Aug 4, 2014


So how many thread types do you regularly use?  Just like my panties, I'm a cotton gal.  I like using DMC and Sullivan floss, it's cheap, it's matte, it's not elegant, it can be tweaked with dye, even Wal-mart carries it, and it burns easily without guilt. Gentle Art Sampler Thread is my second choice but since I use the sewing method for stitching, the variation is hardly noticeable.  What about all the others?  No clue. I've been stitching for 40 years (with a very long break) but don't really know a lot about the materials used.  Color and feel are all I really care about but sometimes I get a bug to learn a little more.  Is it useful?  For me, probably not.  Simple samplers done with simple threads and coarse linen makes it pretty simple.  For detailed and intricate projects taking a great amount of time and skill, maybe knowing a little more about my supplies would make a difference in choice.  If that ever comes, I'll be ready.
I have a messy box with odd threads.  Most of them were given away.  I kept some that I may use one day like the flower thread, skeins of over dyed reds for Santas, wools, but I'm clueless about others.
What are Wildflowers, Waterlilies, and Watercolours used for?   I found the answers in descriptions on 123Stitch, and still have no use for them. If anyone would like this little batch, let me know.  Happy to send them to a good home.  
Has your thread ever bled when aging/staining a piece?  I was told at the quilt store that Sullivan (and Valdani) are colorfast and DMC is not.  And that Sullivan is long staple and DMC is not.  Well DMC's website states that it is long staple, as well as being colorfast. The next time I visit that shop I will ask them to check DMC's site and explain why he told me otherwise.  My DMC shreds easily when removing stitches but the Sullivan thread doesn't.  Regarding the long/short staple, a video explaining the difference is here and a text explanation is here.  Superior Threads has many video clips on all sorts of threads that are very interesting and informative here.  I think they relate more to quilting and hand sewing, but still interesting.
 These are some other cotton overdyed, described by various online shops ~ 
Weeks Dye Works -  sold in 5 yard skeins. The colors are variegated enough to be noticeable, yet subtle enough to blend naturally, $2.20
Valdani - 6-Stranded skein in hand-overdyes and hand-dyed solid colors, colorfast. Solid colors and subdued variegates, eleven yards per skein (twice as much!), $3.00.
Crescent Colours - a hand dyed floss that begins with cotton DMC six strand floss and gentle fabric dyes designed specifically for cotton, 5 yard skein, $2.20. 
Gentle Art Sampler Threads - six strand hand overdyed cotton floss, 5 yards, $2.00.
ThreadworX - hand dyed, 6 strand, 20 yard skeins (TWENTY!), $3.90.
Many stitchers prefer silk for their projects, some are reasonable, some very pricey.  Is there a difference justifying the price?  Probably. I had a giveaway for the whole batch of YLI that I got from a friend but still have a small amount of various silks.  I used them briefly and wasn't happy but guess what - I don't remember why.
Some of the more popular ~
NPI floss - Needlepoint Inc. Silk is reeled, not spun, making the filaments longer and of higher quality, 5 meters, 8 ply, around $3.50.
Gloriana - This spun silk has silk's beauty, luster, and shine but doesn't catch on your hands. Gloriana Silk is soft and remarkably easy to use. 12 strand silk, 6 yard skein, around $7.50.
Soie D'Alger (Au Ver A Soie) silk. 100% silk made in France. Easily separated, moderate lustre. Dry clean only, 5.5 yards per mini skein. 7 strand, about $4.00.
Belle Soie (Crescent Colours) 12-stranded spun silk packaged in 5-yard skeins, $7.50.
A site that gives information on other less commonly heard of silks is Thread Needle Street.  If you're interested in the difference between reeled and spun silk, you can read a little more about it at Silkewerk, or Treenway Silks.  Mary Corbett's Needle 'n Thread has very good information for working with silk and her article has Needlepoint Inc. listed as spun but their site states reeled.  After reading this, I don't think I would be interested in using the reeled or filament silk, even if you offered me 10# of chocolate to do so.  And once again I can't say enough about Mary's website.  Unbelievable amount of information on anything related to stitching - the Tips & Techniques listing is a long one and well worth reading, and the instructional videos are the best.
What about strands?  Is a strand the same as a ply?  I found several confusing answers.  Some descriptions state "2-ply strands" and from that I assume that several plies twist together to form a strand.  DMC has 6 strands that we separate, but I think each strand is 2 ply.  NPI is listed as 8 ply, but there are 8 strands to separate, not 8 twisting filaments to form one strand.  You probably know this and I don't think it really matters.  Valdani's floss description uses both "6-ply" and also "6 stranded" for the same product and others interchange the terms too.  Why did I even bring it up?
Well, this was pretty long and boring wasn't it?  I hope I have everything right - I was getting dizzy going from site to site for information.  But I did learn quite a bit about thread quality and terminology from those sites I mentioned.  Will I remember it all?  Hell no.  That's why I do these posts!  I can always go back to the post and links for reference.  Did you know that you can search a blog by entering a subject in the top left box?  Took me a while to find that out.  I want to talk about storage options for specialty threads but I can't hold my head in this position any longer.  It took several sessions to get the entire post typed sooooooo ..... storage in the next post!



