Friday, April 23, 2010

About threads...

As a totally addicted embroiderer and stitcher-holic I thought today we might chat about threads.
My inspiration to have this conversation with you was prompted by a parcel that arrived yesterday from Carrie of A Passion for Applique
Carrie has been making my Shabby Roses quilt blocks since I began sharing them through my blog last year, and she chose fabrics that were very different to any others I've seen used in the quilt. 
Have a look at some of her blocks HERE. She has now finished all her blocks and the sashing, and her quilt is at the quilters - I cannot wait to see it all finished. :-)
For the embroidery on the blocks Carrie used bamboo threads, and I always wondered what they would be like to stitch with. Now I will be able to find out because that's what was in the parcel Carrie sent me!
Thanks so much, Carrie!!
They feel very different to cotton threads. There is a 'baby' softness to them, almost velvety in texture, and as I fondled them I thought about my other threads and how each of them are used for different reasons, depending on the design I'm using at the time.

I suppose everyone who stitches has a good array of DMC cotton stranded threads. There are hundreds of colours to choose from, they are very cheap - in Australia we pay 89c at Spotlight or around $1.50 in patchwork stores. I use these threads more than any other because of the colour range and the availability. 
I also love using DMC's Perle threads. They are wonderful for sewing on felt, for quilting, and for projects that require a bolder feature to stand out from the fabric. I also choose them if I need to use more than 2 strands of thread in a project (depending on colour availability of course).

Very similar to DMC, not as easily found locally as DMC, though Spotlight have a good selection.
I only have a few, as they were bought for their colours - I could not find a similar DMC to use. I like stitching with these Anchor threads, though! They seem to 'glide' through the fabric.

Cosmo threads are Japanese, from the Lecien Company, and were promoted as being much easier to work with than DMC - less twisting and knotting as you stitch. I agree with that statement, however they do still twist and knot. I'm not sure there is a thread on the market that doesn't twist.
These are my new favourite thread! They are hand dyed variegated 6 strand cotton threads, and simply lovely to look at, handle, and work with. They knot and twist even less than Cosmo.
They are the work of Pam down in Victoria, and I encourage you to visit her blog HERE because she has all the beautiful colour swatches of her threads on show to tantalise you!
There are a number of stores in Australia that have begun to stock Pam's 'Cottage Garden Threads', but if you are overseas you can now purchase through her Etsy Shop HERE.

The thing that always attracts me to Madeira stranded threads is the packaging! So lovely neat, easy access to the thread, lovely colour exposed through the window of the package which also allows me to see how much thread is left. These are not easy to come by, so when I find them I stock up - there are hundreds of colours to choose from in the range. These also tend to twist and knot less than DMC.

These are the threads that Synnoeve sent me last week, and I haven't used them yet as I have them aside for use with my new Tilda fabrics to make Tilda designs from all my Tilda books - yes, I am going to finally make my favourite Tilda projects using all Tilda fabrics and threads! How exciting! I'll let you know how well they perform in my needle once I have used them.

These are rayon threads, and look simply beautiful when stitched! They are used a lot by those who do Brazillian embroidery because of their texture, sheen, and because you can boil them.
I have only ever used them for backstitch, french knots and lazy daisies because I find they twist constantly and fray easily. However, I think for something very special they are perfect because of the glorious end result. You just need to stitch slowly and gather your patience.
(a little bit of trivia - the first time I bought some of this thread it was because it's called Lola. That's my maternal grandmother's name...)

What threads do you stitch with most?
Is there a certain brand you would prefer to use over others? (imagine cost is not important and you could choose whatever you wanted) What is it about those threads that you like so much?


Have a wonderful day!!


Sue said...

Thanks so much for the thread class. I've learnt a lot and will definitely pay more attention when buying and using threads now.
I love the sharing world of bloggers.

Monica said...

I use DMC mostly which is only 37 cents per skein.

I have also used Presencia's floss is twice the price and really no different than the DMC. I've recently purchased Weekly Dyeworks for a specific project. At $2.50 per skein, I don't think I'll be using it very much.

The bamboo floss you talked about sounds interesting. I'll have to try it some time...if I can find it.

Orquídea Sánchez Azorín said...

Lily Rose is beautifoul... i like her look... :)

Raewyn said...

Hi Jenny, My favourite little quilt shop stocks Aurifil thread which is on a reel and is from Italy. It comes in 4 weights that I know of, some for putting through the machine; fine for needleturn; DMC weight and 2-strand DMC weight. I love using it but it's not nearly as cheap as DMC; however I will buy a reel for a big project eg redwork and use my DMCs for where I only need a bit of each colour. Thanks for the interesting post.

