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Catherine Ronan

Choosing the right Threads& Needles for Petit Point

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Catherine Ronan
Recently a friend sent me several different sizes of petit point silk gauze. Beginning with # 35 and 40, 50, 56, 60, 72, 84 and 90 count. Being a new petit point stitcher, I was totally amazed (grateful) and not just a little confused. I imagine other new stitchers would also have some of the same questions I have.

 

I knew at some point standard size embroidery floss (such as DMC cotton) would be too heavy for these higher count gauzes, but when?

 

I went to the Pipers Silk site, more confusion. There was Twisted Silk, Silk Floss, Gloss Silk, Spun Silk, Silk Gimp, Silk Packs. I had no idea which one to order for # 56 count silk gauze or all the other gauze sizes for that matter. I wondered if you had to have a different size needle for each numbered size too.

 

Perhaps some of our experienced stitchers would be kind enough to answer these questions. I am sure there are threads in addition to Pipers Silk that can be used for higher count petite point too.

 

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Natalia Frank

Catherine,

I use a needle for beading to stitch on silk gauze starting with 56 count and up. As for silk floss for this count, I prefer to use Gloriana Tudor silk (http://www.glorianathreads.com/Tudor_Silk.html), YLI #100 silk floss, Pearsall's silk (http://www.pearsallsembroidery.com/index.php?cPath=96_110).

I sell all colors of Gloriana Tudor silk, just haven't had enough time to list it on my website yet. 

If you want, I can mail you samples of each of these threads to try. Send me you address privately. 

Natalia

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ElgaKoster

Catherine, I will tell you what I have used so far for petit point which is not that much actually.

On 40 and 48 count I have used DMC, on 40 count I like to use cross stitch to get the coverage that I prefer, this is very much a personal decision, most people use tent stitch. Another stitch I like especially for rugs is the french knot, time consuming but so worth it. For these counts I use size 28 tapestry needles.

Guterman silk I have used only once on 60 count with tent stitch, it was a bit tight, I think half cross stitch would have been the better stitch to use and probably it would be better for 54 count.

I bought the floss silk from Pipers to use on 60 and 75 count, this is what they call a flat silk in other words not twisted, it can be difficult to work with, it snags on everything, the biggest reason for choosing this specific one is that it comes in over two hundred colors. I normally use cross stitch for it on 60 count as the coverage with a single strand is a bit thin for my liking, I suppose one can use it doubled up but I have never tried that. On 75 count I use it singly with tent stitch. And my preferred needle is the size 12 ballpoint beading needles.

The twisted silk from Pipers comes in three thicknesses, the 4/20 is perfect for 90 count with half cross stitch, because it comes in such a small color range I bought some of the missing colors in the 2/20 which is half the thickness of 4/20, doubled up it works the same as 4/20. For 90 count I use the sharp size 12 beading needles as the ballpoint is just too blunt too go through the tiny holes.

I will admit to doing things sometimes quite a lot different from other petitpointers :-) my advice is to always stitch a small area with different stitches and threads and see what you like on which counts regarding coverage. Personally if I hold it up against a strong light I don't want to see holes in it...except if I really want it to look like a threadbare 300 year old rug that has had many feet walking over it through the ages.

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CarolynDenning

Catherine, you can easily use the DMC for the 35, 40 and 50. 2 strands for the 35 and 1 for the 40 and 50. A 26 needle for the 35 and 40 and a 28 for the 50. Or just the 28 for all 3. I haven't done a lot of stitching in the higher counts but a #12 will work for most of the higher counts I've used Gutermann silk for 58 and YLI #100 silk for 75. Using a half cross rather than the tent will make the higher counts less bulky. It's just a matter of getting used to stitching in a different way. I love using basketweave for backgrounds but haven't tried it on higher counts. There are a lot of Petitpointers who have way more experience in higher counts than I. I think I read somewhere that you have a Daylight mag lamp. The higher counts I would find impossible without mine.

