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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ThreadworX Hand Embroidery Threads – Here’s a Look!


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Are you familiar with ThreadworX embroidery threads? ThreadworX has an extensive line of different types of overdyed threads for hand embroidery, so if you love overdyed threads, you might want to take a look at what they offer. I’ve been playing with some ThreadworX threads, and while I was at it, I thought a few photos were in order, to entice you!

Well, what can I say? I’m a thread junkie. You know I am. And I’m not afraid to admit it!

ThreadworX Hand Embroidery Threads

ThreadworX is perhaps best known for their overdyed cottons. They produce overdyed cotton threads in different weights: stranded floss, in 5 and 20-yard skeins, and pearl cotton in size 3, 5, 8, and 12.

ThreadworX Hand Embroidery Threads

Color! *sigh* I love color.

ThreadworX came about when another thread company – Needle Necessities – closed. The color designer and her son started up ThreadworX to cover the gap left in the market when Needle Necessities thread was no longer available. I don’t know the ins and outs of the business side of such ventures, but I do know that ThreadworX has managed to produce some gorgeous overdyed threads for today’s market.

ThreadworX Hand Embroidery Threads

Their pearl cottons are quite lovely! I’ve done a little bit of stitching with #8 and #12 (which come on twisted skeins, rather than balls, like most pearl cottons of the same size), and they stitch up beautifully.

ThreadworX Hand Embroidery Threads

If you like threads in bold colors, in deep jewel tones, in soft cool colors, in brilliant warm colors… they’re all here.

ThreadworX Hand Embroidery Threads

What I didn’t know about ThreadworX, but that what really intrigued me when I found out, is that they also produce an overdyed range of Bella Lusso, which is an Italian merino wool embroidery thread.

ThreadworX Hand Embroidery Threads

I’ve stitched a little bit with Bella Lusso and liked it. It’s a soft, smooth wool, very nice for embroidery.

ThreadworX Hand Embroidery Threads

So the idea of seeing what it looked like, overdyed, was pretty appealing!

I don’t use a whole lot of overdyed thread in my work, but for certain types of projects, I like it! The overdyed red Bella Lusso, for example, would’ve been great to use on the comb of my crewel rooster.

ThreadworX Hand Embroidery Threads

The fact that ThreadworX overdyed Bella Lusso was exciting and surprising. I was pretty impressed that they had added it to their cotton collection. Then I found out that they also overdye Vineyard wool and silk, which are used a lot in needlepoint. The photo above is a close-up of a skein of each.

And that was pretty interesting. But then I found out….

ThreadworX Hand Embroidery Threads

… that they also overdye one of my favorite silks for hand embroidery – Soie d’Alger. I didn’t know Soie d’Alger was available overdyed. Soie d’Alger is a wonderful thread to stitch with – it has a warm, subtle sheen that shows up well in the almost-black-and-white photo above. The overdyed colors of those threads are brilliant:

ThreadworX Hand Embroidery Threads

They have a nice range of Soie d’Alger. Not all the colors are quite so brilliant, if you’re looking for something more subtle.

ThreadworX Hand Embroidery Threads

Besides regular embroidery thread, ThreadworX has ventured into the area of dying specialty threads, like Kreinik’s #8 metallic braid.

ThreadworX Hand Embroidery Threads

And finally, they also produce this hairy thread, which reminds me somehow of Dr. Suess! I think it would be a fun thread to try out on Christmas ornaments and the like, so that’s my plan.

In case you haven’t heard of ThreadworX, you might want to check out their range of threads to see if there’s anything there that’ll suit your taste. The ThreadworX website has a nice feature of showing photo enlargements of their individual skeins of thread, so it’s easy to browse through their color collections and get a sense of what they have. Their threads are carried in needlework shops around the world. If you want to see if there’s one near you, you can check out their store locator. Online, I’ve found their threads at various shops, including Needle in a Haystack in California.

And just a little note about using overdyed threads: Normally, I err on the side of caution when working with overdyed threads – I don’t stitch anything with them, as is, that I would need to wash. Folks who use overdyed threads probably already know this, but I thought I’d mention it, just to make sure! Sometimes, setting the color with vinegar or salt water will work, but sometimes, it doesn’t. Regardless of where an overdyed thread is manufactured, you should always test for colorfastness before assuming that they are, or might be.

