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Alanna
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Joined: 27 Aug 2006
Posts: 633
Location: Brisbane, Australia
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3:39 am Sep 05, 2007

OMG, the BIG EVENT!! I knew it wouldn't take long for Rife to corrupt poor little Fabala! May it end with the silks! Because if you two don't behave, you won't be allowed to play together any more. Speaking of silks, oh Miss Wise One of the Silks, what's the best brand for a silk amateur which has a full range to replace DMCs? Not that I have any particular project in mind for them, but I must say that I'm starting to wonder what all the fuss is about and there was this GORGEOUS blue peacock pattern I saw in a magazine once....

Congrats guys on getting 3D, I just wish I could go along on these excursions too... Smile
sverzino
Member
Joined: 26 Oct 2006
Posts: 88
Location: St. Louis, MO
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11:46 am Sep 05, 2007

Yes, do tell what is the difference in using silk threads. I could be talked into trying something new but am interested in knowing what they offer/what I'm missing by using the cotton DMC. Are there any tricks of the trade, things to look out for or best practices in using silk threads or is it the same techniques as using cotton DMC? So many questions! Rolling Eyes
rifestitch
Member
Joined: 16 May 2005
Posts: 639
Location: North of Atlanta
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1:29 pm Sep 05, 2007

I wouldn't say you are missing anything by not using silks, precisely; I still use and love my DMC (and am actually buying groups of it right now as Wal Mart is clearancing out Sad ). I am also really into the new DMC Variations line, too, lately. But, if you really want to treat yourself to something really nice, and have a project with a sheen that you just can't get from the cotton fiber in any of its forms, silk is the way to go.

Now, mind you, I had a thing for silk fabric long before I thought to stitch with it; if I lived one of those soap opera lives where no one does work or gets dirty, I'd drape myself in it all the time - it keeps me warm in the winter, keeps me cool in the summer, and well, it just feels good Smile It just seemed a natural extension to use silk thread eventually, once I discovered how abundant it really is.

As to which one is the best, I am not an expert. Yet. I have about 10 different kinds in my current growing collection, and have not used all of the brands yet. I have read lots and lots of opinions, and of course, they vary. Just like some people will plain not buy a pattern that has 1/4 stitches or backstitching or Kreinik fibers - it's all based on personal experience with each (from someone who doesn't really mind Kreinik so much - unless I'm hurrying, in which case I usually end up swearing and throwing knots in the trash). Let me break it up like this - ones I have used, ones I have but have not used yet, and ones I am actively collecting (some of which overlap).

I have used: Caron Waterlilies, Soie d'Alger 100/3, Thread Gatherer Silk n' Colors, Vikki Clayton HDF, Gloriana, Dinky Dyes. So far, I love all of these, and for different reasons - I haven't had any issues with "handling" any of them, and as each is just slightly different, and each for different projects, I think anyone would be more than happy with any of these brands, depending on your application.

I have but have not used yet: Needle Necessities, Glissen Gloss, NPI, maybe another obscure brand or two that I can't recall....

What I am actively collecting: Firstly, I got an introduction to the different kinds by 1) Doing an M Designs sampler that called for the Soie d'Alger 100/3 and a Thread Gatherer, as well as DMC, and 2) at the time I ordered those fibers, I joined a Silk of the Month club at an online needlwork store (Stitching Bits & Bobs), where I got the Surprise Me option, which was an assortment of brands every month. In the year and a half or so since, I have changed my club to collect Gloriana and Dinky Dyes only, which I just recently changed to Gloriana and Thread Gatherer only. The Vikki Clayton HDF I am just ordering colors that grab me as a project calls for them. Gloriana is my #1, HDF and Thread Gatherer share the #2 position; TG is all variegated colors, perfect for monochrome designs, whereas HDF has variegated and solid - so it really depends on how you want to use them.

Costs vary greatly between the brands. If you wanted to say, convert a small SQ chart to silks, Vikki Clayton just revamped her whole line to be as close to a complete DMC conversion as possible, as well as having the variegateds. And she has regular and premium kinds to choose from, depending on the thread count you are using. Personally, I prefer the regular, but I think I am in the minority there. At any rate, her 5yd skeins are very reasonably priced. I think NPI has a range as high as DMC, but they are more expensive - about double the HDF, I think, though don't quote me - I haven't looked lately,and haven't used any yet, don't know what the differences are. Dinky Dyes Silks (they have a cotton line, too - equally gorgeous) are mid-range at about $4/skein, and Gloriana's and Thread Gatherer's are expensive (well, I consider anything over $2-3 a skein expensive - since most of the projects I've done in my life require a minimum of 50 skeins; it kills me to pay over a quarter for DMC), as they are over $5 a skein. But if you have a monochrome design, such as the spot and band samplers I have lately become addicted to, then there you go - perfect! You generally won't use more than 10-20 skeins on a sampler (and I'm only saying over 10 because I will use about 14 on Fire Flower, but I am doing it twice), so it can be affordable. I would never have afforded converting my SQ to silk - no way! 167 skeins of DMC = how many hundreds of dollars for silk??? But my NEXT husband will be able to support a decision like that Evil or Very Mad

This was way longer than I intended; I think the only thing you can really do is get some samples, play around, see if you like them. I will always use my cottons - see Carrie's Threads, Dinky Dyes, Weeks, Gentle Art Sampler Threads, and a multitude of others, but in my quest to try everything, some of the designs I have recently acquired just scream out for silk - it's not me, it's the design, really! But you really ought to roll around in the silks just once - before it's illegal Laughing

