The Angels Nook

High quality Cross Stitch, Needlepoint, Needlework Kits, Rubber Stamps, Charts, Patterns and More Crafts in a variety of designs

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Thread Talk

Stranded cotton floss is most commonly used for cross stitch, but silk, rayon, specialty, or metallic threads can also be experimented with for varying effects.

Cotton floss - Cotton floss is the most versatile thread to use for cross stitch. It is available in a wide range of colors and consists of six loosely twisted strands of mercerized cotton. A cut length of floss can be split into different weights to suit different fabric counts. As a general rule, use two strands for stitching on 14 count Aida fabric or over two threads on 28 count evenweave fabric, and three strands for stitching on 11 count Aida fabric. Use floss in 15-18 inch lengths to avoid tangling and for ease of use.

Rayon and Silk floss - Floss is also made from rayon or pure silk. Both types are slightly more expensive but they have a great sheen and the colors are vibrant. When using rayon or silk floss, cut a shorter length than usual and choose a tapestry needle with a latge enough eye to accommodate the thread comfortably, otherwise it will rub and fray each time you pull the needle through the fabric.

Specialty threads - Over-dyed and hand-painted floss, often known as specialty threads, offer a wide range of color mixtures and effects, depending on the manufacturer. Several different shades or colors are applied to the thread at fixed intervals so that they blend into each other. These threads are more expensive than cotton floss in solid colors so should be used in small amounts to add an extra special dash of color to a design.

Metallic threads - Like specialty threads, metallic threads can be used to add accents of color and sparkle to a design. They are available in metallic, pearlized, and flourescent finishes and in varying weights, so choose one to suit the count of fabric you are using. Fine braid No. 4 works well on 14 count Aida and 28 count evenweave fabric.

Experiment with all the above threads and have fun adding special touches to all your needlework.