StitchingBea said...

oh, I would LOVE to get those fibers ... I usually work from stash and they would come in very handy.

cucki said...

Wow they so sweet..
Can you please send me some..we don't get these ones here in South Africa..
Thank you
Love cucki x

Anonymous said...

I would love to have your extra threads! I gave a lot of my thread to my daughter to help her get started cross stitching--now I need to replenish my supply.

Audrey said...

I too would love to share these threads! Thank you for sharing!

Jacqueline said...

Your posts always crack me up..even when they are informative you manage to insert humor.

I would like to be entered into the chance for your threads.

Thanks and keep on writing, or I mean stitching.

Faye said...

Oh Marley.... I'd love to use up any threads you may have~ I like them for cording and hand embellishments.... You are just too sweet... I'm catching up on blogposts this morning and you've made me laugh right out loud several times!!!!

Shirlee said...

Seems everyone wants your threads ... lol! Add me to the list if there is one : ) Those threads are great for tatting!

Shirlee said...

I should have kept reading & then commented ... lol! Very interesting post! I don't care what DMC's site says ... they have got to be short staple because they "fuzz" like there's no tomorrow. I bought some Sullivans, described as "long staple," but also bought some Presencia, described as "extra long staple." I haven't stitched with the Sullivans yet, but am not real happy with the Presencia only because it is extremely soft ... almost like stitching with cashmere or something. I'm discouraged every time I stitch with GAST or WDW because it seems the variegation is either barely noticeable, or such a drastic "stop & start" blend, like 4" of light blue, then wham ... 4" of dark blue, then wham again ... 4" of light blue, then another wham ... 4" of dark blue, etc, that it's really annoying. And it seems the colors of WDW & GAST never, ever look like they do on the models ... & don't tell me this is due to photography because I know by professional experience it is not. Lol! I maybe should have written you an email ... lol!

gracie said...

I love specialty threads. I see several of us would like them...glad to have a chance to get them.

Robin said...

I think everyone has their own thread preferences which is a good thing for all those thread companies. I like the cottons (DMC followed by GAST and Crescent Colours). Not a fan of Weeks! Haven't used Sullivans because it isn't available locally. As for the silks, I like HDF because of cost followed by NPIs. Even if they say colorfast, I don't believe it because I have had things bleed. Sorry to be so long winded!

Robin in Virginia

JR Bush said...

Put me on your list for the thread. I make
tactile quilts for people with dementia or
alzheimer's so I can use anything. Thank
you. I learn a lot from your blog. Julia

Lida said...

I recently bought a box with 100 skeins of DMC, but for some things I prefer CC and WDW, I also have some silk, but not much, find it much too expensive and it breaks very easy, but just having lots of different skeins and colors make me feel rich and I know that I can make just what I like and want! For your pears I used CC and WDW and they look so nice! Thanks for explaning and I wished the thread in Holland were as cheap as in the USA! Hugs

Kristen said...

I find that Weeks threads, as nice as the colors are, tangle really easily. I deliberately cut shorter than usual lengths when working with it, because I know Ill just end up fighting with knots. Gentle Art knots seem to be more easily untangled.

Crescent Colors - now Classic Colorworks - I find tend to unravel more easily. As in the fibers in a single strands will untwist and break. Lovely colors but annoying.

As for silk, for gorgeous floss at bargain prices, check out Hand Dyed Fibers by Vikki Clayton. The colors are gorgeous - she'll dye custom colors for you - and her customer service is unbeatable. I'm a huge fan of Vikki's silks.

Jackie said...

