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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Frostings Club Specialty Embroidery Threads – Unboxed!


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Today, I’m going to ramble on about embroidery thread. Once in a while, I just have to. It’s like releasing a pressure valve. I have to talk about thread, because I love thread.

Those of you interested in 17th century embroidery, in embroidered caskets, and similar exquisite items in the needlework field are probably not new to Thistle Threads.

If you’ve scoured the internet for information about 17th century embroidery or making your own embroidered casket (i.e. decorative, intricate cabinet with drawers and little compartments), then you’ve probably run across Thistle Threads – or maybe you’ve even enrolled in their casket class.

The casket class – called the Cabinet of Curiosities – is a two-part course, a fascinating multi-year journey towards creating your own embroidered table-top cabinet that tells whatever story you want it to tell. It includes the history of the embroidered casket, techniques, materials, side journeys for small treasures for inside the cabinet, and all the information you need to be well-informed while you create your magnum opus – your own embroidery heirloom that should last centuries.

Thistle Threads Online University

I’m not enrolled in the course. I think it’s an amazing adventure for those who can do it! That being said, it is beyond my reach in a number of ways. Still, I’m captivated by the whole notion of it, and I love seeing what the adventurous stitchers in the course are doing with their skills.

When Thistle Threads introduced the notion of a subscription box, though, that would feature specialty threads suitable not just for 17th century embroidery applications, but that could also be transformed equally well into contemporary embroidery, I swooned. I fell. I was happily sucked in.

And not in a bad way, mind you! We’re talking about embroidery thread, after all. And not just any embroidery thread. We’re talking about embroidery threads that are exquisite in quality, that have taken years and tears to bring about, and that are unique and not readily available (although some will apparently be coming to the general market – which is exciting news).

I had to get in on it. My first “justification” when I sprang for the club is that it helps my business to know what’s out there and what the buzz is about.

But if I’m honest with you and with myself, the fact is, I just wanted the threads. I knew they would be special. I knew they would be beautiful.

And I have a thread addiction. Obviously!

But, like I said, it was a business decision. Yes. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

I’m not disappointed with my decision. Not in the least! I was delighted with the first Frostings box. And, considering the types and amounts of threads and their quality, I knew right away that I am getting a good return for the investment.

But it was really the second of the two Frostings boxes that plunged me into Thread Euphoria.

I think the best and only effective way to explain to you my present state of threadful bliss is to show you what’s in the box.

If you are a member of the Frostings Club and you haven’t received your box yet or you’ve put off opening it, to savor it for a while, be aware that there are definitely spoilers ahead!

Frostings Club Embroidery Thread Box

First of all, the boxes. Both installments of the club arrive in these adorable boxes. They fit right inside a US Priority Mailer, and, while reflecting the 17th century theme, they are decidedly modern. They’re a durable board box with a magnet closure on the wrap lid. They’re perfect for storing the club stuff, but if you ever deplete the club stuff, you’ll have a great little box for storing…well, anything that’ll fit!

I love boxes.

Frostings Club Embroidery Thread Box

When you open the second Frostings box, this is what greets you.

Now, at this point, you’re pretty eager to rip into things and see what treasures await, but don’t be fooled by this innocuous piece of fabric. It’s actually a very nice wool felt, perfect for stumpwork embroidery. So don’t discard it as superfluous packaging material!

Frostings Club Embroidery Thread Box

Ahhhhhhhh. The fun begins!

Frostings Club Embroidery Thread Box

There are lots of little knick-knacky items, threads, braids in here – including some soutache braid, some silk chenille, some tiny strawberry stumpwork forms, and other little bonus materials.

These excite me. But not like what’s to come!

Frostings Club Embroidery Thread Box

There are some real metal threads in the box, too, in particular a gilt and a silver flattened coil.

Frostings Club Embroidery Thread Box

I’d describe this as a bullion that is slightly stretched and then slightly flattened. It’s not flat-flat. It’s more oval-flat. It’s a neat thread! Kind of like a slinky that’s been squished on its side, only it doesn’t slink back, because it’s a stiff wire.

