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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DMC Pearl Cotton #5 – Green, Green, & More Green


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When I work up embroidery stitch videos for Needle ‘n Thread, I use DMC’s pearl cotton #5.

Why? Primarily because it’s more visible, but there are several secondary reasons. One is that it’s a non-divisible thread, so I don’t have to worry about keeping strands of thread straight in the needle will recording. And of course, there’s always the fact that DMC produces a high quality thread, so it performs well. Good threads always perform better than inferior alternatives!

I also use it because it comes in lots and lots of colors, and it’s nice to be able to choose from a range of colors – although some colors work better than others for the camera.

I get a lot of questions about the thread and fabric I use in the videos. The other day, I received a question about the pearl cotton: “I want to use the same thread in a project I’m doing, but it only comes in two colors of green. One is bright and the other is blue-green, they don’t work well together. Any suggestions?”

DMC Pearl Cotton #5 Greens

The question is timely. This particular stitcher is working up some St. Patrick’s Day embroidery, and it’s a good time of the year (at least here in the US) to consider green thread. In my mind, green equates with Spring!

It turns out she was shopping at a nearby chain craft store. At chain stores like Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, and JoAnn’s – all of which stock DMC embroidery threads – you rarely find a good selection of pearl cotton. Tops, you might find 12 or 15 colors, and I know exactly what two colors of green this stitcher was talking about. There’s a happy spring green, and then there’s a duller, light pine green available at the craft stores around here. Occasionally, around Christmas, there’s a bright Christmas green, and sometimes, you might also find a dark pine green.

So I went through my pearl cotton #5 drawers and pulled all the greens, and any colors that were green tinted, including blue-greens and khaki greens.

There were over fifty shades of green!

DMC Pearl Cotton #5 Greens

My favorites in the greeny lines are these – 699-704 and 904-907. The 700 greens have a slight tinge of blue to them, but they are bright and cheery.

DMC Pearl Cotton #5 Greens

And the 900 greens are a grassy, bright, lovely green. They are Spring, threadified.

If you have a locally owned needlepoint shop near you, you might have access to the whole line of pearl cotton #5. While I was in South Carolina a few years back, two of the shops that I visited stocked the full line of pearl cotton #5, so I’m sure there are other needlepoint shops that carry the full line, too.

Though it’s less likely that you’ll find the line available in cross stitch shops because it’s a bit heavy for cross stitch, it doesn’t hurt to check. So first, check local needlework shops and see if they carry it.

If you don’t have a local needlework shop, try online shops like Herrschners, Nordic Needle, 1-2-3 Stitch (which has the best prices right now, at $1.39 / skein), or your own favorite online source for DMC threads.


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(15) Comments

  1. keeping strands of thread straight in the needle will recording.

    I think you mean WHILE recording. 🙂

    Now i’ll go finish the post.

  2. It is frustrating when craft stores do not carry complete lines of floss. All I can afford is regular 6-strand DMC, and the chain store nearest to me (Michaels)only restocks a couple of times a year, once 50% or more of the colors are gone. They also only carry a smattering of the metallic, rayon and variegated. I even emailed the manager a few years ago and complained, but the complaints fell on deaf ears. The manager reminded me about the annual inventory tax, and the more inventory he has, the more taxes the store pays, so he keeps the stock low. Not in the scrapbooking aisle, that is “popular” he said. Embroidery is not popular, right now and I am the only one who has complained about it in several years he told me. I told him that the reason was likely that they just choose another store instead, and don’t bother to email him thier complaints. He had no answer for that, so I only go there on the rare occasion that I need a variegated that they have, that the other two stores do not. The second chain store a bit farther away, (Joanns) restocks all the time but also only carries only a smattering of the metallic, rayon and variegated. The third one, and farthest away (20 minute drive) also restocks regularly, (Hobby Lobby) and, again, only a smattering of the rest. Between the three of them, I still can’t find all the colors of metallic, rayon or variegated. It is frustrating. There are no locally owned needlework shops around. Only two quilting ones and they do not carry floss at all, just over-priced fabric, quilting supplies, and quilting notions. The closest private needlework shop is over an hours drive away, and to go there for two skeins of DMC in one color or another is ridiculous. They are also the only place I know of that carries Anchor floss, and I have never tried that because it is nearly double the cost, plus gasoline costs. I have epilepsy and do not drive, so I would have to convince someone to drive me that far. The only other place that is nearby (Beverlys) is the same distance away as Joanns, and they used to carry DMC and now they only carry some stuff called Sullivans which I had never tried. I hate having to order online for identity theft reasons, and shipping is usually more than the cost of the floss itself. I do every couple of years because I have no choice, but online (herrschners) is a last resort for me.