Thanks for all your research, I use all the threads mentioned. I rarely us DMC I find the colors to be flat and boring. Take care of your leg.

Frances N said...

WOW! You have really done the thread research! That is actually very interesting!
I have some Sullivan's I just bought (on a sale rack) and I need to try that to see what I think about it! I'd love to be on your thread list, too! You are very kind to offer them!

Kathy L. said...

I like the Gentle Arts threads, like the colors. I use DMC alot though because I have alot of it. I am not very good at changing colors from a designers suggestions, getting better though, can't keep buying all the new threads. If I can find a substitute close among my threads I use it. Haven't tried Sullivan yet. Will have to compare to DMC and see what I think. Thanks for all the info.


Maggee said...

Don't enter me for the threads--I've got plenty! I LOVE silks... my faves are Dinky Dyes and Hand Dyed Fibers by Vikki Clayton --they are so soft to the touch as you stitch. Did you know that Crescent Colors is now Classic Colors and owned by Diane Williams's son (LHN), Ronny? Wonder what happened to Sharon Crescent? Times change, people change, blah blah blah... Gentle little hugs to you!

Karen said...

I don't need the threads, but wanted to comment on this informational post. It is right up my alley and I like to follow threads, no pun intended, to see what I might learn and like you will forget. To throw a monkey wrench into the thread discussion, I remember DMC had a picture of a hand on the bottom wrapper to show which way to pull the thread out and was which end to thread into your needle. In a cross stitch class I was also told to rub down your length of thread to see which way it was spun. If little tiny threads stick out then you thread your needle with the end that the tiny thingies point away from. Gosh that was long to tell you something I don't even do because it was a pain to look at those tiny thingies and I could never really really tell which way they pointed!

cl said...

I love the over-dyed WDW, GAST And CC for solid areas such as santa hats and outfits, I use the sewing method too and find that you can easily do one complete stitch at a time (as recommended for over=dyed thread) - if you stitch left to right (I am right handed). I do the standard 1-2 3-4 order but I start with the thread pulled up at one and then go down/up at 2-3. then 4-1 where 1 is the next stitch to the left. I then turn the piece upside down and again go left to right. Doing alphabets is even easier because you mostly do an entire X most of the time even using DMC. Give it a try, the over-dyed threads give a richness that is not achieved with DMC. Since you like rich fabrics - I think you might like the look.

Veronica Longobardi said...

Wow Thank you for all that information. I didn't even know there are so many different threads. I don't have a cross stich shop close by. So I just went to Joanne's and got dmc. I use the valdani perle cotton for my wool appliqué. And I like that. Should probably try their 6 strand. Could you do a post on your opinion on different fabrics to use. I'd love to hear your experience and thoughts on that. I love learning new things. Thanks for all that research !!!
Thanks Marly

krayolakris said...

Great info on this post. Thanks! I won't soon forget the underwear analogy...heehee!

Margaret said...

There are usually two plies spun together to form a strand. Then there are 6 to 8 or even 12 strands per bundle. DMC has 6 strands. If you pull the two plies apart, the thread just won't hold up, so it's really really obvious the difference between plies and strands. I love NPI and AVAS. They are my favorites. Have had trouble with bleeding from one brand. I won't say what. :D But it's silk so you don't have to worry. It isn't a fun brand to work with either as it shreds.

samplerlover said...

You and I are very much alike. I prefer to use DMC threads on my samplers. I have no problems with them, although I sometimes find that a particular colour might start shedding a little bit when I'm using it, but I can live with that. I do love using silk but silk threads are way to expensive here so I only have 2 samplers that are done entirely in silk. One of them I'm still working on. I like the overdyed threads but only use them on small projects.

Krista said...

Wow, you have done your research :) I am a cotton gal like you. Love DMC. Second favorite is Needle Necessities, now Threadworx.

Mary Margaret said...

I like using and experimenting with all types......oh wait, maybe I am just a hoarder.
Would love to win your threads!

Nancy M said...

I would love a chance to win the group of threads. It seems I only use WDW or GA threads anymore. I love silk and do use depending on what I am stitching.

Myra said...

This was the best post I've read anywhere in a long time. Even though I don't cross stitch that much anymore. Like you I did for a long time with a break in between. Then took up quilting. Now it's punching .. how I adore this needle art. I use DMC at times but for most projects I use Valdani #12 doubled. The DMC has a tendency to drag a bit. Anyway thank you so much especially that tip about the left box~ search a blog ... holy cow it's invaluable. One more thing ... are you positive 10# of chocolate wouldn't persuade you to try silks ... hmmmm. :-)

Teresa S. said...

