Friday, September 26, 2008

A True Sampler, the Sequel

I have been working on the Spots of Fun SAL again. As I said in my post of August 31 [A True Sampler], I am using this project to play with fibers. I am rediscovering just why I love some old favorites like the Caron, WDW & GAST lines and am discovering some new-to-me fibers that I know I'll be adding to my stash in great depth like the Belle Soie and Thread Gatherer collections. I am also making a list of moderately priced workhorse type threads that are to specialty threads what DMC is to cotton floss, like the Rainbow Gallery and Kreinik products. There'll be no picture today because I need to do some frogging. I have two skeins of WDW Sedona which prove dramatically how diverse dyelots can be: one skein shades from golden browns>gold>golden yellow and the other shades from purplish browns>maroon>coral. Since I have used both color ways in this piece I thought it would be interesting to do a motif in each of the Sedonas. Well, it simply didn't work ... on this particular fabric, the second Sedona, with its preponderance of the purplish brown, becomes a garish muddy purple and a very unpleasant pink. And, of course, I chose one of the larger motifs for this floss: the bunch of grapes. Once I pick it all out, I'll re-stitch in Belle Soie Buttercup silk.

So, to reporting on a few more fibers.

--Belle Soie Silks [Colors: Pumpkin Carriage, Lasagna, Buttercup, Carrot Cake] These are exquisite silks, easy to strand, with a lovely soft sheen, rich colors and a high loft on the fabric. And a delight to stitch ... no snagging or knotting ... and, even though I never had to dangle my needle when using an 18" double ply strand, the silk continued to lay beautifully and neatly.

--Caron Waterlilies: a 12 ply silk that remains one of my favorite silks with which to stitch. It strands easily, stitches smoothly and lays beautifully. I love the range of overdye colors ... a great palette ... and reasonably easy to find and order on line and through my nearest LNS.

--Caron Wildflowers: a very fine cotton perle overdye, one strand beautifully covers 28ct and up stitching over two. This floss picks up light a little differently than smooth flosses and adds interest and texture to the piece. And, again, the palette of colors is extensive.

--Catherine Jordan Cotton Overdyes Comparable to WDW amd GAST in quality. Generally speaking, Catherine Jordan's palette tends toward the more muted and subdued tones of soft vegetal dyes. I don't know whether these are commercially available as I came by mine at a CATS class taught by Ms. Jordan.

--Kreinik Silk Moire: This silk feels a little coarse in my hand. It's not one I would use again.

--Rainbow Gallery Fuzzy Stuff: A fussy thread that requires patience, care and a short length ... but is oh so much fun once stitched ... it adds texture, weight and catches the light differently than any other thread on the sampler ... it was a joy to use for a small motif in Spots of Fun but I am not sure I would have the patience to stitch larger areas of hair or animal fur with this fiber in other designs ... not unless I were using a much lower thread count fabric like a 10 ct tula.

--Rainbow Gallery Mandarin Floss: I wrote about all the reasons I love this floss in my August 3 post.

--Rainbow Gallery Splendor A perfectly acceptable silk, less expensive than Thread Gatherer, Caron, Belle Soie and other "carriage trade" silks. Wide range of colors. Relatively easy to stitch with though the needle should be dangled frequently to avoid twisting and to ensure a proper laying of the silk on the fabric. A good choice when price is a consideration.


Erynne said...

Thank you for another brilliant fiber report Riona!! I hope you don't mind if I copy/paste your reviews into a word doc for my own reference. I'd actually like to take it shopping with me when I go to the LNS.
Maybe it's just me, but do you find that some fibers, such as GAST and WDW, have this dry feeling about them? I like them both, don't get me wrong but I do wonder if it's all in my head,lol.

Thank you!

riona said...

Erynne, I am flattered that you find my reviews of the fibers I have used to be useful. Feel free to copy/paste/bookmark anything you like.
As to your question about the cotton over-dyes: I find that WDW often feels dry and just a little coarse to me ... I don't have the same problem with Crescent Colors or Gentle Art Sampler Threads. Of the three, I tend to like the palette of GAST best... though I find that I use a lot of WDW as well as GAST for samplers and for the folk art/primitive style of many of my favorite designers [Prairie Schooler, Blackbird Designs, Homespun Elegance, Workbasket]. I have a small collection of Crescent Colors since their color range seems to suit the more contemporary or whimsical designs of folks like Lizzie Kate or Glory Bee ... I do stitch some of these charts, but not nearly as often as the others. Just lately, though, I find myself attracted to Quaker motifs and to reproduction and/or historical samplers and stitching accessories that cry out for silks. One of the projects I want to work on next is a stitching bag with a quote from Jane Austen and a scene rather like the sort ladies of Regency England might have stitched. I will definitely be kitting that up with some of the Thread-Gatherer silks or silk and wool blends that I discovered while working on Spots of Fun.