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Topic: Alternate types of thread?  (Read 2661 times)
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« on: July 18, 2004 08:39:35 PM »

So far in my embroidery, I've been just using 6-strand cotton floss, but I'm getting ready to experiment with other types of thread because I want to introduce different textures into my projects.  So far, I've got some pearl cotton and some lamb's wool thread that I guess is the type used for crewel.  I'm planning to get some rayon 6-strand floss the next time I'm at the craft store (and remember Smiley).  Does anyone have any experience in working with these materials?  Any pitfalls and/or wonderful aspects of them as opposed to the cotton floss?

On Saturday, I drove a little bit outside of the city I live in to visit a store that specializes in embroidery/cross-stitch/needlepoint materials, and they had some really beautiful types of thread.  I was drooling over the hand-painted variegated pearl cottons and did buy two that were on sale, along with some wool that was on clearance due to being discontinued.  The colors are really gorgeous--I hope my technique can live up to them.
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« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2004 10:14:47 AM »

I've used the rayon floss (it's kind of shiny) that DMC makes, and I really hated it. The strands didn't stay together, and the strings in one strand wouldn't even stay together when when I only used one strand. The strings kept unraveling. I think one would have to use AIDA cross-stitch cloth for the rayon floss. I've been doing a lot of reading about the many techniques and materials for embroidery, and none of the books I have recommend using the rayon floss. A couple of the stitch enclyopedias don't even mention it... ??


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« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2004 03:18:41 PM »

Okay, rayon sounds like a nightmare, sort of like the metallic floss but worse.  I wonder if there are any better options for that sort of smooth, glowy texture.
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« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2004 10:56:34 PM »

Rayon thread can be a real pain but can look gorgeous. Tha same goes for silk thread or the artificial silk threads. The best way to use them is to seperate the strands as you do for cross stitch and then use a maximum of two at a time. Use only short lengths and knot them onto the needle so they dont slide through. Another thing which really helps is a product called Thread Heaven which is a "thread conditioner and protectant" and makes it slightly less slippery and easier to handle.

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« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2004 11:14:18 AM »

Rayon is quite managable with thread heaven. Slide it over the TH, run your fingers down the length of the floss to wipe off the excess, and this causes a static charge to help keep it under control. If you don't want to use thread heaven, a little water on a damp sponge can do the same, but I've heard of a couple colors of the DMC rayon running, so I've always stuck with the TH (plus I have a lot of it because I use it for beading as well).

Silk floss will also give you a nice sheen and they're addicting to work with. Smiley Just let your needle dangle every so often to make sure the floss isn't getting twisted and this will help prevent knots. I've never had to tie floss to the needle--silk isn't as slippery as rayon. Caron makes some nice overdyed silks.

Btw, DMC makes the WORST metallic threads. I use Kreinik when I need metallics, and I use thread heaven on that as well. (I don't use thread heaven on silk, however!)

« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2004 09:38:47 AM »

I love pearl cotton, especially for working on my jeans. It washes better than floss, holds up to more abuse, and it's shinier.  Smiley  The only thing that's weird about it is that when you use it for satin stitches, it shows if you change the direction you're stitching in.
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« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2004 10:02:04 AM »

I've been teaching myself Hardanger embroidery, and LOVING the size 5 and 8 Pearl cotton.   I definitely want to start using it to embroider on other things. 

Question, if anyone knows.... Is the numbering system for pearl cotton the same as the one for crochet thread?  I notice a lot of crocheters talking about using size 10 thread, and I was wondering if that was just two 'sizes' smaller than the size 8 pearl cotton. 

« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2004 05:37:34 PM »

Years ago, you could only find silk thread and rayon was just entering the market.  Silk thread in short legnths just flows onto the material.  However, as I remember, not all silk thread was the same.

Not all wool "thread" is the same by brand either.  And, even within a brand, there is more difference in the way the thread feels and flows due to the dyes than there is within the cotton thread world.

Textures are far easier to obtain with a combination of thread and stitch using wool.  But, it is all the more important to use the correct size needle and the correct material backing for your project than it is with cotton thread.  Wool thread is most often used in what is called crewel work.  Crewel was very big in the 60's and 70's.  If you get a chance, go to the library and see if you can find some older crewel embroidery books to see what is possible.  It is all the more important to have a proper tension when using wool "thread".

I've used a number of materials for "embroidery" on a number of items over the years.  If you want to alternative forms of materials for both "thread" and background material, check out some of the textile art books from the early '70's; the "in thing" was anything that didn't conform to what grandma did. 

If you want to play with the feel of wool crewel and/or make something washable, try out some cheap, acrylic yarn.  Just play with the stitches on a scrap of fabric.  Wool works 100% plus better but, it is a way to inexpensively play with stitches. 

I am currently looking for an out of the package, colorfast thread for just plain old embroidery on household items.  Fly tying thread caught my eye about 10 years ago and I'm about to honestly take a second look and try it out.
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« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2004 10:57:43 PM »

I know you wouldn't get much of a variety in colors, but what about floss(you know, the kind for teeth.)

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« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2004 04:32:27 PM »

Somewhere in some magazine, I actually saw a burlappy type tote done with tooth floss.
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