Year of the Stitch: Thread Sizes

The threads I use most frequently for hand embroidery are my hand-dyed sizes 8 and 12 pearl cotton threads. Why these threads?

Pearl cotton threads have a slight sheen, are strong, and most importantly sit up on the fabric. They don’t flatten out like a 6 stranded floss. They lift up on the surface to add texture and excitement to your artwork.

Here’s How I Use the 2 Different Thread Sizes

The 2 sizes of thread (8 and 12) are perfect for stitching the flowers sprouting from the top of my Year of the Stitch Whimsy Lane quilt. The stems of the flowers are very skinny, about 1/8 inch wide. To give them strength and texture, I add straight stitches at an angle across each stem. This thread is a fun loving size 12 Peas in a Pod thread.

Size 12 is the finest thread I dye. You can see the difference between a size 12 and a size 8 pearl cotton thread by comparing it to the size 8 Oranges thread on the roof top. For finer elements in a design, I recommend the size 12 pearl cotton.

Next up is a size 8 Lettuce thread for the flowers. I use back stitches to outline the edges of the flower petals and fly stitches to outline flower tips. Notice how the petals appear more prominent when stitched? That is the size 8 giving them vigor, adding life to the flowers, and taking your work from flat to fabulous!