    1. Well, what to expect from the world where alcohol, cigarettes and other harm is in highest demand? It is bad things that sell best and fond on every corner…

      But I know that 123stitch is a good online store, best in the states, in my humble opinion. And they have plenty of floss for best prices!

    2. Liz,

      Awhile back I received a test chart with Sullivan’s equivalent to DMC 310 (black). It was a Halloween sample chart that didn’t immediately appeal to me, so I tossed it into a drawer. I took the chart out and used the Sullivan’s 310 and the other threads were a combination of DMC 6 strand and perle. I couldn’t see an immediate difference between the two and the thread quality seemed comparable. I have the full line of DMC and don’t anticipate switching to Sullivan’s anytime soon, although I have noticed many of the brick and mortar shops are starting to carry out. I think that if I was in a bind to get a color I would be willing to use Sullivan as an alternative.

  3. I’d like to jump in here with a response to RMW’s difficulty finding a decent local source for thread.

    If you know what colours you want, you might try phoning the well-stocked shop that’s an hour away and explaining your predicament. They may be willing to mail you your purchase for the cost of postage. That way you’ll still be able to spend your money locally.

    It’s not as much fun as visiting and petting all the pretty colours, but at least you won’t have to rely on unsympathetic Michaels managers!

  4. Ah, emerald greens! When I was buying DMC floss by post in the early Eighties, there was one supplier who refused to stock the 700 range of greens. Any other colour you wanted, but not that one. Arsenic was banned from paints and dyes back in the 60’s, but this lady obviously still had visions of expiring like Napoleon from a pretty but deadly shade of green.

  5. Dear Mary

    I’m late today been sightseeing in London went to Greenwich East London and made a visit to the Catty Sark, Maritime Museum went on the new Cable Car ate pie and mash with eel liquor gravy a traditional London dish which is rapidly dying out and had a great day.

    Anyway back to the beautiful green colours I love green my favourite colour, the ones you chose as your favourite are lovely. Here in the UK Sew and Sew stock most of the DMC pearl cottons threads at reasonable prices so I always order mine online as there are very few needlework shops locally or otherwise in the UK.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  6. The two main places I get all my thread is Ebay and Etsy. You can find really good deals for large lots of pearl cotton #5 on Ebay and on Etsy there are a few sellers who stock all the colors and can put together a custom order for you. I love the DMC Variations Pearl Cotton #5. It comes in the same dye colors as their regular Variations and it’s just beautiful.

  7. I’m fortunate to have a local cross stitch shop that carries 95% of DMC’s #5 perle cotton for the local quilters. Our quilt shop doesn’t have the space so the 2 shops work together. I use it mainly for needlepoint on 18 canvas.

    For RMV: You might try calling the needlework shops that have web sites. Many will take your info over the phone or you can mail it to them and they will keep it safely on file. Some shops will also give you a break on shipping costs when the order is just several skeins of thread.

  8. Hi, Mary,
    I noticed your comment that frequently people ask you about the fabric and threads that you are using in a video. I have often wondered what fabric and threads you are using in a particular project featured in your columns. I have often thought it would be nice if at the end of each project-related post you would note the specs of the fabric and threads you are using for the project. The “specs” could expand as the project is developed–I’m assuming you sometimes decide on certain threads as you go. It could be a “footer” to your column. Knowing your choices of fabric and threads would be educational in itself. And I’ll throw out another idea which may be impossible to do without a programmer (or some local genius teen-ager) to set it up–but it would be wonderful to be able to print your column without any comments or only with those selected comments that you find most helpful. On the epicurious web-site for example, the default is that you print the recipe without any comments. But you can check specific comments that you find helpful and they print out along with the recipe. It’s a wonderful feature, but I’ll admit I don’t know what’s involved in developing it.

  9. I need help with cross stitch threads mix colors threads cross stitch kits help for firemen Oakland dec25.iam handcaip got sezuireon don’t work for twoyrs.need need help with sewing threads supply no money handcaip got sezuireon don’t have sewing machine do it by hand.debbie ihave old sewing but stop along stop went sewing my dream have new sewing machine do it apqs.com my dream do you known some one can help you with my dream. Debbie barlogio 9939 gouldst Oakland ca94603.2344

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