Whenever I’m in the middle of a goldwork project (the current one being the Mission Rose), there’s a fair certitude that one question will slip into the inbox at least ten times. It is this:
What thread are you using for couching the goldwork?
Although I usually mention it within articles on the different goldwork techniques, I’ve never written an article devoted entirely to The Couching Threads.
But you know, they deserve their moment in the limelight. They have an arduous task and they work hard to get it done. So they are, in fact, Important. Essential. Critical, even!
Today, I’ll show you exactly which ones I use and tell you why.
And, with an article devoted just to these indispensable little spools, from now on, I can just send a link when anyone asks.
(I’m lazy that way.)
Here they are! Ahhhhhhhhh. I love the color of the thread on these two spools. They’re … liquid gold.
Only they aren’t liquid. They’re silk! These are pretty much the only two gold-colored threads I ever use for couching goldwork threads. (Couching with colored silks besides gold is another story altogether.)
Why only these two?
First, they are Strong. Their strength is suited to their various tasks – depending on the weight of the goldwork thread being couched. And of course, they are generally reinforced with beeswax, which further strengthens them.
Second, they are Silk. I find silk much more pleasant to stitch with than the polyester alternatives that are often used in goldwork.
Third, they are the Perfect Color. They are not bright yellow. They are gold. And they blend into the goldwork threads with subtlety, whether the goldwork threads are bright gold or “old” gold.
The thread on the left is 100 wt. silk by YLI, a Japanese thread company.
The color number is 215.
I use the 100 wt silk for very fine goldwork threads, like Elizabethan twist or gold tambour thread #7, or very fine purls, like bright check purl #10, which is exceedingly tiny and requires a very fine thread to pass through it.
The thread on the left is 50 wt. Tire Silk, also a Japanese silk.
The color number is 74.
I use the 50 wt. thread for everything else – passing threads, pearl purls, purls, you name it.
YLI makes a 50 wt thread as well, but not in color 215. The closest is color number 078 in the YLI 50 wt. I use both it and the Tire Silk above interchangeably. It just depends on what’s in the larder.
Where can you find these threads? Wouldn’t it be nice if they were in the same spot? I haven’t found them both from one supplier yet. The Uncommon Thread (or Speedstitch – they’re the same now) is the least expensive place I’ve found the YLI 100 wt.
Weir Crafts is the least expensive place I’ve found the Tire 50 wt., which they stock for Kumihimo.
Uncommon Thread carries both weights – 100 and 50 – in YLI. The color number for the 100 wt, again, is 215, but the closest color in 50 wt is 078.
Price-wise, the spools may seem expensive, but they last Forever!
So there you have it – those my favorite couching threads. Use ’em all the time. What about you? Do you have any other recommendations for good couching threads to use for goldwork? Feel free to share your insights below!
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