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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Three-Ply Silver Twist


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Goldwork can be done with silver threads. In such cases, it’s often called “metal thread embroidery.” But I’m not persnickety – I just call it goldwork. Yes, even when it’s done with silver.

Here’s a silver thread I’m fiddling with these days. It’s a three-ply silver twist.

3-ply Silver Twist for Metal Thread Embroidery

Ain’t it perty? And I’m not a great lover of silver under normal circumstances. But it’s a beautiful thread – photos just don’t do it justice.

How to describe it? The plies are somewhat like a passing thread, but not. They’re somewhat like a Japanese gold thread, but not. The wraps are flat and less wiry than a passing thread. They feel more like a Japanese thread. The core is white (appropriately, since it’s a silver thread) and quite soft and flexible, making it a very supple thread.

3-ply Silver Twist for Metal Thread Embroidery

The three plies are twisted “just right” – not tight (so it’s not like a braid or stiffer cord), but not too loose, either.

3-ply Silver Twist for Metal Thread Embroidery

Yes. Supple! That’s what I would call it. Supple.

Supple Silver.

It’s also a rather fine twist – but not super fine. It will make a very visible line, but not a heavy line.

This is a perfect twisted thread for couching lines and tendrils and curls and such.

I’m playing with the silver twist in combination with a blue-blue suede, white silk, silver spangles, tiny silver passing thread, and tiny white beads. I’ll give you three guesses what I’m trying to stitch up with that combination of goods.

Do you need a hint?

Here’s one: “Oh the weather outside is frightful…”

I’ll show you what I work up as I go. The first step – coming up with a proper design that will show off the thread in all its silver glory. When the thread’s available on the market, I’ll let you know where you can find it. If you’ve been looking for the perfect silver thread, keep an eye out for that information in the hopefully-not-too-distant future!


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(13) Comments

  1. Mary,
    Sounds delightful! I’ve signed up for a canvas project, and am thinking of teal-blue + pink combo that may look better with silver than gold. Waiting impatiently to hear more about the thread, as it may fit my upcoming project, depending on when it’s available. Yes, I like the bling of metal/metallic threads. Not always easy to be “shiny” but not gaudy.

    Thanks for sharing all your projects,

  2. Very pretty thread, I can see it making a lovely Christmasy item with blues or purples. Or reds or greens. I think I’d use it with just about any color, except *maybe* yellows/oranges. I’m thinking your project might be snowflake ornaments or a stocking.

    Is this real silver? If so, is there any way to keep it shiney silver or restore it when it tarnishes? Are there silver substitutes that don’t tarnish? That’s one thing I noticed about the Kroje costumes that had silver – it was all grey and dull. But how they must have sparkled when newly finished!

  3. Silver doesn’t have the same impact as goldwork, unless the background is not white, I imagine. Your choice of blue suede will make a nice background for the night sky with snowflakes (or Elvis shoes?) There are so few samples of silverwork, compared to the gold.

  4. Oh boy…great…I love silver and a nice silver thread is inviting and can’t wait until you have the ‘where to get it’ info…thanks so much!


  5. Your colour scheme sounds remarkably like mine, Mary. I am making a crazy quilted Christmas stocking to go in the local gallery and this time I am using dark blues and silver. How I wish I had some of that gorgeous thread, but I will just have to make do with what I have. I can hardly wait to see what you have planned for those beautiful colours.

  6. Copper metallics are also different and vibrant. I found a box of different copper threads and ribbons at a flea market. When you are looking for a more subtle shine than a gold, copper works quite nicely.

  7. mary, I’d love to know the brand and other details for this silver thread – planning a new project and trying to figure out materials. thanks!

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