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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Gumnut Yarns: Hand-dyed Embroidery Threads from Australia


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Gumnut Yarns makes a thread called Poppies, which is a wool / silk blend, and I had the occasion to use the thread while I was working on the crewel smalls from Tristan Brooks Designs. I liked the thread a lot! I knew Gumnut Yarns came in a range of thread types, but I wasn’t familiar with them, so I dropped the company a line, and was able to procure through their US distributor, Custom House of Needlearts, a sample skein of each type of embroidery thread they produce. So let’s look at the threads up close…

I haven’t had a chance to stitch with any of the Gumnut Yarns threads, aside from Poppies, and although I know the true test of an embroidery thread is how well it stitches, I also tend to judge threads by their look and feel when they’re skeined up. Don’t you? If you walk into your local needlework shop and pick up a thread you’re unfamiliar with, and it doesn’t pass your first scrutiny, do you buy it? I don’t, usually. The only exception would be when a thread has had such rave reviews that I have to try it out myself, regardless of what it may look like to me when I first encounter it in a shop.

So the first thing I do whenever I examine a thread for hand embroidery is look at it and feel it. I examine the structure of the thread, including the twist, the feel of the thread between my fingers, the weight of the skein, and generally the end of the thread, if I can find a loose end.

While it’s kind of hard to do the “feel” test when viewing a thread online, the visual says a lot, so here are Gumnut Yarns embroidery threads, close up.

Gumnut Yarns Hand-Dyed Embroidery Threads

Presently, Gumnut produces six types of thread. From left to right in the photo above they are: Tulips, which is mohair; Blossoms, which is crewel wool; Daisies, which is a fine wool (suitable for crewel as well – finer than Blossoms); Poppies, a 50/50 silk/wool blend; Buds, a perle silk; and Stars, a stranded silk. At one time, Gumnut also produced variegated shades of many of the above threads, but these have been discontinued.

Gumnut Yarns Hand-Dyed Embroidery Threads

Blossoms and Daisies are 100% wool crewel threads. Blossoms is the larger of the two, while Daisies is a fine weight crewel wool.

Gumnut Yarns Hand-Dyed Embroidery Threads

You can see the the Blossoms on the left is a fatter looking thread compared to the Daisies on the right. They are both nice wool threads – soft, not scratchy – with the characteristics of wool: a slight sheen or “sparkle” from the wool fibers, a bit of stretchy “boing” that seems to go along with most crewel wools, and the little curly, hairy shards that fluff out from the twist – kind of like the “nap” of the thread. Both are threads that feel nice – they aren’t dry and scratchy, they have a bit of body and some weight, but aren’t heavy.

Gumnut Yarns Hand-Dyed Embroidery Threads

Tulips is the mohair thread, suitable for crewel work as well. Mohair is different from wool – it is made from Angora goat’s hair – and it is not as curly as wool, so you can see in the close-up that the fibers that stick out from the actual thread are longer and straighter. It’s a soft thread and feels very nice when pulled through the fingers. The twist on the mohair thread is a bit looser and longer than the twist on the wools.

Gumnut Yarns Hand-Dyed Embroidery Threads

You can get kind of a sense of the difference between the mohair and the wools here – the mohair, again, has a longer twist, and it also has more of a sheen to it than the wool threads do.

Gumnut Yarns Hand-Dyed Embroidery Threads

Poppies is the 50/50 wool/silk blend from Gumnut Yarns. It’s on the left in the photo above, next to Daisies, the fine wool. Right off the bat, you can see a noticeable difference: Poppies has a closer, more discernible twist, and it has much more sheen to it. It also does not sport the same amount of fuzzy sprays that come off the wool.

Gumnut Yarns Hand-Dyed Embroidery Threads

This photo illustrates the sheen a bit better. You can also tell that the Poppies on the left is not as springy – it’s definitely a smoother looking thread, thanks to the silk content.

Gumnut Yarns Hand-Dyed Embroidery Threads

And finally, the silk: the blue is Buds, a perle silk, about the size, I’d say, of a #8 cotton perle (but much softer). The green is Stars, and it is a stranded silk, grouped in six strands which can be used individually for fine embroidery. I really like the look of both of these threads and am eager to stitch with them. (What can I say? I’m a bit of a sucker for silk!). The twist on the Stars individual strands looks very nice and tiny, a little tight, but not too tight. It looks like it would make a nice thread for needlepainting.

