi Sharon thanks for giving a South African perspective, I know it can be very difficult to get threads here but fortunately we do have some online shops who keep the flag flying for us:) We have a craft shop near by Crafters Inn that stocks the full range of DMC but it is very expensive – at least we can get it 🙂

  24. Hi I mainly use DMC and have been able to find full ranges of DMC and Cosmo in one shop in Singapore. I also noticed that Anchor floss had disappeared from the shelves.

    1. Thanks Grace I am very interested to hear your perspective from Singapore that Cosmo is available and that Anchor seems to be disappearing! That is my experience, although from the different comments it seems that some countries still have anchor and others dont – so it remains to be seen what happens in the future:)

  25. I’m uncertain why, but when the Japanese company began to bring Cosmo floss to the United States they concentrated on quilt shops not needlework shops. This meant most embroiderers were/are unaware of it. I discovered it in a now closed quilt shop and began to slowly build a collection. I love that their range is from ultra light to ultra dark, usually 6 or 7 color values. Perfect for thread painting!

    1. Thanks Donna. Yes it does seem strange – the only thing I can think of is that Cosmo has a range of quilting fabrics and other materials, so perhaps it goes hand in hand. We will have to make sure that they understand the need for Needlework shops to get stock also and that this is their main market for the embroidery threads?

    2. PS and yes I agree with you – just looking at my colour chart today and each family starts with very pale and goes to very dark. From a long and short stitch point of view it is my heaven and sadly lacking in other ranges.

  26. Hi Trish, many years ago you did offer full kits with ready cut threads. This was a big and labour intensive undertaking. I do remember that there were kits with full skeins as preparation was easier. I remember that the motivation for discontinuing full kits was that stitchers may have many colours in their stash.

    A request please? Would you concider offering an option of full kits ( including skeins) please? Your postage in SA and abroad is very reasonable and it does save the hassle of finding threads. Compulsive (or addicted)stitchers do not care about the (over) size of their stash! Just a thought!😊

    I mainly use DMC as it is available in our country but really love working with AVS as well.

    1. Hi Liandre one of the main reasons I don’t provide thread in kits is that supply from distributors is very spasmodic. If you have 30 shades in a kit invariably when you re-order there will be at least two shades out of stock. This means scouring the world for those two shades and it becomes VERY stressful. In my experience it is virtually impossible to keep stock of so many threads required to fill a kit, not only is the cost prohibitive but you cannot guarantee a regular supply. I know some designers do provide thread and I salute them but Needlepainting patterns use a lot of different colours and in my case not a possibility.

      Colleen Goy from Roseworks ( http://www.roseworks.co.za/) was one of the first designers to offer kits for sale – her kits offer printed fabric and instructions with suggested DMC colours, this leaves the door open to using other brands or shades. She has been creating designs along this line for more then two decades and they are wonderful. I have considered offering a pack like this with instructions and printed fabric again – but as I work alone I need to consider the amount of extra work involved in packing up these kits. Will keep you posted:)

      One last reason – by not having to keep stock of thread for each kit it enables me to keep producing new designs – which in turn keeps you busy!!

  27. I mainly use DMC floss as it is readily available at Michael’s, an art supply store in Ontario, Canada.

  28. I did not read all of the comments but didn’t see any mention of Sullivans embroidery floss. There are 489 colors. I haven’t worked with it extensively but liked it when I have. It seemed to tangle less than DMC. Their website said you can get it on Amazon and I also saw it for sale on Etsy. It’s manufactured in the USA.

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