Reported by Susie Ziegler
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Have you seen the beautiful display of embroidery floss at your craft store? DMC is the brand I always use because it is readily available, and I trust that it won’t run, break or fade in the wash. Recently I’ve noticed some specialty threads from DMC, notably this shimmering rayon floss. I think that DMC has repackaged what they called “Rayon Floss” with a longer see-through plastic sleeve and now it is called “Satin,” but it is still made of rayon.
First a word about embroidery floss. Floss comes in 6 strands. You can stitch with any number of strands at a time depending on how bulky you want your work to look. I am impressed by the thick, funky look of six-stranded work, but I am addicted to my own style of two-stranded chain stitching. Needle’nThread.com has a terrific video library of many of the types of embroidery stitches. I encourage everyone to try some hand embroidery. I see many fantastic projects made entirely of simple back stitching.
If you happen to be a beginner, go ahead and use the regular cotton floss to get the hang of stitching. It comes in a huge rainbow of shades and is predictable and easy to work with. This glossy, slick rayon stuff is probably for intermediate stitchers.
Now, when you get that package of floss, you are going to need to cut off a length to stitch with. You should only use about 12-18 inches of thread at a time. Trust me on that. You’ll have less knotting and twisting if you use shorter lengths.
Pull your length of thread gently, straight out of the package and not at an angle and cut off your 12-18 inches:
Next you need to separate out your threads. Like I said, I prefer using 2 threads. I think this preference goes back to my obsessive cross-stitching days when only 2 or 3 threads is recommended. Gently pull out just one strand at a time from your length of floss. If the strands get tangled, try pulling them out the opposite direction. Only pull one thread at a time. Lay your strands together, thread your preferred needle, and knot one end.
Okay, now for my reaction to using this floss. The word on the street is that it is a bear to work with, but it is better than metallic floss. I haven’t used metallic (because I’m scared and stuck in my ways). The first thing I noticed was that it really is slick. The strands do not hold together the way that cotton floss does. Neither do they hold into your stitching. Notice in this photo how the thread wants to pull up? I am afraid that any threads that are not securely woven in on the back will pull out with use.
It also seems thicker than regular floss. I felt like it showed every flaw in my stitching. The satin stitches I did on this little beak don’t want to lay flat.
On the other hand, in this photo of my cross-stitching, you really can see how glossy and pretty these threads are.
The thing is that DMC thread is a superior product and their cotton floss already has a pretty polished cotton sheen to it. I am not convinced that this stuff, though lovely is worth the extra cost at $1/ skein.
- Shiny, silky, and pretty
- Threads don’t get stuck and twisted together. Knotting up is not a problem.
- Can be substituted for regular floss in any application.
- Did I say that it is gleamy and reflective?
- Limited variety of colors. DMC shows about 36 on their website.
- The ends fray
- Has an untamable quality. The threads seem to want to go wildly in their own direction.
I was happy to finally try this DMC Rayon floss. It was probably a good thing that I only did very small projects with it, because I think that a large scale project would have made me a little bit crazy. This is a little bird drawing from my daughter that I stitched up with spring in mind.
I would really like to know what our crafty readers think of the specialty embroidery threads available these days. Leave us a comment and let us know!
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