This post is really a bit of a repeat of a blog post I made way over 10 years ago, comparing threads when working a straightforward death's head wrap.
Of course, back then, the image was interesting, but probably not that helpful - I can't even identify all the threads! But now, with phone cameras being so good, I thought I would revisit this.
All of these buttons have been worked over our No 117 turned wood mould (20mm).
Starting with Presencia Finca Cotton Perle, in sizes 12 and 8.
Size 8 perle is my teaching go to. It is easy to see the thread placement, covers well, and still retains a nice sheen. When I want something finer, I go for the size 12. I think it is good to start with a thread that isn't going to break the bank, or be scary to work with, especially when teaching and designing. These both do this job really well. It also has the benefit of being on a ball, so no guessing how much thread you'll need - very helpful in a workshop situation!
We place stranded embroidery thread into a few of our kits. The button on the left was worked with a single strand, and you can see how a finish more like a floss silk can be achieved - so it is perfect when wanting to show the patterns more clearly. The button on the right uses all 6 strands at the same time - however, in order to achieve the shiny look, I did separate all strands then lay them back together first. This removes the twist and gives a more flossy look to the thread.
Again, this is a really affordable way to start practising more complex designs - the biggest issue is cutting the length and separating the strands, but at least you can add more thread if you've cut too little.
a DeVere 36 twist filament silk,
In all of these, the thread is so fine you can just see the mould beneath. In actual fact, this is much more obvious on the photo than in real life. However, for darker threads, I would normally colour the mould to stop the contrast - a black sharpie works a treat, and black coloured button moulds are known. But that wouldn't have been the best comparison for you.
All are good threads for more complex woven designs, where the spaces become invisible as well. The Marathon was probably the trickiest, and I did wax the mould on this one. I like the way the cross is nicely pronounced on the Rajmahal button.
Au Ver s Soie:
The Soie D'Alger is a spun silk, and I have used a single strand (it is divisible as with DMC cotton). It has a nice soft sheen and lovely to work with. Being softer than the tighter twists of the previous image, it fills the spaces better. It is a nice affordable silk choice I think, but, as with all spun silks, the sheen is a little less than with filament.
The wool is one of my favourite threads actually. It is the perfect weight for thread buttons. I know, I've chosen a rather darker colour, so perhaps hard to see, but it really is lovely to work with for a very different look.
Au Ver a Soie :
Three of my favourite threads for wrapped buttons. They are all filament (or reeled) silk.
Gobelins is perfect for fancy woven and interwoven designs, it is super fine and you need good lighting! A button made with this does take time, but usually is worth it.
The perlee is lovely for tidy silk buttons. Like a cotton perle, there is a twist, which makes it good for weaving and for grappe techniques. It's very similar to historical weight silk twists, and works well for multi colour wraps.
The ovale - this flat silk is just perfect for a glossy death's head. All of the single colour wraps work really well with this, as you can see, the cross really stands out beautifully yet the individual wraps have melded to appear as though one. You need to keep if flat as you work for best effect, so bear that in mind.
And before anyone says - yes, I know it would have been good to get the colours all the same. But, that's not actually possible for some of the threads, and I did think it best to not raid stock just for this post! I've enough threads to get the examples done. :)
There are still a few to come, so watch this space!
Stay safe and well all of you.