Kaylee said...

Hi Jenny, I also love to stitch and embroider and love threads. A few years back a lady taught me some Brazilian embroidery, I will take a photo of the small piece I did and BLOG in a week or so (I am taking annual leave next week). The Brazilian embroidery threads are very expensive here HOWEVER I found a brilliant shop in the US called "JDR Brazilian Elegance". I can become a little obsessive sometimes and I spent A$250.00 a few weeks back on threads and some plastic sleeves to put them in. They had packs containing 14 threads in each for US$16/pack (different colours). It was certainly worth the postage. I would love to buy and try some of the Cosdmo threads. Have a great weekend. Cheers Kaylee

Amanda said...

My only local choices are DMC and Anchor. I use DMC if I'm following an Australian pattern, Anchor otherwise. They do me very well, so I don't miss anything else. Perhaps I ought to branch out a bit!

Heikesquilt said...

Hi Jenny,
i like most the thread from the House of Embroidery, it comes in to strands on one cardboard which fit perfectly together. And I like the thread from Weeks Dye Work and Caron. Of corse I like my own dyed thread. I use DMC and a cotton 12 stranded knitting yarn and several others and overdye the different colours. It is interesting to see how the different colours fit together after dying.
Greetings from Germany

Anne-Lise at Rag, Tag, Bobtail said...

So far I have been using DMC as that is what I can get locally. I am on the look-out for other threads to try - the variegated ones look lovely.
The dogs are cute playing together - Lily Rose reminds me of my first dog, an Irish Wolfhound - giant paws, weighed a ton and thought she was a little puppy all her life.

Susan said...

HI Jenny, Thanks for your very informative blog on threads.
Like most, I have a lot of DMCs - well all of them - all neatly carded and organised. Then I have some Anchors - like you - because they have colours that DMC doesn't. (How can that be??) I ahve recently started using Presencia and at $1 each that is pretty cheap - I dont think our Spotlight charges as little as 89cents (and really I hate going into Spotlight - its always a mess and a long queue). I haven't ventured into Madeira threads yet - if I get one I will want the whole collection!
BUT to me the best threads are the variegated ones. I have all the Anchor & DMCs - fortunately a limited number of each. Then there are the Threadworx (were Needle Necesities) - they have a huge range and almost any combination of colours. But I really love the Dinky Dyes threads - from Australia - origianlly WA - they ahve the most gorgeous names - such as Whispering Winds, Glistening Pearl - they are worth having for the names alone! And there is the range from Stitches & Spice - thye have great names too - Jacaranda Haze, Butterfly Garden. And what about the Cascade House - silk variegated - so beautiful to work with - no tangles - not a huge range of colours though.
Need I go on?? If only I had the space and the money I woudld buy them all - just to look at! Sad aren't I? And does anyone else use OPI Nail Polishes? I am currentky wearing "Kinki in Helsinki" - just to give you an idea of creative names.
Cheers to you all

Joy said...

Awwww, how adorable are your furry kids!!! Bob the dog better make the most of the fun and games with Lily Rose cos I don't think he'll be able to 'wrestle' with her for much longer ..... goodness Jen, she's gonna be a big girl!!!
Yep ... those eyes are definitely irresistable ;o).
Love n Hugs,
Joy :o)

Betsy said...

Jenny, presencia perle cotton worksa best for me but oh so hard to find. I stock up at the quilt shows.

Jess @ Scrappy n Happy said...

Lily Rose is just adorable!
Thank you for all the info on the threads. I use Madiera and DMC but can't wait to try Cosmo and Cottage Garden.

FlourishingPalms said...

What an interesting and informative thread of conversation! (Pun intended.) I've been a lifetime DMCer, and recently found Cosmo. Love it, love it.

Thanks for the picture of Lily Rose that made me smile.

By Hoki Quilts said...

Hi Jenny, what a lovely assortment of threads you have. Here where I live (SI West Coast) we can only get DMC and I'm dying to try others. Once DH is back I'm taking him and his 'card' shopping in the city (3 1/2 hours away)to find as many different brands of threads I can, plus a few other wants too.
That bamboo floss sounds intersting.
hugs - Miche'le

Abby and Stephanie said...

Carrie is one very talented lady and super sweet too. Love the doggie photos.

Maria said...

Thank you for the lesson on different threads. Now I know more when choosing my threads.

I love the photos of your furry friends.Lily Rose is growing so quickly.

Maggey and Jim said...

