If you’ve been into needlework in the US for a while, and if you enjoy quality threads, fabrics, and tools, then you probably have heard of Access Commodities, which is an import and manufacturing business that distributes different types of needlework supplies here in the United States. Access Commodities, for example, brings us the Au Ver a Soie line of threads, Trebizond, Gilt Sylke Twist, Hardwicke Manor Hoops, Legacy Linen, and a variety of other fine needlework products. Here are two new-to-me products from Access Commodities that I hope will be showing up in shops soon: a new linen twill from Legacy and a tapestry wool, perfect for fine crewel work.
We’ll start with the tapestry wool. Appleton wool is perhaps the most well-known of the wool threads used for surface work, and they rightly deserve their good reputation – they have an excellent color range, are colorfast, and are reasonably priced. But Appleton wool is a bit rougher and thicker than some of the newer wools showing up on the market. Take, for example, the Gentle Art Simply Wool that I used on a lettering tutorials recently – this is a tapestry wool, with strands that are finer than Appleton wool. However, it comes in a very limited color range, and is expensive for the quantity on each card.
The tapestry wool we’re looking at today is called Fine D’Aubusson, made for Au Ver a Soie by la Route de la Laine (their website is currently under construction). It is made in France of pure wool, and it is colorfast, with a fine medium-tight twist.
I am not certain what the color range is on these threads. I am hoping that they will be available in a broader range of colors than the Gentle Art Simply Wool threads. One thing I do know by seeing these skeins is that they do, at least, come in shades of colors – the greens and the mauves make that clear. Not that color number is a necessary indication of a broad range of colors, the color numbers (2452, 2454, etc.) make me hopeful that there are many shades available. We’ll see….
The threads are wound in an 8 meter hank, but there are actually 32 meters of thread here, because the strands are bundled in fours.
For most crewel work, you would use one of these four strands. The strands separate easily from the bundle of four – they aren’t twisted together, just kind of loosely grouped.
In the background of the photo above, you can see the new linen twill from Legacy Linen. I generally think of linen twill has a heavier weight fabric, but this particular twill is rather light and crisp. Legacy usually doesn’t use sizing in their linen, so I’m pretty sure that the character of this twill is somewhat crisp – I’ll have to rinse and dry the piece I have to test it out a bit. In any case, it is certainly a lighter weight twill, very nice for more delicate crewel work. And the color is nice, too – it’s not a bright white, nor is it the more commonly seen “natural” color. It’s more of a “fresh milk” color – kind of creamy and off-white.
Legacy linen has long been my favorite linen, but it is prohibitively expensive, so I only use it for special projects. Whenever you’re looking for the Best linen to stitch on, look for Legacy! You’ll find it in needlework shops that carry other supplies from Access Commodities, and if the shop doesn’t normally carry it, you can usually ask them to special order a length for you (if they already carry goods from Access Commodities).
You can see what kind of products Access Commodities distributes by visiting their home page, and you can keep up with their new supplies by visiting the Access Commodities blog, which has some really archived articles on it and is worth a good browsing session.
As soon as I find out a little more about the wool tapestry thread, I’ll fill you in.
My plan is to sketch up a little design on this twill and test the threads – so, as soon as I have time, I’ll let you know how it stitches up! Have you seen this particular wool in shops or used it for your own stitching? If so, I’d love to hear about it! If you regularly use wool, what’s your favorite brand and why? Can you make any recommendations for those of us who are looking for a nice wool embroidery thread?