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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On Silk Threads and Blogging


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Silk Embroidery Threads and Blogging don’t seem to have much in common, do they? Well, to me, they do. I’m nearly addicted to silk embroidery threads, and blogging is a very big part of my life! The greatest thing about writing Needle ‘n Thread is the people I’ve “met” through the website – readers who have written with questions, fellow bloggers who have shared experiences and helped me out, and long-distance friends who share with me a love of stitching. It’s nice, you know!

Well, not very long ago, I ran a series of articles on Needle ‘n Thread by Kathy Andrews, featuring a few aspects of her Spring in Italy. I was really touched when Kathy sent me a little “thank you,” especially when she’s the one who helped me!

Pearsall's Filoselle

Kathy is an American living in Germany, so she generally buys her needlework supplies in Europe. When I opened her little package and was faced with this delightful little box of spools, I was… well… twitterpated!

Pearsall's Filoselle

I knew right away from the sheen and the general look of the threads that they were silk. And in such a pretty palette of colors, and on such perfect little spools, which fit so perfectly into a little box! But what I didn’t know was exactly what kind of thread I was looking at. Silk floss, on spools? In the US, stranded silk doesn’t generally come on spools (there are a few exceptions).

Pearsall's Filoselle

Silk Floss On Spools. I love Silk Floss On Spools!

But, I asked myself, what is this Mystery Silk Floss – obviously stranded silk floss – that comes on spools?

Pearsall's Filoselle

And then I was introduced to the difference in marketing in different areas of the world. It’s Pearsall’s Filoselle, which I like very much – I’ve only used it a few times, but every time with good results, as it’s a very nice thread. In the States, to my knowledge (unless they’ve started doing something different in the last couple years), Pearsall’s comes in little skeins in plastic.

Pearsall's Filoselle

Pearsall’s Filoselle is a 6-stranded filament silk floss. I believe it hails from Wales. It comes in about 340 colors, with nice shade ranges in all the color families. In America, the only consistent supplier I know of is Tristan Brooks Designs, though there may certainly be other suppliers.

I am looking forward very much to using these beautiful threads from Kathy – and I think I may even use them on her Spring in Italy designs! (The designs are available in PDF on her website, if you haven’t seen them.) Thank you so much, Kathy!

And my concluding thought:

All Silk Floss in the Whole Wide World should be sold on spools. I love the spools!


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(19) Comments

  1. Hi Mary,
    I’m so pleased you like the silk!I agree about the spools – they are so cute and keep the thread nice and tidy.

    You’re absolutely right about the people we meet on the web. I don’t know anyone else who embroiders in my area so they have become my community where I can share successes and frustration, ask questions, and elicit opinions.

    Aren’t we lucky to live today when such a fantastic way of connecting people exists?!


  2. Hi Mary,
    I couldn’t resist googling the Pearsalls Filoselle to see if I could find it on the spools because it just looks soooo pretty. I found that on their website they sell it on the spools only in a “presentation box”. Otherwise they sell it in individual skeins, but you can choose which colors to include in the presentation box. Here’s the link to their site – just click on the Presentation Boxes category and it will take you to where the spools are http://www.pearsallsembroidery.com
    And thank you for such a terrific blog!!

  3. Virtue might be its own reward, but it is nevertheless wonderful to receive such beautiful recognition.

    What a lovely gesture Kathy, and well done Mary for your continued kindness.

  4. Dear Mary, It is always a joy to read your article, and YES the little spools of silk are so nice. I used to collect all kind of spools, specially wood spools and use them for differnet threads. I like them very much, they are like little toys.
    Thanks again for all your comments, I would not miss a day.

  5. Spools–YES! I love spooled threads, too, I think spools are much nicer to work with than skeins especially when I can load up my spool holder to keep them at hand (and not rolling around :-).

    I didn’t know that Pearsall’s was available on spools. I’m going to have to find out more about that. I just had some recent interaction with the Pearsall’s folks and they seem like really nice people.

  6. What a lovely gift, Mary! Is the silk thread on the spool still stranded (6 ply) or is a single continuous ply? It’s a really NEAT idea, as a spool would be tidier
    to maintain than a skein, but I’m curious about the details. Have a great day!

  7. Oh Mary, how neat! I love spools, too. Now if only we could convince the manufacturers that we should get such neat packaging as well! 🙂

    That reminds me… I need to place an order for filoselle in the next month or so… so much to do and stitch! 😀

  8. Oh Mary what have you done?

    After reading your article on silk threads I went looking for Pearsall’s Threads and found their web site. You can purchase from here and the range of colours and threads is just mind blowing. I’m going to have to have a small bundle, just a small bundle. Maybe I will start with some for my blackwork, or maybe I will work that Ackworth sampler. Oh dear, keep my finger away from that ‘add to cart’ button.


