Events, Inspiration, Uncategorized

Thread Love

I am writing this post in conjunction with the Stitch-A-Long that is happening in my group shortly. It’s all about the threads………

All threads are not equal!!!!!

I have a confession to make …………. I am a thread addict!  Seriously, I love thread.  The colours, the textures, the endless possibilities.  There are so many different brands, and types of thread out there that it would be impossible to list them all, so here are a few of the most common threads, some of my favourites, and not so favourites!  

Standard threads come in a skein of 6 thin threads, twisted together – these can be separated into individual threads, so you can choose how many threads you use in a particular design – if you want a very fine line or stitch, you can use a single thread – going right up to the full six if you want a really thick, prominent stitch.  On most of my hoops I tend to use two threads for an outline, and three for a filler stitch.  The most commonly known brands of standard threads are DMC and Anchor, but there are lots of others!  What threads you but can depend on the type of embroidery to do. 

Both DMC and Anchor threads have reference numbers for every colour shade.  If you are following a specific pattern they often list these numbers so that you are guaranteed to get a result similar to the pattern.  If you are more of a wing-it kind of a person (this is me!)  then you can mix and match brands as you like.  I would just add that it can be worth paying a little bit more for threads to get a decent quality.  There are numerous non-branded multi packs of threads available in general craft shops, etc. and some of these are perfectly good for embroidery, but some are really stiff, and not at all easy to stitch with.  If you can, have a good feel of them before buying – squidge them about a little bit, and if you can, actually feel the thread – if it feel stiff or scratchy, you may be better giving them a miss!

Both DMC and Anchor also do various “speciality” ranges – different types of thread that give different effects. 

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These are DMC Satin Embroidery Threads – they are still six strands, but they have a beautiful glossy sheen to them.  They can be a little bit slippy when you are stitching!  These look lovely if you use them to fill in a larger space – the gloss really shows up

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DMC Light Effects – these are six strand metallic threads, and I will freely admit I hate them with a passion!  They look gorgeous when you see them in the complete skeins, and to be fair, they are very effective when used…….but they are horrible to sew with!  Due to the metallic nature, they are very stiff, and stitches don’t “flow” very well with these.  If you do use them, try to work with very short lengths – they are slightly more manageable that way!

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DMC Mouline Etoile – I absolutely love these!  They are six strand threads that have sparkly glitter running through them.  They come in a fabulous range of colours – and you can get them all in a collectors tin!  They are very soft, so lovely to sew with, and you can get a lovely sparkle using only one or two strands.

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Threads don’t just have to be silk or cotton – these threads are 50% wool.  These do not split, they are a single thread, which is roughly the thickness of 4 standard threads.  These are lovely and soft, and look almost fluffy when you use them – they make a really unusual outline thread, or great for filling in.

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Moving away from the DMC/Anchor now….

These are hand dyed mulberry silk embroidery threads, with short colour changes – so they produce the most amazing effects.  If you have ever seen the rainbow hearts that I make – these are the threads I use!  They come in a good range of colour schemes, and are lovely to work with.  They are a single thread, which is roughly the thickness of two standard threads.

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Something very different – these threads are from flax grown and spun in Sweden’s textile are in the 1960’s, and were recently rediscovered by an amazing supplier.  They are in the most gorgeous muted tones, and they feel amazing!  I have to admit I haven’t actually stitched with these yet!  I bought them quite a while ago, and have been saving them for a special project…….which hasn’t come along yet!  I will use them eventually, and at the moment, I just like to open the box occasionally and stroke them!  If you have any suggestions on what to use these on, I would love to hear!

The next two threads are my absolute favourites!  They are both a bit more expensive, but if you have a really special project, they are totally worth it!

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Chameleon threads are hand dyed in Africa, in a fantastic range of colours.  They come in individual colours, as well as variegated skeins.  They are a perle thread – which basically means a single, twisted thread.  I could honestly talk about these threads for hours, and I regularly spend far too much time on the internet looking at the different shades! 

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These are very special!   I attended the Knitting and Stitching Show at Harrogate last year, and came across a stall selling these amazing threads.  They are hand wound pure silk twists.  The thread is roughly the thickness of two standard threads, and I cannot accurately describe the richness of the tones.  You don’t get very much on the tube, so they do work out quite a bit more expensive than most threads – but they are worth every penny!  I would only use these on small designs, where the quality of the thread really shines through.  They stitch beautifully.  Because they are pure silk, they are very smooth, and an absolute delight!

