Embroidery and Needlepoint threads come in a wide range of fibers and colours, each with its own special qualities.  Some can be used for lots of different types of embroidery; others are suitable for a particular purpose.

They fall into two groups:

  • divisible threads
  • non-divisible threads

Divisible threads can be separated or combined to make thinner or thicker threads. You can also use several lengths of some non-divisible threads together for a bulky look.

Before starting a project, cut the threads into manageable lenghts of no more than 30 – 40 cm. To keep them neat and prevent tangling, store them in a thread organizer.

thread organizer

Brilliant cutwork and embroidery thread is a non-divisible thread available in quite a few colors. It is often used for blackwork and monograms.

Metallic threads are available in a limited number of shades. They are effective for highlighting stitches in other threads and can also be used on their own.

Tapestry yarn is a hardwearing twisted thread which cannot be divided. Small skeirs are available in a wide tange of colors. Large skeins for background areas come in a restricted color range.

Crewel yarn is a fine. Non-divisible wool thread which is widely used for crewelwork.

Embroidery floss is made up of six strands which can be divided and recombined to give whatever thickness you require.

Danish flower thread is a fine non-divisible thread with a matte finish. It is used for counted thread embroidery particularly counted cross stitch.

Ribbon comes in many different colors, widths, and materials.

Matte embroidery cotton is o heavy twisted thread with a matte finish. It works well on fairly coarse fabric and cannot be divided.

Machine embroidery threads are available in a wide variety of colors. They may be glossy or metallic and some are space-dyed with stripes. They are non-divisible.

Silk is usually reserved for luxury fabrics such as silk. This divisible thread should be used in short lenghts only as it snogs and wears thin quickly.

Pearl cotton is a shiny twisted thread available in three weights (3.5 and 8) and a range of solid and shaded colors it cannot be divided.

Persian yarn consists of three fine, loosely twisted strands which you can divide and then recombine.

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