Frostings Club Embroidery Thread Box

As far as metal threads in the box go, though, it’s this bonus inclusion that grabbed me and shook me up!

Frostings Club Embroidery Thread Box

That wee bit of bonus thread there – it’s got my goldwork-loving blood pumping up a storm.

I don’t know what the story is behind it. I don’t know if it will ever come to be, as a goldwork thread available to the general market. All I know is that I have two precious pieces – one in gilt, one in silver – and I adore it. Oh my. The possibilities! You should click on the photo above to see it enlarged.

See, it’s a totally flattened coil, that flattens into this perfectly even, lovely, flat, stiff metal thread that features side-by-side loops. Perfect for outlining! Perfect for tiny gold trim! Not at all the same as milliary wire (you can see what that is here, on Tanja Berlin’s website) – this is flatter, stiffer, cleaner.

It is gorgeous.

And you can bet that, if it’s not something that’s going to be made, i’m going to find myself a heavy metal rolling pin and try to make it myself from regular bullion. I just love it. Oh gosh.

So, that thread got me all churned up and excited.

But…wait… there’s much more!

Frostings Club Embroidery Thread Box

There are some spools of silk gimp, which we’ve talked about before.

If you want to see what you can do with silk gimp, you might like this silk gimp tree project of mine, available here on Needle ‘n Thread in part one and part two.

And there are a couple lovely spools of check thread, which is a goldwork thread that’s a little ripply. These particular check threads are much finer in size than any check thread I’ve worked with so far, so I’m a little tingly about those, too!

But all of that above… it’s great, but it’s not IT.

It’s not what took me to the Melting Point.

This is what took me to the Melting Point:

Frostings Club Embroidery Thread Box

Oh, be still, my sorry-sorry-thread-infatuated heart!

First order of business: breathe.

Second order of business: touch.

Silk. A new silk. Silk Trame, it’s called. It’s made by Au Ver a Soie, the French silk manufacturer that produces Soie d’Alger, Soie Ovale, and many other Soies.

Trame is a flat filament silk. It has no twist. And it is about 1/8th the thickness of Soie Ovale (also a flat filament silk, although it does just the barest hint of a twist to it). I’ve done a bit of work with Soie Ovale – you can see it at work in this piece, in particular.

The exciting thing about the Silk Trame is that it is so very fine, and it coordinates with the other Au Ver a Soie silks. So, a gap is filled! Here’s an teeny tiny flat filament silk, that can be used for all kinds of detail work (think eyes in figure embroidery!), but that can also be doubled or tripled in the needle for a slightly heavier effect, though not as heavy as Soie Ovale.

I Am Thrilled About This Thread!

In fact, I can’t think of anything else to say about it. I reached the height of thread nirvana when I realized what I was handling. I was even a little shaky, I was so excited. But don’t tell anyone. People might think I’m a bit thread-weird.

I’m not sure why thread does that to me!

In any case, that’s the Frostings Club, and it has me all excited, thinking about possibilities for future projects!

If you want to get in on these specialty threads, you can still do it. I think there are a few more boxes still available. It’s true, it isn’t cheap. But it shouldn’t be. This is quality stuff, exclusively made in very small batches. You get a good quantity of special threads in each box, and a wide range of thread types to experiment with and to incorporate into your own masterpiece.

You can find more information on the Frostings Club here. Keep in mind, this is the second box of the club – the first box contained a whole slew of gorgeous silk and metal threads and little stitchy knick-knacks, too.

The first session of the Frostings Club (it includes two boxes) is apparently going to be followed by another session, and those who are already in session one have first access to session two.

I’m already saving my pennies for session two! Can’t wait!


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(18) Comments

  1. Oops, you’ve just made me spend a bit of money… These threads look fantastic. The very flat coil gold thread reminds me of a thread traditionally used in Klosterarbeit. I know the women make up small batches on a wooden board with nails hammered in to wrap the metal thread around. There are several different patterns possible. It is a precise and time consuming job, which I haven’t given a go jet.

    1. Jessica I looked it up & found a lot of info & beautiful pics. I wasn’t even
      aware of it.

  2. Mary, your post today is such a complete joy to read – I can feel your exuberance through your words – you are delightful! I’m so glad you are through the worst, Mary, you have been in my prayers, God bless you.