I hope you have enjoyed these run through of threads!  This really is only a small example of the threads that are available.  My best advice if just to try out different threads until you find what you like to work with – try out an individual skein first, so that if you don’t like it, you haven’t wasted too much money (I learned this the hard way!)

Pair different threads together and see what happens!  There are no rules! Just have fun with it!

Hugs

Zoe

Course Review, Events, Inspiration, Uncategorized

2018 Round Up!

Happy New Year!

I would like to wish you all the very best of wishes for 2019 – may you all be happy, healthy, wealthy and wise in 2019!

The beginning of a new year is the time when I like to do a little reminiscing of the previous years – the highs, the lows, and everything in-between.

2018 was, on the whole, a good year for me.   I was able to combine my love of crafting, with learning new skills and techniques, and put them to (hopefully) good use!

To finish off this year of blog posts, I thought I would have a little run through of my favourite projects of the year!

1 & 2.  Early in the year I started to combine my love of embroidery with my love of beads – the first project I did was this pretty beaded butterfly.  A range of insects and creatures followed, including the little bee!

3. While learning bead embroidery techniques, I came across Shibori ribbon. This beautiful hand dyed ribbon used in jewellery creates the most beautiful effect – This was my first necklace, and I was super pleased when one of my gorgeous friends purchased it, and it went winging its way to the US.

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4 & 5.     In my Facebook group, I have a challenge post whereby group members can challenge me to design a hoop based on a theme of their choice – My two favourites this year have been the Northern Lights, and Sunset.

6. Summer saw my friend’s daughter getting married, and I was super proud to stitch this hoop to commemorate the big day. I am thinking of offering similar as a commission next year!

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7. More experimentation!   This time with beading!  I taught myself to do Peyote stitch beading, and had sooooo much fun learning how to make these little tube pendants.

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8 & 9.     This is perhaps my most favourite hoop I have ever made.  I love this fox design.  It is so pretty, and intricate.  I really wanted to push myself to work on a more detailed design, and I think I achieved it with this.  I followed this up with a whitework version!  I love how the same pattern looks so completely different just be taking away the colour.

10. If you follow my Facebook page, you will already be aware of my love of thread! I am a compulsive thread buyer, and I am not ashamed!  Hand dyed threads are my weakness – they come in the most beautiful colours, and variations, and I think the seahorse sets these off beautifully.

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11. October & November saw me making forays into the world of chainmaille! This came about following discussions in my Anglo Saxon history nightclass (have I mentioned I’m a bit of a geek!)  The first weave I learnt was Byzantine, which is shown beautifully in this copper bracelet

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12 & 13. Never satisfied with keeping things simple, I experimented a little more with the chainmaille after I came across these fabulous coloured rings!  One of my beautiful friends promptly named the first colour range unicorn, and I absolutely could not resist making a rainbow version.

14. I have been collecting (or hoarding) lampwork glass beads for literally years now! I finally decided it was about time I got to using some!  This rainbow bead came from the fabulous Sally Sutherland, and I think it paired perfectly with the Swarovski sparkles!

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15. One of the new ranges I will be working on in 2019 is a botanical range – this simple, elegant leaf design is the first in the range. I envisage this on the wall in a beautiful conservatory!

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16. My last hoop of 2018! I thought it was very fitting to end on a unicorn!  Again, this is a much more detailed design, stitched with gorgeous threads I purchased at the Knitting and Stitching show in Harrogate.

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So there we have it!  A few of my favourite makes of 2018.  Throughout the year I was privileged enough to work on a number of commission pieces for people, and I attended some fantastic classes, which have really helped to expand my skills, and my confidence.  I am looking forward to more in 2019! 

I will be releasing some new embroidery hoop ranges, which I am very excited about, I am working on some different mixed media makes, and I am expanding my jewellery range to include more sterling silver pieces, and some new chainmaille designs.  Just because I love you, here are a couple of peeks!

Well, if you made it to the end of this looooooong post – thank you!

Here’s to a fabulous 2019 – see you all soon!

Zoe x