Several weeks ago, I highlighted a beautiful vintage whitework tablecloth, embellished with coronation cord. Since then, I’ve done a little exploring. Besides finding out that Lacis regular offers some coronation cord on their website (I purchased some of theirs to see what it looks like), I found that there’s one book in print still that focuses on coronation cord (called Coronation Cord Remembered, also available through Lacis), and several booklets out of print that highlight the use of coronation cord especially in crochet and tatting, with some mentions of its uses in embroidery.
I haven’t explored the whole coronation cord question as much as I’d like to – some day, I will! In the meantime, though, I thought I should show you the stuff available from Lacis. I have to admit, it isn’t quite what I expected. If it’s something you’d like to play around with on whitework, you might want to see it, too, so that you can decide if it’s what you’re looking for.
You can purchase coronation cord from Lacis by the foot (at 90¢ per foot) or in 2-yard put-ups for $5.00 for 2 yards. The description doesn’t specify the color. I assumed white, but you know what they say about assuming, don’t you?!
In fact, it is ecru – definitely a “raw” unbleached color. The string that wraps the outer layer of the cord is somewhat fuzzy, and it is not mercerized, so there is no sheen to it. It is also quite irregular – not smooth at all.
Coronation cord is made in what looks like a kind of double-wrap method. Each bump is made of strings, wrapped to shape the bump, and then the whole cord is wrapped again on the outside, to form the final layer of wraps. When you pull on one string on the end, both strings unravel.
Surprisingly enough, the core is made of two little strings that are white-white (!) and mercerized (?). I couldn’t quite figure out why the inside core strings are truly white and mercerized, while the outside is raw, somewhat fuzzy, unbleached string.
Where you really see the difference in the quality of the cord is when it is placed next to the white coronation cord on the vintage tablecloth.
There’s a huge difference here! The most noticeable is the color. Then, there’s the size (from the books I’ve read, that’s understandable, as coronation cord was available in several different sizes and a whole range of colors). The cord I purchased from Lacis is not as plump. But to me, the most disappointing difference is in the quality of the thread. The white on the vintage tablecloth is a mercerized, smooth thread, and the wrapping of the thread is all very regular and neat. The Lacis cord doesn’t hold a candle to the vintage stuff!
I would be hard pressed to use the cord I purchased in any whitework project where I wanted a “pretty” result. However, I can see its uses for other things. And in fact, I’ll be showing you one of those uses, in my Stitch Play series. I haven’t finished playing with it yet, so my idea might, in fact, be a disaster. But if it works, it could be an interesting way to make use of this coronation cord.
If coronation cord caught your fancy when we talked about it several weeks ago, and you’re on the lookout for the stuff, just be aware that the cord currently available from Lacis is not quite the same quality as the cord that you’ll often see embellishing vintage linens.
Incidentally, I received an e-mail from a reader, shortly after the previous article on coronation cord. She came across a beautiful doily at an estate sale right after that article came out, and it was embellished with coronation cord, which she recognized after reading the last article. The lady told her it was trapunto, but she knew better, bought the piece (for only $3.00!) and now has a gorgeous example of coronation cord used in whitework embroidery. The moral of the story: keep your eye out for coronation cord embroidery – you never know where it will turn up, and you may end up picking up something lovely – for a bargain!
Things like that, for some reason, never happen to me – but I hope they happen to you!
Enjoy your weekend!