  9. I love those little spools. I had to restrain myself from buying them when I read that post. I think spools are a better way to store floss, but on top of that these are so darn cute. They’re like little pieces of candy. If I hadn’t ordered the slate frame for Hedghog’s site, I would order some of these now. But, alas, mind the budget.

    Thanks, by the way, for the tip on the sale at Hedgehog Handworks. I’ve been saving for a slate frame and now I’ll have a bigger one because I didn’t have to pay shipping:)

  10. Mary,I HATE your site!! Okay, not really, but each morning I have to open your site to see what you’re up to and what wonderful stuff you’ve found, then I just have to follow up on all your links, of course, then I find myself coveting all those beautiful threads – silk, wool, cotton, blends, overdyed in such a beautiful rainbow of colors — then POOF – two hours of my day is gone. And I still haven’t finished even one needlework project (out of the three I have started). Oh well . . .
    Another question though (I’m such a pest) – how do I get the rest of your words on the comments on the upper right side of the screen when you answer these messages?? Do you know what I mean? Computers and I do not get along very well. Thankx

  11. G’day Mary,

    There is something homey about spools. Kind of a harmonious, comfortable in-touch-with-our-roots sort of thing.
    The threads don’t get creased either and they look attractive on the shelf, in the box and even in a plastic bag.
    The cat can’t do the damage to threads on spools as it can to skeins. It’s more interested in the way the spool won’t stay put!

    Thanks for the spin on spools.
    Cheers, Kath

  12. Hi Mary,
    Like all your other fans, I can’t begin my day without having a look at your blog. It’s my little daily fix. I love watching your progress on the beautiful things you make … and I dream. Lots of things: books, frames, threads, etc., have found their way to my home after reading your blog. Today is nothing new, I see those lovely silk threads and I drool. Maybe I will be able to resist.
    Thanks for sharing.

  13. Hi Mary,

    Your spools of Filoselle are beautiful and Kathy has sent you a gift that you will always cherish. Thanks for your continued inspiration

  14. Hi Mary:
    I just ordered some of the much-raved-about Cosmo Floss from Crabapple Hill. They very hesitantly told me that they were “sorry”, but the Cosmo floss only comes on spools rather than skeins. Of course, I told them how much I’d rather have the spools than skeins. Can I ask if any of your other fans have used Cosmo floss? Reviews on the ‘net say it is wonderful. Also, FYI, there is a site called DICK BLICK that primarily sells art supplies, but they also carry assorted empty wooden spools in packs of 60 or 120. You get assorted sizes so you can store your threads and fibers on them. Now, about that strawberry tart recipe . . .

    1. Hi, Brooke – What kind of Cosmo floss did you order? The six stranded, or the thread they sell for redwork, etc.? I’m doing a review of their 6-stranded floss soon… but it does come in skeins, much like DMC. They do have other types of floss on spools, but it’s not the 6-stranded. I’ll be writing about the latter soon – probably in the next week. I was just looking into finding spools, so I’ll definitely see what Blick Arts has in stock! Thanks for that heads up!

      The strawberry tart! I don’t have a recipe. I have rather weird habit of taking pictures of food whenever we go out anywhere interesting. That photo was from a little cafe called Le Petit Cochon Dinge – the crazy little pig, in French – and the cafe is in Quebec. I’ve been obsessed with finding a similar recipe ever since, and I’ve come across a few I’m going to test! So that’s the story of the strawberry tart.

  15. I know that HDF sells silks on spools too, you can even custom order your colours too…and she also sells a “Mini of the Month” assortment..
    You can get the single stranded regular (SSR) the single stranded premium, which is a thicker strand of floss (SSP) or 6 stranded regular (6SR)…I have become quite the convert to silk…they stitch ups so beautifully…and the spools, they make it so much easier to use…

  16. The spools are wonderful. I have a significant stock of small spooled silks from Vikki Clayton/AKA Hand-dyed Fibers made here in the USA and sold directly to the public from her website. Her spools are available in every color, including variegates, she produces. The prices are quite reasonable. Another bonus: the small spools, called minis on her site, are available with single stranded silk or in 6-stranded silk. That makes it easy for a stitcher to choose which silk will meet their stitching needs best.

  17. Dear Mary,
    you ca see yourself now why I love so much Pearsall’s Filoselle instead of SDA….is so shining and stitching with it is a real pleasure! It’s a pity that single colours are sold only in skeins, but this filament silk is just wonderfull.
    It’s hand dyed in Wales from the masterdyer John Cunningham that works with his wife Carol Heatway…lovely persons.
    Enjoy your precious gift!

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