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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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Crewel, and Pearsall’s, and Stuff

 

Lately, I’ve received several e-mails asking for a source for Pearsall’s silk in the US. I like this question, because it requires me to refer people to a really nice website…

In case you haven’t visited the Tristan Brook’s Designs website lately, you might want to stop in! You’re in a for a treat – even if you’re just stopping in to look at a pretty website.

Tristan Brooks Designs: source for Pearsall's Silk

As far as I know, Tristan Brooks Designs is one of the few sources for Pearsall’s silk in the US.

I like Pearsall’s silk. It reminds me of the silk I see on ecclesiastical embroidery pieces from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. In fact, right now, I’m designing a new ecclesiastical piece that I’m supposed to start in earnest on over the Christmas break, and I’m debating whether or not the use Pearsall’s. The difficulty: it’s somewhat expensive, compared to other silks out there! We’ll see what happens when I get to the thread selection stage!

I like the way threads are arranged on the Tristan Brooks website, by the way – the threads are grouped in color family.

Tristan Brooks Designs: source for Pearsall's Silk

I prefer this type of clear grouping of ALL blues, ALL reds, ALL browns, ALL greens, etc – rather than having to sift through all the colors to find the different groups of blues, reds, browns, etc. (For example, the latter scenario is pretty much how you have to shop for Eterna floss).

Of course, a website like Tristan Brooks Designs offers more than just thread. Oh boy. Does it ever.

Tristan Brooks Designs: source for Pearsall's Silk

You’ll find a gorgeous selection of crewel embroidery kits on the website! And I love these little ones – they’re called “smalls”, and they’re about 3″ x 3″ – perfect to practice crewel embroidery, but not big enough to be intimidating! And the designs are Really Pretty. They include Heathway merino wool thread and Gumnuts poppies. So if you’ve wanted to try both of those threads, this would be a good way to do it!

Some other Stuff worth perusing at Tristan Brooks Designs: they have Legacy Linen Twill for all your special crewel work projects. They also have a great little tools section, where you’ll find slate frames, Evertite stretcher bars, good hoops, and twitchetts.

Twitchetts? What are twitchetts? Well, you’ll just have to look and see. (If you’re a nut about thread organization during projects, I think you might be interested in them!)

And that is Tristan Brooks Designs. It’s also the only source I know for Pearsall’s in the US – but if you know of another source, will you let me know?

Enjoy browsing!

Update 2017:

Pearsall’s is no longer being produced, due to the death of the master dyer a few years ago. If you’re looking for information on silk threads for embroidery, you can check out these articles:

Silk Hand Embroidery Thread 101: Getting Started with Silk

Silk Hand Embroidery Thread 101: Twisted Filament Silk

Silk Hand Embroidery Thread 101: Flat Silk

 
 

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(8) Comments

  1. Hi Mary!
    I am a beginner embroiderer and would like to know if the slate frames offered at Tristan's would be the best for me to work with. I plan on doing repair ecclesiastical as well as designing some new designs.
    Thanks so much for your site, it is so very helpful and informative.

    1
  2. Hi Mary!
    I am a beginner embroiderer and would like to know if the slate frames offered at Tristan's would be the best for me to work with. I plan on doing repair ecclesiastical as well as designing some new designs.
    Thanks so much for your site, it is so very helpful and informative.

    2
  3. Hi, NBW –

    The slate frames at Tristan Brooks Designs are typical slate frames – if you're used to working with a slate frame, they will work fine. A slate frame is pretty much a slate frame, wherever you get it. You might want to price shop a bit – the other "constant" source I know of that carries slate frames is Hedgehog Handworks, so you may want to compare prices with theirs, just in case one is less expensive than the other.

    I prefer a slate frame for more complex projects, especially goldwork, ecclesiastical work, and anything that will be set up for a while.

    Hope that helps!

    MC

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  4. Thankyou for introducing me to the site.
    I want to do some crewel work one day, and I definitely have to try out some Pearsalls.
    Those colour charts are just delicious!

    4
  5. I believe Shibori Dragon stocks Persall's silk in their yarn section. Unfortunately, I do not think they have pictures.
    shiboridragon.com
    There should be a place on the home page where you can click to go to their yarn store. The main page is for quilting materials.

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