If you’d like to read more about these threads, visit the Gumnut Yarns website. You can view the shades available for each kind of thread (lots of beautiful shades!) and read more about each individual thread. They also have a gallery that’s worth looking at (check out Maggie the Cat!). You can also find out who stocks the threads in various countries.

I plan to stitch a bit with each of the threads as soon as I have the opportunity, so I’ll probably have more to say about them then! So far, I like what I see!

Speaking of threads, make sure you tune in on Monday – I’m giving away a wonderful collection of Renaissance Dyeing wool threads (the whole Elizabethan range!) So don’t miss that!

Have a terrific weekend!


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(15) Comments

  1. Mary,
    That was a very nice preview of the Gumnut yarns. Thanks for all the wonderful insight into various threads. For a novice embroiderer like me, your blog has tons of info. Keep up the good work!

  2. Hi Mary,
    Thanks for the information and fab pictures of the Gumnut threads. I haven't tried any of them yet but I loved working with the silk/wool yarn from Caron, Impressions, on my latest project.Do you have any idea of how the two different silk/wool threads compare?
    And…OH RATS! I just ordered the Elizabethan colors from Renaissance in France – I should have waited for your give-a-way! Their customer service is great and I'm happy to support them. Back to stitching…! I love weekends!

  3. G'day there Mary,

    Really appreciate all that info. Thank you.

    Maggie the Cat is a beauty. Kinda find myself wanting to sidestep! I'm sure I saw that tail wave. I like the Cat with attitude too. "So…I'm on your favourite flower pot. Whatcha gonna do about it eh?"

    In the 'What's New' section there is a larger crewel embroidery project shown from Inspirations #62. It uses mostly Gumnut yarns and is very appealing.

    I also like the new Asparagus green colours added to the range.

    I really enjoy going into all these sites you mention. Thanks again.

    Bye now, Kath.

  4. Hi Mary–I LOVE the Gumnut threads. I think they stitch up wonderfully and have fabulous color ranges. I have many of the now discontinued variegated threads, and am being very discerning about when/where to use them. Thanks for the overview!

    Carol S.

  5. Thanks for the review of the Gamnut threads. It is fascinating to read about textures and yes I also buy yarns based on my first impressions…. not that we get a huge variety in India

  6. I do like the Gumnuts range of embroidery threads. You don't see them too much in the US, and the few times I have seen them at an LNS the prices were somewhat high. I usually order them from Australia when I have soemthing I am working on that calls for them. Anywho, thanks for the review, Mary. Would like to see more US designers using them.

  7. Hi Mary,
    Thanks for the great photos of the different yarns. I haven't been able to try any of them yet but I love the silk/wool thread from Caron – Impressions. I used it on the piece I just finished and it was lovely to stitch with.

    I'd like to see a comparison of the two silk/wool yarns if you have both and have the time to do that. Neither one is easy to get here in Germany so the more information I have before I order the better!

    I just sent away for the Renaissance Elizabethan wool from France ( it IS easy to get in Germany!) Rats! Had I known about the give-a-way I would have tested my luck.

    Back to stitching…I love weekends!

  8. I’m working on a felted wool penny quilt. I found some hand dyed wool thread last year at Ohio’s wonderful quilt show in Columbus but I’ve run out. I’m not sure where to find enough varigated…hues of blues and reds. Do you have such a thing…my quilt is waiting. Thank you.

  9. Anyone know where I can purchase Gumnut yarns at in the U.S? So far I am not finding any suppliers and I’m in the middle of a project.

  10. I am currently working on “Leaf Collage” designed by Terri Dryden. Gumnuts Stars and Buds in various colors were included in the kit. I am really enjoying the above threads, they handle nicely, cover well and feel great in your hand as you work. I am spoiled now and would include these two thread types in many of my future projects. Thanks for the excellent article and sources for these fine threads.

  11. Hi Mary,

    I kitted up a needlepoint project about 3 years ago with Gumnut ‘stars’ but didn’t really start stitching until yesterday. All I can say is – wow! I am in love with this thread! Now I want to use it for other projects.

    Just wondering if you have tried the ‘stars’ and what your thoughts are. The feel of this thread is so silky and soft.

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