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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Three Types of Silk for Hand Embroidery


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Kreinik is an embroidery thread company here in the US that’s been around since the 1970’s. It’s a family run business that has become very well known in the embroidery world – I’ve never been in a needlework shop or the needlework section of a craft, sewing, or hobby store that didn’t have some kind of Kreinik thread available for purchase. While they are probably best known for their different metallic cords and blending filaments (that’s just a guess…), they also manufacture some beautiful threads. I want to show you three of their silks and tell you a little bit about them.

Silk Serica, Silk Bella, and Silk Mori by Kreinik are all 100% silk threads for hand embroidery. The first two threads – Silk Serica and Silk Bella – are filament silks, while Silk Mori is a spun silk.

The difference between filament and spun silk is found in the silk fibers that are used for manufacturing the thread, and how the threads are manufactured. Filament silk is spun straight off the cocoon in long lengths. It is a very high sheen thread and quite strong. Spun silk is made from the “left-overs” after the cocoon has been unraveled. The silk is spun much like wool or cotton, in small pieces that, through the spinning process, work into a long strand. Spun silk has a nice lustre to it – it is soft, and generally it is “stranded” – that is, it’s put up in a certain number of strands per thread off the skein (like DMC or Anchor cotton, which are stranded cottons).

Kreinik Silk Embroidery Threads

Silk Serica is a 3-ply filament silk. It works well on 18-ct canvas, for good coverage with tent stitch. It’s also a beautiful thread for techniques such as Hardanger, where it makes very nice Kloster blocks.

Kreinik Silk Embroidery Threads

It can be used in any application in which you would use a silk buttonhole twist, but, from what I can see, the Serica is a looser twisted thread. Because it is looser, you can actually separate the plies (carefully), to use in satin stitching and so forth. When separated, the three ply thread becomes even more “shiny,” and any waves that are the result of being twisted can be smoothed out by slightly dampening the thread.

Silk Serica comes in 142 colors that match Silk Mori.

Kreinik Silk Embroidery Threads

Silk Bella (the second row of spools) is also a 3-ply filament silk, but it is much finer than Silk Serica. Unlike Silk Serica, it can’t be separated into individual plies.

Kreinik Silk Embroidery Threads

This fine thread is perfect for any application where tiny detailing is desired. It works well on high count fabrics for stitching over one thread, in counted work. It’s great for blackwork, and can be used well in needle lace and pulled thread techniques.

Silk Bella comes in 46 colors.

Kreinik Silk Embroidery Threads

This little picture is a sample given in the Kreinik brochure. The Kloster blocks (those are the heavier white stitching) are worked in Silk Serica. The woven bars and the tiny filler stitch in the center are worked in Silk Bella. The leaves on the outside are worked in Silk Mori.

Kreinik Silk Embroidery Threads

Silk Mori (the pull skeins in the last row) is a typical stranded silk, used in the same applications you’d use stranded cotton. It’s a six-strand spun silk, and, because it is silk, it has a higher lustre than cotton, and that lustre will last indefinitely. (Mercerized cotton tends to lose its sheen over the years…) Silk Mori comes in 142 colors, like Silk Serica.

Kreinik Silk Embroidery Threads

Another little sample here from the Kreinik brochure helps demonstrate the differences in these three silks.

The color selection for these silks is really nice, and I’m eager to stitch with them. I’ve stitched with Silk Mori, but haven’t personally done any embroidery with the Silk Serica or the Silk Bella. I hope to soon! You can find color charts for these silks available on Kreinik’s website.

To help you get a better idea of the threads, I’ll write up a comparison between them and other similar threads, so you can see these threads in relation to more familiar needlework threads. In the meantime, though, if you’re looking for some beautiful silks to try out, you might want to give these a look! I love the feel of them, and I think they’re going to be very nice for stitching.

Have you used any of these Kreinik silks? Any tips? Any information? Let us know!


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(14) Comments

  1. Hi Mary,
    Not really Krenik silks in this context. But some needlework resources.
    I live in Europe, and many times I was frustrated that I had to shop from US. And lots of shock came for the first time, when I had to pay lot for shipping, customs (VAT and import tax), and still paying more for the items, compared to the European prices.

    After long search, I have my own favourite shops now in Europe, where I'm free of the customs. I liked to share this with you, so also other fellow readers get to know.
    As an example, I now get Soie d' Alger for approximately 2.7 USD per 5 meter.
    The Belfast or Edinburgh Linen for approximately 50 USD per meter.
    And, after-all low shipping cost.

    Here I have them listed:

    France – Metal Threads – http://www.brodely.com/index.php?language=en
    They don't sell the real gold, but the glitter is as comparable to the real one.