  3. YES! The first box was amazing, but this one, OH my gosh! Got mine yesterday, and honestly went dumb with glee over the silk trame. It’s so very delicate, but surprisingly strong. And the colors! The greens. I’m a sucker for green. (Confession: I keep going back to the box and petting all the goodies.)

    I have no idea what I’m going to use any of the threads in, yet, but it will be something special.

    The actual boxes everything ships in are so well-made and pretty…but I let my grandson color them because why not?

  4. Thank you so much for this post. your daily or frequent posts are the highlight of my week. thank you so much for all you give to us who love needlework and God bless you on your road to recovery Ann.

  5. I too participated in the Frostings Club, and so appreciate reading how someone else reacts in such a similar manner. Your praise is so eloquent in description and easily expresses the joy of opening the box for the first time. I think of it as “eye candy” – so pleasing to see.

  6. I think I have been reading this post for at least an hour if not more! I had to click on the links and then click on those links links and so on. Oh how I wish I could find a way to get those frosting boxes and tax exempt them since disability checks don’t give enough for me to be spending that kind of money. šŸ™

    >> if Iā€™m honest with you and with myself, the fact is, I just wanted the threads. I knew they would be special. I knew they would be beautiful.

    And I have a thread addiction. Obviously!<<

    You are my soul sister. I love buying threads of every kind and color. I still want to kick myself for passing up some vintage silk threads at the thrift store many years ago – that wouldn't happen now for sure! Compared to how much embroidery I actually accomplish anymore, 10 skein of DMC would probably handle all my needs. But I too love thread and this has been a most amazing post to read. Thank you!

    1. Hi, if you are really keen on joining may I suggest contacting Thistle Threads?
      I wanted to do the ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ course but am also on a pension. So I contacted them, they very kindly let me extend the payments to accommodate my budget (or lack there of) lols.

  7. I resisted The Frostings Club forever since it was expensive and I did not really know what would be in the box. Your posting and enthusiasm put me over the top and now I have spent money again. You are very dangerous to read for those of us with a needlework “toys”addiction. Many thanks and I hope you are recovering well.

  8. Mary thanks for the treat! They look so irresistible and beautiful! Looking forward to seeing your projects using these. I went back to look at the reference pic and I remembered the vermicelli that you did. I loved it. It resembles quilt stippling but with beautiful golden thread. Thanks for all the sharing.

  9. OK – this post should have come with a notice at the beginning stating (emphatically, I might add!) that a drool bib is required…along with sunglasses to deal with the green eyed envy. I’m ever hopeful that a lottery win will come my way – now I NEED it so I can join this. Thread envy? Oh yeah!!

  10. Thank you for this preview Mary =)
    I signed up for the Cabinet of Curiosities course and am amazed with the content. It is so informative and yesterday I received my kit to complete the projects. Seriously I sat there and gently touched each thread oohing and ahhing all the way to the bottom of the box.

    Now to begin my stitching

  11. Wow! I am so happy for you (and everyone else) with your precious treasures!

    I have one suggestion: if you ever get to the point of trying to make your own flattened coil, don’t waste your time and materials with a rolling pin. Talk to a jeweler about the availability of a rolling mill. It will allow you to create a consistent thickness and I guarantee you will be much happier with the results. Check with your local-ish gem and mineral club or look for independent jewelers in your area. Rock hounds are pretty friendly people; if they don’t have what you need, they will usually be happy to point you in the direction of someone who does.

    1. Thanks for the tip, Joyce! That’s pretty much what I meant – I knew there had to be a rolling pin machine thingy that does that kind of stuff. I just didn’t know what it was called. We do have a custom jeweler next town over. I might stop in for a chat one of these days! Thanks again!

  12. Hi Mary-

    Have you stitched with the Silk Trame yet? I have some, but it’s so fine-I’m not sure how to stitch with it.



  13. ā€œ Iā€™m not sure why thread does that to me!ā€
    Iā€™m not sure why thread does that to me too. I understand your feeling when you feel like you want to hug all your threads as if they were your kids.

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