Loved all the info on the threads.. Wish I could copy it down.. Maybe I will try copy & paste? Lily is just adorable..She is going to be an awesome dog, she walks so proud,, just like a lion..Thanks from all of us novice stitchers who really need help..

B J Elder said...

Thank you for both the photos and your evaluation of all the different 'threads'. WOW! I've mostly used DMC, but have heard that Cosmo was good. The bamboo sounds wonderful too. Will check some of the websites you listed.

Synnove said...

You have a lot of threads!:-)The cottage garden threads looks really nice. I think I have to "run" over and buy some.
Lily Rose And Bob the dog are soooo cute, I guess she will be a very large dog when she is all grown up:-)
Have a great weekend!

Shirley--Knot-y Embroidery Lady said...

I enjoyed your thread tutorial and photography, plus the doggy pictures! My favourites are Prescencia and Gentle Arts. The Bamboo sounds interesting, eh!

KaHolly said...

Great lesson on threads today. I am ashamedly using floss from the flea market! But, hey, I'm new at this. Thanks to you sharing your Shabby Roses quilt designs, I am making progress in learning to embroider and am having a ball! I added beads to one (I'm making 2 quilts at a time)and it's gorgeous. Maybe someday I'll complete them :), and can start something new and explore all the other threads there are out there. ~karen

Anna Rosa Designs said...

Hi Jenny,
Thanks for the run down on different threads.
Ah, I've also recently purchased some Cottage garden threads and intend on buying some more.

You may like to pop in and visit me.
I've finished my Shabby Roses Quilt, and I'm soooo happy with it.

Your doggy's are looking so happy and cute together!
Have a great weekend,

Unknown said...

My Shabby Roses is done, too, quilted and bound me so hooked on embroidery, I'm doing Bouquet but very behind on it at the moment!!! I LOVE those doggies!!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh Jenny I came over from Country Garden Threads and you have beautiful work!! I looked at your profile and you are the only other person I know that likes Ballykissangel!!! I am rewatching it right this minute!!!! Definitely kindred spirits!!

Jeannie said...

Threads like needles is something good to know. Using the right ones makes all the difference. I did wool embroidery before I did smocking and with smocking I always used Madera. Now with regular embroidery I'm using DMC Linen and DMC Cotton.
I have a mental block with the back stitch for some reason!! I am coming along though :)

quilting chick said...

Jenny, I just want you to know how much I enjoy your blog. I check every day and love the work you do.
I have DMC and am wanting to try some different ones. Thank you for
the thread class. I love the stories of your doggies and now I want to know about the possum. I can't remember the names you gave them. Thank you for sharing your life with all of us- Hugs, Marietta

Allie said...

Love the thread chat Jenny! I've only ever used DMC, simply because I have so much of it and I don't like to buy more...well, I do, but other things are higher on the list, lol. How nice of Carrie to send you the bamboo threads! I've seen bamboo yarn, and oh is it lovely.

Bob-the-dog looks so handsome with his short haircut, and Lily Rose is adorable! How can anyone resist puppy eyes!

Susan said...

Thanks for the thread class I really enjoyed it and just love threads. I have the whole range of DMC and some other threads. I will now also be more open to look for some interesting threads. Thanks for sharing.

ozjane said...

I love Madeira pure silk thread. Not so easy to find but it is my favorite to use...I had to go and search for the correct name.

I have put it there in case anyone has not found it yet. I love to use it in both crazy quilting work and general embroidery.

It is odd how few people seem to understand how to use those fabulous Madeira containers...that is probably why I most often chose them ..for ease of storage and of use.

Carrie P. said...

Collecting threads is almost as much fun as collecting fabrics. Lots of pretty ones on your blog.
I use mostly DMC. I have every color they have made because before I became a quilter I used to cross stitch.
Because of your blog and Cheryl's (willowberry) I have gotten back into embroidery which I learned as a child.
So glad you are like the thread.

Janice said...

We are so spoilt for choice these days. I've only ever used DMC, so it is really interesting hearing your views on the other threads available out there.

Tina said...

I learnt so much from this blog about cottons. Thankyou for sharing it with us.

Bec said...

Hi Jenny, I mostly use DMC and sometimes Maderia. I have used some Valdani 3 strand hand dyed threads that are water fast and loved using these - no separating the strands! Anni at Hatched and Patched / The Home Patch sells them. I have used a few other threads that are similar to DMC/Maderia but didn't like them - lots of reasons. Threads like Cottage Garden are very pretty but I am hesitant about using them because they aren't water fast; and if the quilt needs washing or sponging how will these threads end up is my concern.
Great post!