    France – Silk Threads – http://www.atelier196.com/
    A nice lady, Fati runs this shop. The rates are too good. 8 meter skein of Soie d' Alger costs 3.40 €, and if you buy 10 skeins, it costs 30 €.
    When you buy 10, then the price when compared to US stores for 5 meter:
    Atelier: ~2.7 USD
    Other US stores: 3.6 USD minimum

    You can also buy Au ver a' Soie silk threads, and other threads here, though its not listed in the website. You simply have to mail her.

    Germany – Fabrics – http://www.handarbeitshaus.de/stoff_wed_leinenfein.html
    Good to buy Linen, and some accessories too. Fabrics – good cost-wise.

    Germany – Silk and Metal Threads – http://www.tentakulum.de/
    Also a good place for Au ver a' Soie. They also have good metal threads, ribbon floss, wool, cotton.

    UK – Silk Threads – http://www.devereyarns.co.uk/
    They carry the filament silk. I haven't tried this. I have my order placed and shippment made. Just curious to try this.

    UK – Flat silk/Japanese silk and tools – http://www.midori-embroidery.com/
    From what I see, it resembles JEC. Again the order placed, and shippment made. Curiously awaiting to try this.

    JEC – thread made of 12 suga; Color card has to be purchased for huge price; Only 60 meter spool available
    Midori – thread made of 16 suga; Color card optional. Color selection available online; Can choose between 30/60/500 meters.

    Both of them carry colorful metallics, real or imitation gold, and all other tools and accessories.
    Midori is little bit less in cost, provided the silk should be on equal standard.

    UK – Twisted Silk – http://www.thesilkmill.com/

    UK – Flat Silk – http://www.fritillary.co.uk/

    UK – Needlework shop – http://www.sewandso.co.uk/index.html
    You can find most accessories, threads, fabrics here. Especially the fabric collection for their competitive price is good.

    I will update on the quality of silks which I haven't tried before, when the items are there.
    Mean-while I don't know if you have given the Devere yarns, or Midori a try.

    1. Dear Madam, Im Roshita from Sri Lanka. I always check your website and I learn and i like hand embroidered. Thanking you is very useful for me your website Needle’n Thread. I want to know This silk thread can we buy from Sri Lanka? Please send me your kind reply.

      Thankig you.


  2. Thanks for this review/lesson on the Kreinik silks. They all look so yummy, beautiful (and your photography is great, as usual.) I expect to see some in the next giveaway, LOL!

  3. I recently tried Silk Mori. I love the colors that it comes in. The only difference that I've noticed with the Silk Mori vs. Au Ver a Soie is that the Kreinik silk seems to untwist a little bit as I stitch.

    Do you know how the Silk Bella compares to YLI silk sewing machine thread? I'm looking for a good silk to use for couching in stumpwork.


  4. Thank you Mary for another interesting and helpful post. Thanks also to "anonymous" for the info. re uk websites – I too have been stung by a big import tax bill on some fabric I bought from US.
    On a different topic, when I go to "Lesson 2" (long and short stitch) I can't access the video tutorials. I just get blank boxes. Can you help?

  5. Thanks, all, for the comments – and especially the excellent info on European needlework supply sources. Very Good Information!

    Hi, Alice – regarding the videos, they are working on this end. Are you able to view other YouTube videos on your computer? You might want to visit the YouTube help page to see if it's a playback issue on your computer. Do you have the required software, etc…


  6. I recently purchased a box of their silk mori thread. I'm going to use it on a project for me. Thanks for the info on the thread. Now I really can't wait to get started on my project.

  7. I am curious as to why you are changing over to Kreinik. I had thought you really liked Au Vera Soie. Quality, pricing,availibility or do you think it just works better? I am going to keep my fingers crossed on that giveaway!

  8. Ah, that'll teach me not to keep clicking on "install later" and then never getting round to it. Excellent tutorials, many thanks

  9. As I live in France and am just beginning to embroider, the post from Anonymous in Europe was extremely helpful on where to find silk floss. I would appreciate having more sources for France of embroidery materials and floss.

  10. Wow, Bridie – that's a huge selection in the catalog! Thanks for posting that link. Looks like a great resource for those living in the UK!


  11. Thanks for the info Mary I make wee notes about all the threads you comment on for when I progress.
    I live in the UK and found "Janice Williams" who has great range of goldwork items plus lots of other stuff.
    Thanks to anonymous for the uk sites as my local craft shop has very little and its expensive . I`m waiting for my thread now (from Ebay) to get stuck in to your tutorials ,can`t wait and thank you ever so much Mary for sharing your time and skills with us, you are indeed very generous

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