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Cross Stitch Tips - Specialty Threads

Specialty Floss and Threads for Cross Stitch & Needlework

There has been an explosion of different types of floss and threads used in needlework and cross stitch.  There are many wonderful textures and colors to choose from.  Silk, metallic, rayon, linen, filaments, wire, satin, etc.  We try to carry a large variety of the specialty floss and threads available that are used in many of the current cross stitch patterns on the market.

 Kreinik threads, originally known as Balger braids,  are a cross stitch and needlework thread that comes on a spool.  The side of the spool can be snapped off and on.  Snap the end off to find the start of the thread/floss. Snap it back on to secure the rest of the thread. Kreinik threads come in a variety of colors and styles. 

Kreinik threads


Blending Filaments are very fine threads/floss and are somewhat difficult to use.  They fray easily, so use care when stitching with them.  Use short lengths of thread when stitching.  Blending filaments can be used alone or combined with other floss to create a highlight effect.  I like to use a thread conditioner when I am stitching with Kreiniks, especially the blending filaments. It coats the thread with a waxy type finish enough to hold it together better and allows it to slide through the fabric with less effort. Take your time.  It's not a race when you are using filaments.


There are also Kreinik Braids and ribbons  which come in several different widths like #4, #8, #1, #5, #7, #1/8th and #1/16. etc. that are used in cross stitch.  These are thicker than the filaments and are a bit easier to use.  They can be very abrasive when pulled through your fabric, so use short lengths of thread/floss  to avoid too much pulling.   


Some categories of Kreinik threads are high luster (HL), glow in the dark (F), cord (C),  vintage (V), Japan (J), cable (P), and holographic (L)..   For example, BF024HL is blending filament 024, with a high luster. The holographic floss is new and very interesting. 


Glissen Gloss is another product line of metallic threads and floss.  They come wrapped on a bobbin and are easy to use.  The Rainbow blending thread is a metallic blending  filament wrapped with and supported by nylon fiber, for unbeatable strength, integrity, and memory. It will not stretch or break according to the manufacturer.  Many patterns call for the use of Rainbow blending filaments. They are available in 52 sparkling colors. Glissen gloss Rainbow blending thread is a great substitute for Kreinik blending filaments if you cannot find them. I have also found they are a perfect substitute for Tonkin filaments which are French and used in many Nimue designs. 



Glissen Gloss also has a product called Estaz.  It is similar to the garland on a Christmas tree in that it is fuzzy.  It's soft core is wrapped with evenly clipped strands to create fullness.  It adds  texture to you cross stitch piece.  Be careful where you hide your Estaz because husbands like to use it to create fishing lures. Glissen Gloss also has a beautiful like of silk cross stitch floss that is varigated.  It is called Colorwash Silk floss. 




DMC pearl cotton floss  is used for projects like Hardanger embroidery, embroidery, and needlepoint.  Pearl cotton floss comes in all the same colors as  the DMC Mouline 6 stranded floss.  Pearl cotton floss  comes in skeins or balls. Skeins are size 5, begining with the number 1155.  The balls come in sizes 5, 8 and 12. Size 5 balls start with the  number 1165, size 8 starts with 1168, and size 12 starts with 11612. The previous numbers are then followed with the DMC color number. ie. 1155310 would be a size 5 skein of the color number 310 (black).  Pearl cotton floss is a highly mercerized, non-divisible, lustrous 100% cotton thread on a twisted skein. The higher the thread size, the finer/thinner the thread is.   Size 5 (Art. 115/5) is available in 27 yard skeins in 292 solid and 20 variegated colors. It is ideal to use for cross-stitch, embroidery, needlepoint, hardanger, blackwork, redwork, pulled thread, smocking, applique and many types of creative stitchery.