Did anyone answer your question about what are Watercolours, Waterlilies and Wildflowers for?

No idea about Wildflowers.

Here is the skinny on Watercolours-it is for LAZY stitchers (like me) who do not like to lay stitches. One ply can be used on 18ct canvas in a diagonal stitch and voila! Christmas ornies quick and easy.

I will give Laura Perin credit that she uses Watercolours in many of her patterns. Thank you, Laura!

Let someone else separate four strands of silk (Waterlilies, etc) , then lay each stitch just so. No thank you :)

Have a great day!

Truus said...

Thanks for all your information about threads.
Mostly I use DMC and have a few hand dyed skein with variated colors.I made some samplers with these threads.
have a lovely day
greetings,Truus from the Netherlands

Hazel said...

I am sure someone has snaffled up those Caron threads! I would love them. You can use them for hardanger or in place of stranded cotton for cross stitch. Gorgeous sets of threads you have there. x

Annmarie said...

WOW - lots of research and info in one place - great job-thanks. Our EGA is doing a year of cotton this year, next year is wool and 2016 is silk. I will use this info for our members when presenting silk threads. Hope your body is recuperating and you are feeling better soon.

rosek1870 said...

I usually stick to DMC as it is colorfast (never had a problem) and easy to get for a good price here. I have used Crescent colors and like them as I like Little House Designs and she mixes them with DMC on many designs. That being said I am currently working on my second pattern using Victorian Motto Sampler over dyed floss. I can only say that it is lovely to work with and Nancy sells it for $2.00 for 20 yards!!!
Have a great stitching day!Hope your feeling better each day!

diamondc said...

I am a DMC girl, I do however have many different types of threads, I use the Wildflowres threads for twisted cord around my ornaments and for hangers.
I get threads from friends that no longer have a use for them, but still love the DMC.
Great info thank-you for sharing.


Carol said...

Even though I use overdyeds now and then, Marly, I am a DMC girl, too--plain and simple. And it is the DMC only designs like Prairie Schooler pieces that really help the relaxation part of cross stitching kick in for me... There is no need to look at the piece and say--"Oh, I don't like the way that overdyed thread is looking so stripey." Everything just flows with good old DMC :)

I hope you're feeling better day by day--really enjoyed this post!

Jimmie said...

I love this post about threads. I hope I'm the lucky one chosen to receive your extras!

Diane in North Carolina

mckinney37397 said...

love all threads sometimes it needs a little fancy-would love to receive the threads-love your blog get your posts in my email

Barb said...

A great post with lots of info. I know this is probably a needlework sin but I did it anyway. I was working with silk(I rarely do this) but found a better DMC color for the gold. So on the same piece I used both silk and DMC. I can't tell which is which when I look at the piece. I know this is probably a bad thing to do but it worked for me. Maybe I have bad eyes!!!

Mary said...

Marly, Marly, Marly! I'm all over the funky threads, especially the silks. They really are the Haagen-Dazs of stitching fibers. Please sign me up, and thank you!

jhm said...

As with everyone else, I would love to have the threads.

Please visit my blog sometime.


Three Sheep Studio said...

Loving these threads. Can never have too many ;)

Simple Pleasure said...

I'd love to give these threads a try...thanks for the offer.
Busy Hands...Happy Heart

Simple Pleasure said...

I'd love to give these threads a try...thanks for the offer.
Busy Hands...Happy Heart

Simple Pleasure said...

I'd love to give these threads a try...thanks for the offer.
Busy Hands...Happy Heart

Simple Pleasure said...

I'd love to give these threads a try...thanks for the offer.
Busy Hands...Happy Heart

stitchinrose said...

I would love to have those fibers, I don't live any where near a place that carries things like these and would love to get my hands on some. your sure you want to get rid of them - 10# of chocolate can convince me to do a lot of things. :o}

Pam in IL said...

I love the Caron threads but only have a few in my stash. I have quite a few different brands of threads and haven't really had any issues with any of them. I have used Sullivan's and DMC and never noticed much difference between the two. I really just love all different threads, especially variegated ones.

Barbara said...

This would be a nice way to replenish my stash. Thanks for such a great giveaway!

La Nouille said...

I adore Caron Threads and you love those!
So nice of you to share.

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