Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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DMC Diamant – Winner Announced! (and more thread talk)


Thanks to one and all who left comments on the give-away for the complete set of DMC Diamant metallic embroidery threads!

Reading through your comments was fabulously enlightening. To hear how people stitch with metallic threads, what their thoughts are about metallic threads, how they overcome the frustrations of working with metallic embroidery threads… this was all good stuff to read!

If you happen to be a stitcher who wants advice on using metallics, read through the comments on the DMC Diamant give-away article. There’s a bunch of good info in there!

DMC Diamant metallic embroidery threads

And a big thank you, too, to Needle in a Haystack for providing the set of Diamant for the give-away!

You’ll find some additional information about Diamant in this April, 2013 newsletter from Needle in a Haystack. Cathe suggests that the black-gold Diamant does work well even when separated into single plies. Remember, the black-gold is a 2-ply thread meant to be non-divisible, but you can take it apart (I spoke about this in my original review of Diamant). She doesn’t recommend taking apart the 3-ply golds and silvers, though, as the threads are so fine that they don’t hold up as well.

If you’re keen on trying the Diamant, experiment a bit with the threads to see what you can do with them. There’s plenty of thread on each spool to do some fiddling about!

DMC Diamant Thread Winner

The winner – drawn randomly – of the set of threads is Maggie Egan, who had this to say about her own experiences with metallics:

I’d like to find a good metallic to use on embroidery. I’ve used the skeined DMC and I’ve used Kreinik but both experiences were so frustrating. I tried everything, using short strands, thread heaven, and even trying beeswax. Beeswax made a mess of it anyway. It dulls the thread, so what’s the point? If I am using metallics I want clean sparkle. I concluded that no matter what you do with metallics they are always more frustrating than they’re worth. If I want gold on my embroidery I use goldwork threads and couch them. I’d love to find a metallic that proves me wrong. I’m intrigued by these. And I agree with whoever left the comment saying there’s a fine balance when using metallics. Just a touch is fine but too much and it can really overpower a piece.

Congratulations, Maggie! Please contact me with your mailing address, and I’ll get those out to you as soon as possible!

Some Solutions for Working with Metallics

It seems that many stitchers find working with metallics frustrating. There different tricks you can employ to avoid major frustration when embroidering with metallics, and Sue Jones over at Tortoise Loft wrote up a blog post that focuses on easing the frustrations of working with not only metallics, but rayons as well. You might want to read her article, The Awkward Squad: Rayon and Synthetic Metallic Threads. It’s full of good information!

A little reminder: Metallics are not cotton floss. They are not silk. They have to be handled differently, and, while you may find them a little cranky to work with, remember that you are in control of the thread. Don’t let it control you! If it is making you angry and making your embroidery experience unpleasant, step away from it and go back when you are fresh. And then – well, at the risk of sounding violent! – attack the stuff and take control of it! If you handle all embroidery threads with kid gloves, you’ll forever be afraid of them. Just work the stuff and make it work for you.

Some points to help you:

1. Use a larger needle than you think you need. I like either chenille needles (long eyes, sharp tips) with metallics, or sharps or milliners (round eyes). Milliners are especially nice, because they have round eyes and the shaft is the same thickness as the eye, so they seem to pass through the fabric more easily.

2. Use short lengths of thread. Short, as in 16″ or fewer. Even shorter, if you must! There are some threads that I never cut more than 12″ long. I know it seems like a pain in the neck to have to change the thread more frequently, but it’s a lot less frustrating to change a good thread out for another good thread than to have to clean up the mess from a thread that has separated, bunched up, or knotted up on your work surface.

3. There are metallics, and there are metallics. Some threads are simply better than others. If you find yourself working with a metallic thread that just isn’t doing it for you, the problem may very well not be you at all, or your stitching techniques. It could very well be the thread. Try a different metallic thread!

Thanks again to Needle in a Haystack for sponsoring the give-away!

Hedgehog Handworks Needlework Supplies


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(6) Comments

  1. Dear Mary

    Thanks for the advice on how to use metallic threads I have only used them once when I first started embroidery a couple of years ago and before I discovered cotton and Soie thread and I didn’t like them for the same reasons as many people have wrote about that the thread is difficult to work with. But after your article on metallic thread perhaps I should try the thread again using daimant thread as these seem easier to work with. Congratulations to Maggie I hope you enjoy your prize and thanks Mary and Needle in a Haystack for the give-away.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  2. Thanks for all of the information on the metallic threads. When I first started using them, I found many of the metallic threads frustrating. But with continued effort, they are not bad now. It’s like you say, Mary. One needs to just do it!

    One little trick that seems to help for me at least is the angle of the needle as it goes in and out of the fabric. If the stitch goes in and out straight on – 90 degrees, and the thread is pulled through, using a laying tool, it really seems to help with issues of shredding and tangles.

    I also keep an eye on where my needle is on the thread. By shifting the position of the needle on the thread, it helps avoid a wear or shredding spot. If the thread starts to show wear, it’s time to stop before the real trouble begins, and start with a new piece of thread. At first, quite a lot of thread might be wasted, but in time, this helps the learning process, and one just figures it out so the starts and stops are not as frequent. It’s OK to “waste” some thread with frequent starts and stops while learning. It does get better with time. (And one can add to their collection of pretty threads in an “ortz” pile or jar!)

    I have learned to love the Krenik Japan Thread in the size 1 for couching gold threads. It is so fine and blends perfectly. I even like the Krenik size 5 and 7 Japan Threads when I don’t want or need to use the real expensive stuff, or when I need something very fine. It’s kind of unruly at first, but then after trying it for a while, it sort of settle in. Perhaps that unruliness comes from being wrapped on that tight little spool. Next time I use it, I’ll try unwinding and letting it “rest” a while before stitching to see if that helps get the kinks out.

    The only other thing I would like to try some day is the use of a Japanese needle for satin stitching the metallic threads….ah for the perfectly stocked tool kit some day…..

    Thanks as always, Mary, for helping us to over come our fears!

  3. G’day Mary,
    And congratulations Maggie. I like your comment. Do hope these are perfect for you, as am sure they will be.
    Thanks Mary for the tips article today.
    Cheers, Kath.

  4. Aloha Mary,
    Congrats to Maggie. I hope she has fun with them.

    Did/has anyone ever heard of the “Pace Needle” for metallic thread ?
    I would love to know.

  5. Thank you Mary for mentioning my blog post. So many visitors came to look yesterday – I was just as excited as a kid at Christmas!
    Congratulations to Maggie, the lucky winner of the threads. I’m sure she’ll have fun experimenting with them.

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