Monday, 31 January 2011

Threadfest Part 1 - Plain Cottons

I got the idea for a 'threadfest' series of posts (and the others that will follow) partly from Cynthia's recent question about the materials I'm using on my narrowboat counted cross stitch piece. I thought I'd do a bit of a series on my thread collections. The other parts of the inspiration came from Mary Corbet's showcasing one or two of her thread collections and the fact that I had a good look through one of my workboxes and that's usually inspiration enough!! =)

So, let's start with the simple threads. I've always used Anchor threads, rather than DMC, although as you'll see later on in this series, I do have some of the more specialised products from DMC such as linens and metallics. Why did I choose Anchor? It was mostly a case of 'carry on with what you start with'. When my mum gave me a mixed bag of old embroidery threads, they were Anchor branded. Later on I found out that, like my marriage, Anchor is an Anglo-German co-operation, being manufactured close to where DH grew up, so that was a nice thought too. So, where there's a choice, I go for Anchor by habit now, although there are some things and shades where I have to buy a DMC product.

This is the deep, central section of my cantilever 'wooden' workbox. Here you can see several ziplock type bags holding the entire collection of Anchor stranded cottons (except those which are 'out on location', i.e. in use on my current WIPs). They are stored in strict colour number order so I can locate them easily. I also own a thread sample type colour chart, so I use that when I need to find a specific shade rather than getting all the bags out!

The three bags at the rear of the box (seen here on the left, owing to the orientation of the photo) hold the complete collection of Anchor Coton a Broder, (amusingly mislabelled as 'Border Cotton' in Leeds Hobbycraft!!). I like this thread, it's a good guage and is easy to work with. The only down side is the limited collection of colours. For some reason, Anchor seem to select greens and blues the same way a small child might when they're only going to offer a limited selection - a spectrum of the brightest and, often, most unuseful in natural studies shades (see shades in next photo). That probably wasn't a very grammatical sentence, but perhaps I can save it to parse on my language blog sometime..!!!

Moving on to the pearl cottons and we also need to move to my other workbox, one of those bright blue things with 6 trays in it!

Here you can see the trays containing my Anchor no 5 pearl cotton skeins and the overflow of the no. 8 and no. 12 supply, the main collection of which is shown below in the bottom drawer of the first workbox. There are some variegated skeins and balls here that I used to use quite a bit in working small hardanger pieces for cards, but don't really stitch with so much now. Frankly, although variegated and multi-coloured threads look great, they have fairly limited usage and the plain, solid colours are the best.

I really enjoy working with pearl cotton no 12 too, although I have the same colour selection complaint as with the coton a broder. Neither range has a decent selection of browns and greys and there is no yellow in pearl cotton 12 in either the Anchor or the DMC collections!=( I love yellow too!

Next time we'll look at the rayons and silks....

Cynthia: The fabric is 28ct antique white Jobelan evenweave.

Carol R: The kimono card is made by sticking a kimono shaped golden outline sticker to a piece of fancy paper, cutting around it, then glueing it to a plain card and trimming up with matching outline stickers. If you need more info, feel free to ask.


Cynthia Gilbreth said...

Thanks for answering! I am surprised by the size of the fabric, I thought it looked much smaller. But then, as the veteran of one and only one cross stitch project, what would I know? I'm looking forward to seeing your silks.

Rachel said...

Gosh, and I thought I had a lot of threads!

I find Anchor have slightly clearer colours than DMC, which always seem to have a greyish cast to them, but I have the same complaint about the possible shades available. There's never quite what you're looking for, is there!

Sarah Homfray said...

My Hobbycraft was selling 'bungle beads' which amused me somewhat. Bugle I have used, bungle I have not....