So, now it’s your turn. Let’s talk about threads!! Have you used ThreadworX threads? If so, what’s your take? Do you like overdyed threads? Do you use them often? In what types of needlework? I’d love to hear your input on the topic! Feel free to leave a comment and discuss!


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(29) Comments

  1. Mary I have used the former Needle Necessities thread and it was one of my favourite overdyed threads. I used it a lot in samplers etc., as you could blend and use it very easily.

    I must admit I am in awe of threadworx, and the fact that they do overdyed wools.

  2. Mary, When i visited to Kansas, i enquired you by mail and got the address Two the point. I got threads from there and those are very very good in quality.
    I like them most. viji

  3. Beautiful threads!!! And I love Bella Lusso, it’s one of the softest threads I’ve ever purchased.

    So, now my dumb question – what’s the difference between dyed thread and overdyed thread? Is it dyed twice?

    1. Hi, Karen – Yes, twice, maybe three times, maybe more. Overdyeing is the process of adding dye to an already-dyed something or other. From what I understand of the process, the thread is first dyed one color, then another color is worked in over different areas of the thread (usually by hand), and then another color may be worked in, and so forth. The thread is run through the hands again, to kind of bleed the colors into each other (so they aren’t “sharp” segments of color, necessarily).

      I’ve never dyed my own threads. To tell you the truth, the idea doesn’t appeal to me – in fact, it intimidates me! I’d rather leave it to the experts, experimenters, and so forth, and revel in the results of their art! I think if I had the space to do it in, and someone around who knew what they were doing (so that I didn’t have to go through a lot of trouble-shooting), I’d enjoy trying it, but I can’t see it as something I’d do often, for a hobby. I think the aversion to dyeing goes back to my childhood – finger-painting horrified me! 🙂 It must be really messy to dye threads. But I sure do admire people who do it! Are you familiar with Renaissance Threads? I always think of Ande at Renaissance Threads when I think of the dyeing process. Ande dyes with all-natural dye stuff, and the colors and threads are beautiful! It is amazing to me that these things taken out of nature can be cooked (or whatever they do) into batches of color, then plain, ho-hum thread can be submerged and come out so beautiful, soft, and stitchably colorful!.I would love to see her process in person. But oh…. to do it myself? Probably not….

  4. I have used Needle Necessities threads and was very upset when they went out of business, but thankfully, Threadworx picked up the baton! The floss is lucious…outstanding colours, and I have washed some of them with sucess. Just not the bright/dark colours…the pastels seem fine.

  5. I have used overdyed threads on simple flowers made with the oyster stitch (A-Z of Embroidery book)and on bullion knot flowers. The flowers look wonderful and everyone thinks I changed threads to get those variations in color..

  6. I have used over-dyed threads from Hand-dyed Fibers. It’s a spun silk Pearl. I use it on my Crazy quilting. It stiches up beautifully and it’s great to work with.

    Love it.

    Mary Jane T

  7. Just wanted to warn everyone that I used an overdyed thread to stitch a sampler and when I pressed it with a steam iron the color bled into the surrounding fabric!!! Be careful.

    1. Thanks, Lesley-Anne, for the warning! Here’s the thing: always test your overdyed threads first, with any kind of finishing technique you plan to use. The combination of heat and wet (for example, when using a steam iron) will often make threads that wouldn’t otherwise run, run. So if you plan to steam your work after you finish it, test with steam before you start working with any threads!! I would imagine the experience was rather frustrating – the same has happened to me before, too, Lesley-Anne, and not just with overdyed threads, so you’re not alone!! ~MC

  8. The pictures of the thread are amazing. I want to reach out and touch them. I did check on locations, where to buy them. Lo and behold, they are sold at my favorite store, Acorns and Threads. Why did I never notice these before? Too bad I have to wait till Tuesday to go drool, um, look.

  9. Thank you Mary, for that explanation. It’s seems obvious (now that you’ve explained it) but I was never quite sure, so thank you.

    I have dyed some yarn for knitting, and it was a pretty messy process, but I loved the outcome and plan to do it again.

    thanks! 🙂

  10. I LOVE Threadworx! I do lots of needlepoint, and use overdyes whenever I can. Last night I stitched a fence with Threadworx overdye floss. I used the red overdye Vineyard for bricks on a house. The floss also makes great grass. I love Merino wool, but have not used the overdye – yet. I am a threadaholic, and not ashamed to say it.

