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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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Access Commodities, Linen Twill and some Wool!

 

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.

Tapestry Wool and Linen Twill from Access Commodities

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….

Tapestry Wool and Linen Twill from Access Commodities

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.

Tapestry Wool and Linen Twill from Access Commodities

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.

Tapestry Wool and Linen Twill from Access Commodities

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.

Tapestry Wool and Linen Twill from Access Commodities

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?

 
 

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(4) Comments

  1. Ooo, another crewl yarn to check out. My LNS does do business with Access, so hopefully they'll be able to order me some. It looks very nice. Still, wish DMC hadn't decided to take away Medici, will always mourn that decision.

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  2. Thank you so much for mentioning the Hardwick Manor hoops. I ordered three of them. Two have arrived and I can't even believe the difference in the "cheapie" hoops and these hoops. Not all that expensive and the quality is soooooo different. Thank you so very much for this site. You help more than you know.
    Alice McClelland

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  3. Mary,
    You comment that Legacy Linen is prohibitively expensive. For the person who wants nice results and is restricted by a fixed budget, is there another brand of linen that you can endorse? I know there is a huge difference in fabrics. Thanks,
    Susan in OK

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    1. Hi, Susan – Here’s the thing: it’s prohibitively expensive depending on the size of your project. If you’re working a 12″ square pillow, the linen is not “that” expensive, when considering the end result and the time you’ll be putting into it. So I should probably qualify that “prohibitively” expensive really depends on the project you’re working. An $20 cut of the fabric will probably provide you with enough to do most needlework projects, unless you’re working on something really, really big.

      There are other quality linens that are less expensive that work as a terrific ground fabric for most projects. Alba Maxima (it’s available through Hedgehog Handworks) is my general, go-to linen for good projects. It will work for just about any type of surface embroidery, whitework, fine counted work, crewel work, etc. It now comes in white-white (which is the Alba Maxima linen) or Old White – which is a kind of creamy color of the same linen. It’s not as expensive as the linen twill mentioned in the article above, but it is a good all-purpose ground fabric for fine embroidery projects.

      Are you looking for something for a particular type of project? Knowing the type of project might help me to make some other recommendations.

      I hope that helps a little bit! Let me know if I can help you further!

      ~MC

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