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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Thread Love: Au Ver a Soie Metallics


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We’ve chatted about Au Ver a Soie metallic threads before here on Needle ‘n Thread, but I can’t help it! I have to revisit the subject and share them with you again. Why? Because I’ve been working on something sparkly!

When it comes to hand embroidering with metallic threads, it’s true that there’s often a bit of dread involved. That’s usually because we’ve had bad experiences with metallic threads.

Normally, if stitchers across a wide range of disciplines have consistent frustrations with a particular type or brand of thread, I generally figure the problem is not the stitcher – it’s the thread!

Because so many embroiderers have problems with many available metallics on the needlework market today, metallics in general get a bad rap. And that’s unfortunate, because there are metallic threads out there that are better than others, that are easier to stitch with, and that yield lovely results.

Au Ver a Soie’s metallic threads fall into this category. They are by far my favorite metallics to use when I want to add some sparkle to my embroidery projects.

Au Ver a Soie metallic threads for embroidery

There is something very, very satisfying about seeing a whole collection of threads laid out in a nice drawer, isn’t there? It makes my mouth water.

Last year, I designed a collection of snowflake ornaments for Christmas, and I used several of Au Ver a Soie’s metallics on those ornaments. They were So Much Fun to stitch, and I loved the way they turned out!

Incredibly enough, even though I used metallic threads, the snowflakes were easy and relatively quick to stitch up. And I contend a lot of that has to do with using this particular line of metallic threads.

So when I started playing with a design idea that’s been floating in my head for the past 9 months (the average gestational period of an embroidery project?), I turned to the same metallic threads, and you know what?

I like this year’s project even better!

Au Ver a Soie metallic threads for embroidery

Unfortunately, AVAS metallics are not so widely available in the US.

The French Needle carries some of their metallic thread collections, and Needle in a Haystack carries a limited selection of individual spools.

Au Ver a Soie metallic threads for embroidery


(I think the blues are my favorites! I had to incorporate blues in this year’s project, too.)

So, why Au Ver a Soie metallics over other metallic threads on the market, especially when metallics seem to look very similar? After all, they all sparkle!

Well, there’s more to a thread than just the materials it’s made from. There’s a certain engineering that goes into the production of thread, that makes a huge difference in the performance of that thread in various circumstances.

So, while a familiar metallic might work, say, for needlepoint, where the thread passes through large, open holes in a canvas, it might not necessarily hold up as well to passing through a more tightly woven fabric, where friction takes a quicker toll on the thread.

Au Ver a Soie metallic threads for embroidery

The folks at Au Ver a Soie are thread engineers. They’ve been engineering thread for hundreds of years. They know how to make a thread that is going to work on a variety of fabrics. And I am pretty sure that’s why their metallics hold up better for surface embroidery than most other metallics available today. They’ve put a lot of effort into making sure that their threads – which are highly prized in both the hobby market and the professional couture market – work without driving the stitcher nuts.

And you know what? I’ve never been told by the folks at Au Ver a Soie to run their threads through a thread conditioner to make them work.

If you have to specially treat your thread to embroider with it, don’t you think there’s a problem with the thread? After all, the whole point of needlework thread is for it to be used as needlework thread. You shouldn’t have to add something to it, to make it do its job.

That would be like saying “I’m buying this cup of coffee because I want some caffeine. Now I’m going to buy this Special Coffee Treatment (let’s call it Coffee Heaven!), so that the coffee can do what I originally bought the coffee for.”

When you’re dealing with embroidery thread, it really shouldn’t be that way. The embroidery thread should work for what it is manufactured for, without having to add some kind of treatment to it.

(Note: there’s a difference between strengthening threads with beeswax when doing goldwork or something similar, and having to treat a thread with silicone or something similar in order to get it to pass through fabric unscathed.)

Au Ver a Soie metallic threads for embroidery

When I began to bring my little holiday project to life this year, it made sense to turn to Au Ver a Soie for metallics again. This year, though, I’ve decided to invest in making a thread, bead, and charm kit for the projects. That way, you can reproduce them, too, without having to seek high and low for materials.

I’m very excited that the kit supplies are starting to arrive!

I’m still working out the logistics on packaging and so forth, but it’s just thrilling to see the whole project coming together. I can’t wait to show it to you!

That’s one of my background adventures here in the studio at the moment. I’ll share more bits with you as the whole project comes together – especially some of the behind-the-scenes work to pull off this type of kitting. I’ve invested in a few new tools to make it happen as efficiently as possible.

This weekend, I’ll be stitching on some sample projects, photographing, getting work-flow areas established, and organizing the month of October. I’m also writing a couple book reviews and working on some embroidery tips to share with you. Busy times!

