Stitch Tip #7: Thread Size Matters

Turns out that size does matter! At least as far as hand embroidery thread goes. I use four sizes of pearl cotton thread for stitching: sizes 3, 5, 8, and 12.

Size 5 works terrific on wool and felt fabrics, and the thick size 3 is best for couching. But when stitching fused art quilts or creating free-form embroideries, I prefer sizes 8 and 12 pearl cotton thread. These two sizes have different qualities and use when embroidering designs.

Today’s Stitch Tip: Thread Size Matters

Size 8 is bold and sits on the surface of fuzzy wool and felt fabrics illustrated in this detail of On Pins and Needles from Playful Free-Form Embroidery. That hefty string from the pincushion to the strawberry? Stitched with a size 8. The intense pattern on the bird’s wing and texture of the tablecloth? Both were created with size 8. And the tomato leaves owe their solid shape to size 8.

But when I need something more subtle, I choose a size 12. It is finer than the size 8 and demands less attention. You see it in the striped wallpaper and tiny seeds on the strawberry. Fine lines or detailed shapes like the bird’s eye and pins and needles on the pincushion are best made with size 12 thread.

So you see. Size does matter!