With so many thread lines on the market, how do I choose which ones to use? Very good question! When I started DebBee’s Designs 10 years ago the choices were more limited, but still a staggering array from which to select. I pretty quickly settled into a few standards – DMC cotton flosses and pearl cottons, Caron Collection Waterlilies and Watercolours, Kreinik metallics, Rainbow Gallery threads for texture and variety, and Gentle Arts Sampler Threads, Weeks Dye Works and Crescent Colours cotton overdyed flosses. I thought I’d be able to do everything I wanted to do with just those thread lines.
These thread lines still are my staples, the ones I go to first. But then I started going to trade shows, and discovered that there was more, so much more. One of my first forays into something different was Presencia cotton flosses and pearl cottons. What I love about Presencia is the range of color and selection for the pearl cottons, very important for Hardanger designs. If a color is available in one weight of pearl cotton, it is available across the spectrum of weights, something that isn’t true with other lines of pearl cotton. My first design with Presencia was a fairly simple Hardanger ornament, the Hardanger Tree Ornament. I loved that I could exactly match the fabric color with the thread color, something that wasn’t possible with other thread lines; I could get close, but not match exactly. I’ve since used Presencia pearl cottons for other Hardanger designs, mostly because of the color range; Sugared Violets, Ring Around the Rosy and Spring Fling are examples.
I have also used the Presencia cotton flosses for several designs, notably some of the Banner Days. They are cross-referenced with DMC colors as well, since they are more readily available. I’ve not noticed much difference in the ease of stitching with Presencia compared to other cotton flosses, or in the finished result. Presencia is a valuable addition to my thread collection, especially with the wide range of pearl cotton colors available (even in size 16!).
Recently I’ve discovered another solid cotton line, Sullivans. I have used it on a limited basis in a few designs. My impressions of Sullivans are favorable. My model stitchers could not detect much difference in stitching with Sullivans over other cotton flosses. The Pansy Portraits in Cross Stitch are stitch half with Sullivans flosses, and half with DMC flosses; even on close inspection it is impossible to tell which model is stitched with which floss. (All are cross referenced for both thread lines.)
My reason for using Sullivans floss is quite simple: as more stitchers lose access to a local needlework shop, they are turning to “big box” stores like Hancock’s and Joann’s for their supplies, and these stores are stocking Sullivans flosses and pearl cottons. My thinking was to stitch designs with these thread lines, to see if there were differences in quality, finished results or ease of stitching, and I am satisfied that there is not.
I have some beginner counted canvas designs that also use Sullivans pearl cottons and flosses, to test the stitchability of the different weights. Rice Pudding, A Bump In The Rhodes and Red Herring all use Sullivans threads. If you’ve a mind to experiment yourself, these designs might be a good place to start!