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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Two-Stranded Embroidery Thread, off the spool


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One of the questions that came up the other day when we were speaking of Cosmo embroidery floss was whether or not I had tried their two-stranded embroidery thread. I haven’t yet, but I will. It’s an interesting concept, and I would guess that the two-strand embroidery floss off the spool has come about thanks to the popularity especially of redwork and other line embroidery common to quilting.

Cosmo Multi-Work Embroidery Thread

You might be wondering what I mean by two-stranded embroidery floss. Well, you know how DMC, Anchor, Cosmo, and other flosses come in a skein? And each of those flosses are made up of 6 strands of thread? And when you separate the strands, you can stitch with either one strand, or several? The most common number of strands, especially in redwork and line stitching on quilts, is two. So Lecien, the manufacturers of Cosmo floss, now also produce spooled floss in two strands.

Cosmo Multi-Work Embroidery Thread

This multi-work floss comes on spools of 88 meters, in 27 colors.

Cosmo Multi-Work Embroidery Thread

The convenience of the multi-work thread is the fact that it comes right off the spool ready to stitch – it doesn’t have to be separated.

Cosmo Multi-Work Embroidery Thread

Each strand is the same size as one strand of Cosmo floss of the 6-stranded variety – they are both “Cotton 30.”

Cosmo also produces “No. 30 Thread” for punchneedle – it comes in 88 meter spools, in 27 colors, and it, too, is made of 2 strands of cotton 30. They also produce a spool called “Stitch Work” – it comes in spools of 30 meters, in 53 colors, and is also 2-stranded cotton 30. Packaging, I suppose, is everything. They are all essentially the same thread, just packaged differently.

The two stranded floss looks like it would be exceptionally convenient for those who do a lot of redwork, or single-color line stitching in any of the colors Cosmo produces. For stitchers who use a lot of color, though, I think the palettes would be a bit limited.

As for stitching with the thread, I haven’t had a chance yet. If it feels as nice as the 6-stranded floss when stitching and holds up as well in long lengths, then I’m sure it’s a great thread for the techniques mentioned above. One of these days, I may actually have a chance to try it out myself!

Have you used Cosmo’s multi-work thread, or any of their other 2-strand spooled needlework threads? What do you think of them? Feel free to leave a comment and let the rest of us know!


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(17) Comments

  1. I like the idea of the strands being ready to use but in cross stitch I often use the loop method to start my work so I don’t have tails to contend with. So I take a single strand, fold it in half (thereby ending up with 2 strands again) and start sewing that way. I pull through almost all the way, then take my first stitch but run the needle through the loop and snug it up. It’s anchored and ready to go. Is this never used in embroidery?

    1. Hi, Irene – The method can be used in embroidery, but it’s more conducive to cross stitch and needlepoint. In surface work, we usually use waste knots or tiny anchoring stitches that will be covered up with the embroidery… ~MC

  2. What are some sources for these threads? I don’t quilt so I am not familiar with the websites for threads for quilters. Do these threads work well for smocking? DMC gets very fuzzy and the quality seems to not be what it used to be 20 years ago. this Cosmo thread sounds wonderful.

    1. I get a lot of the beautiful floss from dakotacabinquilts.com. Just put cosmo thread in the search box and lots of wonderful colors and variegated threads come up. They only carry the red, blue and green ones, shown in this post, actually, in the 2-stranded spools, however.

    2. If you’re interested in the 2 strand on a spool check out crabapplehillstudio.com Click on embroidery floss and then choose the 2 strand Cosmo. They have a large spectrum of colors-most places just offer red, green and blue. The spool has 88 meters of floss. They also offer Cosmo 6 strand floss 8 meter skeins which are cheaper and they have the variegated (called seasons).

  3. I wondered about sources myself, krowel, So I went to the Lecien link Mary posted and looked around. There’s a link for US shops by state.
    This looks as if it would be a good product for delicate baby dresses smocked with just two strands. I’m going to try it out as soon as I can get my sticky fingers on a few spools.

  4. I switched to Cosmo (when the colors available match my work) after having a lot of trouble with DMC Black which kept getting fuzzy as I worked with it. Working with Cosmo has allowed me to work with longer pieces of thread since it doesn’t seem to unravel like the others. I’ve suggested it to several friends and they’ve all had the same results I have had.

    Linda O.

  5. I started out using the loop method (one strand doubled like Irene described in comment #1) for small areas and for stength in stitching – like for dishtowels. However, now I use it all the time for convenience and speed. However, having the thread already a 2-ply and not fuzzing would be great. I will order some of this thread.

  6. I haven’t tried it yet, because the only stitchery shop in my area doesn’t carry it. I have ordered the towel you mentioned in your “social chicken” article. Ha, ha, and the laugh was on me, I couldn’t seem to navigate my way back to the same article. Finally found it again. You must either be in a larger town with a bigger variety of stitchery shops? Or do I need to order that thread on line. I would like to give it a try. This will be my first embroidery project. I have only ever done counted cross stitch and quilting, and many, many years ago – – a needlepoint project.

  7. I am new to your site and love the information you provide. Thank you. I have bought both the floss and the 2 strand spool from Crabapple Hill where I first heard of it. I bought a beautiful Cosmos floss called SPARKLE but I haven’t tried it yet. It’s a single strand floss and VERY SOFT! They classify it as metallic but it’s more “glittery” to me. Have you tried it yet?

  8. I have used both the red and the blue extensively. I love them! The threads are wonderful, of course, and the convenience of just rolling it off the spool is terrific. A spool seems to last a long time, too!

  9. Without a doubt, this is some of the finest thread I have used. I also use it on my straight stitch machine. My days of hand embroidery are just about over, this allows me to get the look of hand embroidery. It is very time consuming, however, if the hand embroidery look is what you are after, it works well. I have a self threading needle and it pulls the two strands through very well.

    This thread does not knot up all the time. I would much rather pay a little more and get thread that is usable.

  10. I have the Baltimore Christmas, it calls for Sulky 12 wt thread. I’m trying to find out if the Cosmo multi work thread can be used instead?

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