Pearl Cotton Variations (Art. 415)  Pearl Color Variations. Pearl Cotton Variations is a lustrous multi-color, highly mercerized, non-divisible thread with an over-dyed look. Available in 36 beautiful shades with 27 yards per twisted skein.   Each skein of Pearl Cotton Variations is a combination of current DMC six stranded Mouline floss colors, allowing stitchers to coordinate Pearl Cotton Variations with DMC Pearl Cotton to create beautiful designs with colors that compliment one another perfectly.  Pearl Cotton Variations is 100% Colorfast, Fade Resistant, and offers guaranteed Color Consistency from one skein to another.  It is ideal to use for cross-stitch, embroidery, needlepoint, hardanger, blackwork, redwork, pulled thread, smocking, applique and many other types of creative stitchery.



 DMC Light Effects is made in France.  It is a 6 ply metallic floss. You can use it just like DMC's standard Mouline' Stranded floss (their main brand of floss).  You can separate the strands and use 2 for a typical cross stitch, or more strands depending on your needs.  DMC suggests Light Effects:  DMC Light Effects is a line of 36 glistening specialty threads that will add reflective qualities to any needlework or craft project. The gorgeous shades include Precious Metals, Jewels, Antiques, and Pearlescent shades, plus trendy Fluorescents and Glow-in-the-Dark tones.  There was a smaller selection of these metallic threads available from DMC in the past that you may find on older patterns with DMC colors  that start with the number 5. The new color numbers for the older patterns are E168=DMC5283, E310=DMC5279, E316=DMC5288, E317=DMC5287, E699=DMC5269, E815=DMC5270, E3837=DMC5289, E3843=DMC5290 and E3852=DMC5284.



DMC Color Infusions  Memory Thread is made in France by DMC.  It is a soft fiber wrapped copper wire.  It allows you to add color, dimension and texture to your needlework or cross stitch.   Memory Thread is colorfast, fade resistant and acid free.  It is hand wrapped on a recyclable shuttle for easy use.  You can reuse the shuttle to hold other thread on it when you are finished with the Memory Thread that comes on it.  DMC Memory Thread comes in 36 vibrant colors.  Memory Thread, when used for needlework, is applied to the surface once the project is near completion. It is not intended to be threaded in a needle. Rather, Memory Thread is couched or tacked down to the project. The ends can be pushed through to the back side (through an enlarged hole) or they can be crimped back on themselves and stitched down on the front.


Caron Collection Waterlilies Silk Floss. A twelve-ply, hand-dyed variegated silk floss. It gives a subtle sheen when stitched and has particularly good light reflection qualities. Use a single ply for very fine work or as many plies as necessary for the fabric count you are using. Openweaves will require more strands.. Many of the colors match Watercolours and Wildflowers, but because the silk fibers take the dye differently, they may be more subdued.  Some of the Mirabilia patterns call for Waterlilies floss.  It is a very unique floss for cross stitch. Waterlilies silk floss is some of my favorite to use for projects. It glides every so smoothly through the fabric when you stitch. 


Caron Collection Wildflowers.  A single strand hand-dyed cotton in variegated colors. It has more of a matte finish when stitched. Use one or more strands as required by the ground fabric. One strand is approximately the same weight as flower thread or Medicis wool. It is between a  size 8 and  size 12 pearl cotton in weight. It is available in all the same colors as Watercolours and the two threads can be used very successfully together for Hardanger embroidery. Can be used for bobbin work on quilts.



Weeks Dyed Works floss is a hand  over-dyed, 6 stranded cotton fiber floss.  It comes in an extensive array of colors. Some solid and some variegated.  The color changes are very subtle for a soft effect.   Several Mirabilia patterns call for Weeks Dyed Works floss. I keep most in stock. They are easy to use and the color palate is great. 


Valdani floss is a  6Ply floss that come in skeins - they are Hand-Overdyed colors in Cotton Floss.  Valdani floss comes in 121 colors.  Most are variegated.


NeedlePaints floss  by Lavender and Lace (distributed by Wichelt) . They are a made of 100% Egyptian cotton and are divisible.  They come in beautiful rich shades  of Robbins Egg Blue, Orchid and Lavender/Blue. They are made specifically for several of Lavender and Laces patterns.  Some of the colors are no longer available, which can be frustrating when you get a pattern that calls for a specific color.