I get asked quite frequently for recommendations for what size/type needles to use and what threads to use for stitching with wool.
It’s really just personal preference and how much money you wish to spend. There are lots of different choices and the picture above shows just some. In the picture is wool thread, DMC embroidery floss, DMC size 8 Pearl Cotton, and DMC size 5 Pearl Cotton.
My personal preference is ….
DMC size 8 Pearl Cotton thread.
It’s doesn't tangle as easily as floss and you don’t have to mess with pulling apart strands. The thread is tightly twisted so it makes it a stronger thread than floss. In my own opinion, I think it holds up better over time which is important if you’re making heirloom penny rugs.
The downside of pearl cotton is that it’s a lot more expensive than floss and it tends to be more difficult to find. I have a really large stockpile of it but if I need particular colors, I keep watch on Joann Fabrics website for sales on it. If bought with a free shipping coupon, it’s an excellent price. Joann’s makes it really difficult to find the colors you need but the price makes it worth the time. It’s on sale now! (March 10, 2012)
This is the thread that I most often suggest for stitchers to use. It’s inexpensive, comes in a ton of different colors and most important, it’s really easy to find at any craft store. I don’t use this much in my own stitching because I prefer the size 8 but I do use this if I don’t have the right color in the pearl cotton. This floss seems to breed like bunnies in my thread bin. I don’t know how I can accumulate so much because I really don’t use it that much!
If you do have a big stash of brightly colors threads that you don’t use, throw the threads into a dye pot of hot water and a little Tan colored Rit Dye. It mutes the colors nicely, making them more primitive colors.
This is a thicker thread than the size 8 pearl cotton. I like to use this size for my outside edges because it lays so nice and is just the right thickness for the edge. I don’t normally use it for the appliqué stitching because generally, it’s a little too thick. Like the size 8 pearl cotton, the thread is tightly twisted so it’s strong. It’s a lot easier to find colors of this than the size 8 . The basic colors can be found at craft stores.
I really love working with wool threads. Because it’s wool fiber, the colors are so pretty…muted and soft. I’ve found that the wool threads that I’ve used generally tend to be not as strong as the cotton thread. But just the feel of the wool thread going through wool is soo nice. :)
It’s costly too but try looking for vintage spools of it. I’ve have a pretty big collection of them with wool thread. Anytime I’m out at an antique show, I look for the spools with woolen threads and yarns on them. Just the cost of wool thread alone makes these vintage spools a bargain!..usually $1-$4 a spool. I’ve never paid more than $4 for one.
Of course there are lots of other types of threads that can be used. Let me know what threads you prefer to use….we can compare!
Now for needles…
I’m pretty sure that most of them are like this package of Chenille needles. I use an assorted size of needle eyes though, not just this 24 size. It’s all personal preference, really. I prefer to use a needle that’s worn in a bit… I stab myself too much so the brand new, really sharp needles injure my fingers too much. The pincushion that I use is filled with natural wool roving so the lanolin in the wool keeps my needles and pins in really nice condition. I can use the same needle for years. I get a lot of stitching mileage out of those needles!
Happy Day Everyone!