And I am not connected to or receive any reimbursement from any of these companies - just passing along my personal experiences and likes/dislikes in an attempt to drag you all down to the poor house with me. See, you ask a question, and I am compelled to answer it - beware what you ask for... Confused
Alanna
Member
Joined: 27 Aug 2006
Posts: 633
Location: Brisbane, Australia
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3:13 pm Sep 05, 2007

quote:
Originally posted by rifestitch
See, you ask a question, and I am compelled to answer it - beware what you ask for... Confused


Hmmmm, so how about a donation to the very reputable Alanna Wants Silks Fund??
rifestitch
Member
Joined: 16 May 2005
Posts: 639
Location: North of Atlanta
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5:07 pm Sep 05, 2007

quote:
Originally posted by sverzino
Yes, do tell what is the difference in using silk threads. I could be talked into trying something new but am interested in knowing what they offer/what I'm missing by using the cotton DMC. Are there any tricks of the trade, things to look out for or best practices in using silk threads or is it the same techniques as using cotton DMC? So many questions! Rolling Eyes


I think I actually left out an important point (surprising, I know); very few silks are colorfast, or are relatively safe from bleeding if you spend some quality time up front and pre-rinse until the color stops running. So, if you plan to wash your piece when done, most silks would not be a good choice (another reason I would never convert something as large as my SQ to silk - after 10-15 years of working on it, it will HAVE to be washed).
rifestitch
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Joined: 16 May 2005
Posts: 639
Location: North of Atlanta
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5:10 pm Sep 05, 2007

quote:
Originally posted by Alanna


Hmmmm, so how about a donation to the very reputable Alanna Wants Silks Fund??


If one was to send me an e-mail with a snail-mail address, one might expect to receive an envelope with a few samples the next time I have some that aren't kitted up for projects Cool
Meredith
Site Admin
Joined: 23 Feb 2004
Posts: 128
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9:22 am Sep 06, 2007

quote:
Originally posted by sverzino
Yes, do tell what is the difference in using silk threads.


If you have a cat, some cats have an affinity for silk thread. One cat chewed up silk thread on a spool that I was using for basting on velvet, another chewed up some Caron silk embroidery floss. I have never had a cat display any interest in cotton floss (except that it looks like a fun string when I'm stitching), and certainly not to the extent of rifling my stitching box and helping itself. In both cases the cat chopped the thread into 3-inch lengths which is SO frustrating - 4-inch lengths might have still been marginally usable. My only explanation is that a cat doesn't find it worth its time to ruin something that doesn't cost much.
sverzino
Member
Joined: 26 Oct 2006
Posts: 88
Location: St. Louis, MO
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12:01 pm Sep 06, 2007

If one was to send me an e-mail with a snail-mail address, one might expect to receive an envelope with a few samples the next time I have some that aren't kitted up for projects Cool[/quote]

Since I don't have cats, I'm going to move forward with the idea of giving silk threads a try. Are there any guidelines on what would/would not look good in silk threads? In particular, would the SQ Praying Hands DUR007 look good in silk even though it has a masculine look to it?
Fabala
Member
Joined: 09 Nov 2005
Posts: 134
Location: Atlanta, GA
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12:40 pm Sep 06, 2007

quote:
Originally posted by Meredith
quote:
Originally posted by sverzino
Yes, do tell what is the difference in using silk threads.


If you have a cat, some cats have an affinity for silk thread. One cat chewed up silk thread on a spool that I was using for basting on velvet, another chewed up some Caron silk embroidery floss. I have never had a cat display any interest in cotton floss (except that it looks like a fun string when I'm stitching), and certainly not to the extent of rifling my stitching box and helping itself. In both cases the cat chopped the thread into 3-inch lengths which is SO frustrating - 4-inch lengths might have still been marginally usable. My only explanation is that a cat doesn't find it worth its time to ruin something that doesn't cost much.

Just another reason I like dogs better.
rifestitch
Member
Joined: 16 May 2005
Posts: 639
Location: North of Atlanta
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1:18 pm Sep 06, 2007

quote:
Originally posted by Meredith
quote:
Originally posted by sverzino
Yes, do tell what is the difference in using silk threads.


If you have a cat, some cats have an affinity for silk thread. One cat chewed up silk thread on a spool that I was using for basting on velvet, another chewed up some Caron silk embroidery floss. I have never had a cat display any interest in cotton floss (except that it looks like a fun string when I'm stitching), and certainly not to the extent of rifling my stitching box and helping itself. In both cases the cat chopped the thread into 3-inch lengths which is SO frustrating - 4-inch lengths might have still been marginally usable. My only explanation is that a cat doesn't find it worth its time to ruin something that doesn't cost much.


None of mine (currently have 3, had 4) pay any attention to any of it. I wouldn't let cat ownership deter you - my MIL had a cat that ate plastic shopping bags, and I mean, ate them gone, and they didn't appear to come back out Shocked . No idea what that cat was missing in her body chemistry or in her DNA, but it didn't prevent anyone buying groceries - we just had to make sure the bags got taken to the trash right away! Because cats are weird - you know, all that stuff that happens to them between lives and what not. Kitty Purgatory must be a rough place....

Now, some poeple tell me silk itself has a certain smell; I've tried, but I really don't notice anything - fiber, clothing, whatever. Vikki of HDF has even mentioned what her undyed stuff smells like when she gets a shipment in. Your cat must've been drawn to that smell I can't smell, like MIL's lunatic cat was drawn to polypropylene. Who knows? Maybe that's why I like it so much - some kind of silk pheromone that works with my particular chemistry.
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