  11. These look great. Weeks Dye Works has a nice range of overdyed threads, too, although not in the wool and silk. The thing I like about them is that in the past year, WDW has changed their formulations so that they are now colourfast. The backs of the labels are marked with a purple rectangle – there could still be old stock out there that isn’t – but I’ve started using their threads for clothing embellishment and like the results a lot.

  12. Thank you for the intro to ThreadworX! On the subject of thread, several years back I bought some handpainted “glittercord” in New Zealand. It’s a wonderful slinky, shiny cord maybe comparable to a #3 perle. It can be stitched, but is probably best couched. Any idea what glittercord is and if it’s available in the US?

  13. Hello Mary always interested in your new thread finds. I have purchased Cosmo threads and now finding a project to use them with. Thank you for a wonderful site that gives us so much information. And thanks for letting us know about Pin Tangle website, love it. thanks for sharing so much of your expertise.

  14. I love overdyes; the color change. I like to use them for Huck embroidery – seeing how the colors work out is fun. Nordic Needle has Thread Worx too. I am so glad they took over when Needle Necessities went out of business and have added so many luscious colors and combinations. I get the thread because I to am an admitted thread junkie, then have to find where to use it – but we do need that stash to be creative at a moments notice.
    Sharon ~ Modesto

  15. I picked up some of the hairy thread in a light lilac. As soon as I saw it I thought fairy wings. I haven’t stitched with it yet but I am looking forward to it.

  16. I don’t know the ThreadworkX range, but I use a lot of overdyed threads and have learnt from bitter experience that they aren’t always colourfast.

    They do, however, bring a wonderful variation into the work they are used on!

  17. *Question of great interest to me*

    Would it have been historically correct to use an overdyed thread in a Jacobean crewel piece?

    The effects achieved would be wonderful, but I think they just used ‘heathering’ then (threads twisted together).

    Is it a case where you were more interested in effect than accuracy, which is a perfectly fair approach or am I incorrect?

  18. I use overdyed threads whenever possible.. they add a depth and richness that is otherwise impossible. Subtle overdyes should work well in a a Jacobean crewel piece, as I suspect in the past, some dyed threads were not quite evenly dyed. The overdyed thread would not look out of place.

  19. I love overdyes and have used a number of brands. I have used Threadworxs and like them. I do wish the were in balls so cording could be made of them. Two points to remember-1.) they do often run and 2.) buy enough of one dyelot to complete what you are stitching since dyelots often not match

  20. Here is another threadaholic. Seems I am not alone. I do most of my embroidery on crazy quilting which takes to overdyed threads like a duck to water. I used a heap of Needle Necessities in the past. I am just starting to use Threadworx now – the colours are just so gorgeous, and all those other fibres …. I found the website the other day and haven’t stopped drooling yet.

  21. Mary I never used over dyed threads. One reason is that I like my thread to be colorfast. The other reason is that I didn’t know if I could get the same color if I happen to run out of a color on a project.

  22. Karol, the problem with non-matching threads doesn’t apply only to overdyed ones. This morning I have been sorting out some threads and stuff, and lo and behold, common or garden DMC cotton and rayon floss are different from one dyelot to another. So as we are frequently told, buy enough to finish your project at the start, regardless of thread type or colour.

  23. I have never stitched with overdyed thread but plan to try some soon. I have knitted with overdyed wool though. Now I’ll have another fiber stash to find a home for. The colors are so beautiful and looking at your pictures of them was looking at skiens of wonderful wool.Oh Mary you are corrupting me.

  24. The picture with grey colours is wonderful! But I didn’t find these colours ThreadworX website. Are these threads from there or from another source?

  25. Used Theeadworx over dyed floss on a quilt project I am embellishing. This will be a wall hanging, but will be washed at least once after I am finished the stitching and assembling. I, totally by luck, happened to wet a mark made with disappearing fabric marker and it happened to wet a couple stitches made with the overdyed floss. I sat and watched the floss bleed into the white fabric beneath it. No doubt my own mistake for not having thought to check, but I have used overdyed floss and regular floss from other sources and had no bleeding problems. I look at all of the intricate green stitching on these blocks that now has to get ripped out and re-stitched and want to just pack it all in. I guess it could’ve been worse (I could have finished it and washed it and had it bleed all over the finished product) but I don’t know why anyone would make/sell non-colorfast thread when the science is there to make it color fast. It just doesn’t make any sense. I will never use Threadworx again!

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