All of these and fabric are made from threads. The threads do not have to be cotton. You can get cotton, polyester, cotton and poly together, silk, rayon, and other mixtures of synthetics. Many have the same feel, drape, and or hand when woven into fabric.
Fabric has a thread count per inch. The higher the count, the more threads per inch. This would usually mean finer thread for the tighter weave and threads per inch. Fabrics with a lower thread count can still have a finer thread. This gives you a good drape for clothing and a soft flowy feel. The same thread count with a thicker thread would give you a fabric with a more substantial feel. Any of these are good for clothing or quilts. All sew well and last. It depends how you like your projects to finish.
Thread counts get larger as the thread gets finer. Most sewing threads are two threads twisted together (2ply). The largest we carry is 8, the finest is 100. Our 8 Perle Cotton is one large strand that works for Sashiko, Big Stitch, and embroidery stitching. We also have some 30wt. hand sewing thread. This is lightly waxed so it will glide through all the layers. Any size thread will work for machine quilting depending on your project and machine. If you want your quilting to show, use a lower count. You may want to use a 50wt in your bobbin. Play with the thread weights to see what you machine likes best. 40wts show nicely. 50wt and 60wt won’t show as much. If you want to applique or collage quilt and not have the stitching show at all, use a clear or smoke monofilament polyester or 100wt poly(2ply).
Embroidery floss is stranded threads that come in skeins of six threads. You can use whatever number of threads you want. Patterns will give suggestions for how many threads to use. Embroidery projects usually use two or three strands. Want a bolder look, use all six. Cross stitch varies based on the thread count of your fabric. Aida cloth usually has you going across one thread and has you using two embroidery threads. Higher count fabrics have you going across two threads and using one embroidery thread. Again, you decide if you want a bolder or quieter look and play with the number of embroidery threads you use at a time. Embroidery floss can be vat dyed or hand dyed. Hand dyed can be over dyed for bright colors and some variegation in the color. It is also dyed to have several colors on one skein. Depending on your project, any will work. BUT you decide what look you would like.
So, lets talk about knitting and crocheting yarn.
There is a Craft Yarn Council that’s sets the standards for knitting and crocheting. They have standards for both knitting and crocheting patterns – how to read them, the abbreviations used, chart symbols, and so much more. Check them out at: Craft Yarn Council
Yarn is sized from Lace (0) to Jumbo (7). The craft yarn council also has recommended needle size for the yarn sizes. They also chart what size your knitting or crocheting swatch should be for the yarn and needle size. You need to read your pattern to decide what size yarn and needle to use. Just like with cross stitch and embroidery, you can change the size or look of the project is you choose. I tend to use light and medium weight yarn. It’s kind of like having 40wt – 60wt thread around for your sewing projects. Go here for more info from the Council.
Quick lesson on crochet hooks and knitting needles. They have metric measurements (mm) and U. S. Size ranges on them. Sizes start with 1.5 mm/000 for knitting needles and 2.25 mm/B-1 for crochet hooks. The go up to 35 mm/70 for knitting needles and 30mm/T/X for crochet hooks. Most patterns will list both for picking out the recommended project size needle or hook. The Council recommends that you rely on the metric sizing since it’s more precise than the U. S. sizing. I haven’t knitted enough to know what size needles to use or that I like. For crocheting, I own a range – from 2.25 mm/B to 15 mm/P/Q. I use 4.25 mm/G to 6.5mm/K the most with light and medium weight yarn. Be sure to read the note about steel hooks on the Council’s page on hooks and needles. I have several from my grandmothers. Be sure to check the Council's page on Hooks and Needles.
Nothing new in the store this week. But be sure to check out our calendar for classes. Our next Beginning Quilting class starts June 16th. We have two piecing classes in July. Hope to see you in one of them.
Happy sewing everyone,
Phyllis and the QA staff