I hope you have a glorious weekend!


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(16) Comments

  1. Hi Mary,
    Ive just joined your splendid blog! I have already taken your good advice about the brand of embroidery frame Evertite. It just arrived last week in my mail. Im a beginner at embroidery but have been doing cross stitch for a few years now. My point in this comment are two things! 1. Thankyou for all the wonderful work you put into this blog! It has helped me so much as an enthusiastic beginner. 2. I cant believe the timing of this post about metallic thread! I am making a biscornu and a needle case with a cross stitch pattern and thought the DMC metallic gold thread would look stunning with my black aida. However, I just read last night on Pinterest how difficult it is to use even for advanced needleworkers. That many more than not, throw it away or never use it. I then read that you should use thread conditioner! As a beginner this is completely new to me. Well, I chastised myself the rest of the night for being lazy about it, but no, I dont want to buy a conditioner other than for my hair. So I am now going to buy some stranded thread in an antique gold tone. I was so happy to read your opinion on this here. I felt less lazy, because if “Mary Corbett” doesn’t condition her thread then I must be sane!
    As I live in Australia I am hoping that this brand of thread is available. It will be my “go to” for metallic thread (I’m sure) when I become more confident in my embroidery! Thankyou once more Mary. I hope your weekend is sure to be a lovely one too. ☺️

  2. When using the metallic embroidery thread Au Ver a Soie , I want the equivalent of 2 threads dmc. So do you use one or two threads. I have not used this thread but have a project in mind.
    Many Thanks Chris Harris

    1. Hi, Christine – the metallics aren’t divisible like regular floss, and they don’t gauge size-wise in an equivalent way with regular floss. #4, I think, would be too fine (it would not be equivalent to 2 strands) and #8 would be heavier.

  3. Every time someone says I am having trouble with this thread and someone responds, use a thread conditioner, I want to pull my hair out! Sometimes, there are techniques that will make help; the right size needle, maintaining the twist in your thread, but sometimes the thread is just poor quality and will spoil your enjoyment of stitching and the finished project.

  4. Mary, I’d be interested in learning more about the varieties of Au Ver a Soie’s threads.

    I have used their metallics (per your recommendation!) & definitely agree they are great, easy to use.

    Would it be possible for you to do an article outlining which threads are used for what? Im sure you’ve used several from their line.


    1. I too would like a run down for all their others- their website isn’t that friendly with regards to that.

    2. I would also be interested in learning more on which of their threads to use when. Thanks for all the information you share. The project you are preparing looks like fun I’ll be watching for that!

  5. Dear Mary

    Such lovely sparkly threads. I used metallic threads before and quite frankly it was so difficult to stitch with them. It looks like Au Ver a Soie metallic threads have come up with the perfect metallic thread and so pretty, I’m sure I would enjoy stitching with the threads and the outcome would be lovely. I can’t wait to see the project and the thread colours you have chosen. I do love all Au Ver a Soie threads and Au Ver de Agar silk threads as well. Thank you for sharing au ver a soie metallic threads with us and for your views on them. Look forward to the project.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  6. I second (times INFINITY!!) the AVAS metallics! I am finishing up my own wedding piece (still almost 16 years later) and needed gold metallic, but remember HATING the other previous metallics that I’ve used (yes, ALL of them). Picked up a few spools of AVAS, and I am NOT looking back! The dreamiest, easiest metallic to use EVER. My only issues? That there isn’t more thread on each spool, and that they aren’t more widely available here! ha!

  7. I bought these amazing metallics after reading this post. They truly are glorious, and I can’t wait to use them. Quick question, though- is it ok to wash these after finishing a project? Thank you for introducing me to them!

    1. It depends on the way you wash them. I wouldn’t use anything too severe on them, as far as detergent goes. But I have soaked them before, and not had a problem. You might test first.

  8. Hi, I’m testing around metallic threads to brighten up my cross stitches and came across your article.
    I realise there’s different sizes.
    would you have a comparison if I used DMC 4 strands, what would that need in Au ver a soie? If 2 strands, what size would I need? As this thread is really hard to acquire n expensive to buy online and ship to where I live, really like to have a good gauge before I purchase.

  9. Allô Mary,

    Thank you for your blog that I love very much. I learn something every time I read it.

    I would like to know if I can replace the metallic thread (or filament) Kreinik #8 by a metallic thread Au ver à soie.
    I find that the Kreinik thread (or filament) is hard to work with.

    Thank you for your help.


    1. Yes, you can. The AVAS is easier to work with. It’s still a metallic, so it’s not like working with floss, but it’s much easier to work with than the Kreinik.

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