I must reiterate everything I said the other day about the generosity of needleworkers! Yesterday, I was thrilled and speechless when I emptied my mailbox. There, inside, was a package all the way from Portugal, from Méri, of Agulhas da Méri fame. Inside the package – some gorgeous threads and a piece of Portuguese linen, woven at the textile mills of northern Portugal.
I just have to show you pictures of this thread and the fabric. Pictures won’t do the linen justice, or the threads, for that matter.
First, the threads. There are two kinds of silk here – one is still on the market and available in Portugal.
It comes in very long skeins, and the thread is beautiful – it’s a fine twisted silk, non-divisible. The sheen is hard to capture in a picture…
…but a close up serves to show the nice twist in the thread.
I can’t wait to give these threads a try! I haven’t seen anything like them here in the States. Buttonhole silk is usually a bit fatter and more tightly twisted. And stranded silk doesn’t have this kind of sheen.
Now, these other threads have captivated me! This is a soft, thick, luxurious silk, no longer sold, and Méri estimates that these skeins are from the beginning of the 1900’s, as they were passed down through family. They are typical of the embroidery from Castelo Branco in Portugal. They are unbelievable threads!
You can see that the thread has a very soft twist to it. Each strand is rather thick – I’d say at least as thick as a #3 pearl cotton, though not twisted tightly like pearl cotton.
To explain the sheen – and even to photograph it well (for me, anyway!) is almost impossible. How can I get across the idea of the sumptuous “fire” of these threads? They’re incredible! I would imagine that they will make beautiful satin stitching, if worked in short lengths. I’m eager as well to try them with long and short stitch and with stem stitch.
And finally, the linen – a beautiful, durable, medium-weight linen with a nice hand, and a good, practically even weave. It looks like it will be a perfect linen for drawn thread work. I also think it would be perfect for crewel work or Jacobean embroidery in wools. It’s really nice stuff! Méri said this linen is sold as what we call “seconds” – that is, not suitable for shops or exports, but still available at the source. She buys it by weight. I can’t imagine that this is “second quality” linen. It’s pretty nice!
Méri, how can I thank you for the wonderful package?! I’ll try to do the supplies justice! Thank you so much for your generous gift!