Carolyn

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WeekendMiniaturist

I also use standard brands of embroidery floss, DMC and Silk, will work on counts up to 48.  At 56 count and to 64, I really like antique silk threads, in Antique Size A, (Belding Corticelli, Hemingway, etc,) and current mfgs:  Tire, YLI, Clover, Superior Silk threads on a spool are in 50 weight and 100 weight sizes.  I think I get similar coverage from Antique Size A, as you do with 50 weight current silk mfgs... You can purchase these size 50 and 100 weight at quilt stores.  I admit that before I found petitpointers group of miniaturists I was really obsessed with antique silk sewing threads.  The antique threads are expensive, if a fly fisherman is interested in the same colors you are interested...

 

For silk embroidery floss, for counts up to 48... I like Soie D'Alger the best, and I also purchased Eterna (out of business a few years ago), Splendor, and Needlepoint Inc.  As our chemistry is different, different stitchers like different fibers, and I also have an entire collection of Ping Ling that Annelle & I split a collection that I found on eBay.

 

Depending on how you thread the needle, the length of your thread, and how you twist or pull your thread through your ground fabric affects if floss knots on you or not, and that is probably one of the largest reasons why people like different brands of silk fiber.

 

Tire Silk, also had a color card, but are out of business too... It appears that when a silk supplier does go out of business now, that someone else steps up to distribute, so all the crazy stitching people in North America can continue our love of stitching.  Since I have been stitching Eterna & Tire have been discontinued, and I think YLI Silk Embroidery floss is also being discontinued as we speak.

 

I haven't purchased a lot of silk from the UK, but if I was over there with the group, I'm not sure I could resist if we got to see Pipers in person.

But truthfully, I would rather go fabric shopping in the UK, then fiber shopping... we have plenty of fiber here to purchase in person, and without the conversion from the dollar to sterling pound...but I would love to go to Liberty of London...

 

And then of course silk floss also has overdyes...

 

It is really common that no matter how large of a stash of fiber that we are always missing the perfect color. 

 

It is my opinion, that pipers 4/20 and 2/20 are the hardest floss to manage... they are just so "whispy" and snag on your hands, that I tend to want to avoid them, as YLI, and Superior are readily available in the US, and I would only use pipers if I wasn't able to untwist something in the floss stash...and if I am really desperate, you can fray silk fabric, like a dupioni and use this in your needle.  It is equally wispy and a pain to use, but it is another option.

 

Normally, I would not stitch anything past 64... and I would only stitch 72 count for the fronts of the casket doors... 64 is really my limit.

 

My favorite 60 count project is the slippers (by Bobbie Schoonmaker) from Annelle's book.

 

 

Tamra

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Catherine Ronan

Thank you all for such great answers.  :)  How lucky we are to have this forum for all the knowledgeable help available.

 

I think I will print all of your answers until I feel confident.

 

Tamra,

 

I have used silk embroidery floss for different sorts of embroidery projects. You really do need a great manicure to deal with it. A metalsmiths hands are a bit like a cheese grater. haha

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WeekendMiniaturist

Catherine, I've never had a professional had a in my entire life... :D it gets in the way of my mini tool & supply budget... we have to have priorities!

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WeekendMiniaturist

Just another thought about old / discontinued threads... as long as the threads are not dry rotted, you can definitely use them.  But I mentioned brands of silk threads that are discontinued so you would have a reference.  Just a thought to consider, that you don't want to get your heart set on a discontinued line of silk embroidery floss for the background color of a large carpet.

 

Generally speaking, I purchase a couple extra skeins of the background color - if the skein of silk floss is $5, it is a $10 inexpensive insurance policy.

 

Tamra

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Catherine Ronan

Tamera,

 

I found out what it was like to run out of a thread. I ran out of the off white and had to buy a close DMC and dye it with some transparent inks I have. I was very lucky to get an exact match for the fringe. I will always buy extra now. ;-)

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