Thread Hunting and the Elusive U

Stop, shadow of my elusive beloved
Image of enchantment that I most desire
Beautiful illusion for whom I happily die
Sweet fiction for whom I painfully live

– Juana Ines de l Cruz

Do you live for the chase, seeking what you have yet to find? If you love stitching, this may be just the hunt for you…
I  grew up in the U.S, where we learned a song called “Fifty Nifty United States,”  singing the names of all the states in alphabetical order. I am wondering, could I take a similar concept to thread and come up with at least 50 thread lines to fill out the Alphabet?  The emphasis is on consumer vs. industrial threads; for the sewing machine vs. serger or hand sewing.
Following each thread is an abbreviation for the manufacturer. I may not own all, but have come in contact with most of these. (Please help me grow this list with your comments below)

Aurifil (A), Coats & Clark (C), Caron (Ca), DMC (D), Genziana (Gz),  Gutermann (G), Kreinik (K), Linda Palaisy (LP), Madeira (Md), Marathon (Mr), Mettler (Me), Presencia (P), Robison-Anton (RA), Signature (Sg), Sulky (Su), Superior (Sp), Thread Gatherer (T), The Thread Studio (Ts) Valdani (V), WonderFil (W), Weeks Dye Works (Wk), Xie (X), Yenmet (Yt), YLI (Y), Artisan/Specialty (*)

Here we go:

Aurifil Cotton

Aurifil (A), Accent (W), Aerofil (Md), Astro Color (Md),

Bottom Line (Sp), Brytes (Sp), Brilliance Metallic Glow in the Dark (Y), Blendables (Su), Braid (K), Basting (G), Beading (C), Basting & Bobbin (C)

Charlottes Fusible Web (Sp), Cotton Covered Polyester (Sg), Candlelight (Y), Cotona (Md), Cotton (Mr), Cotton 50 or 60 (P), Canvas #24 Braid (K-couch)

WonderFil's Dazzle

Dual Duty XP (C), Dual Duty Plus (C), Decora (Md), Dazzle (W) D Twist (W), DecoBob (W), Denim (& Extra Strong Denim) (C)

Elastic (G), Ellen Anne Eddy’s Hand Dyed (*), El Molino (P)

El Molino, from Presencia, for Bobbin-work and hand embellishing

Frostings (Sp), Frosted Matt (Md), Fine Metallic (Y), Fusible (Mr), Fiberactive Organic (Y), Flower Thread (Y), Fusions (YLI), Fruitti (W), Fine (C), Fire Fighter (Md), Finca Metallic (P)
Glitter (Sp), Glamour (Md), Glow Bug (Y), Grilon (*), Fashion Twist (K), Fine Twist (K), Facets (K- Couch)

Madeira Glamour No. 12

Halo (Sp), Highlights (Sp), Hand Dyed (LP, Wk, V), Heavy Metal (Md) , Haloshimmer (Su), Heavy (C)

Linda Palaisy Hand Dyed

InvisaFil (W), Iron-on (K), Invisible Monofilament (Su), Illuminations (Ts)

The Thread Studio: Illuminations

Jeans Stitch (Y), Jeans (G), Jenny Haskins (RA), J Metallic (RA)

King Tut (Sp), Kaleidoscope (Y), Konfetti (W), Kreinik Very Fine Braid #4 (K), Kreinik Fine #8 Braid (K-bobbin), Kreinik Medium #16 Braid (K-Couch), Kreinik Heavy #32 Braid (K- Couch)

Superior's King Tut

Lana (Md), Lana Wool (A), Living Colors (Sp), Lava (Sp), Linen (G), Luxury Pearl Silk (V)

Mako 12,28,40 or 50(A), Monet (Y), Multis (Y), Metallic Mini (Mr), Mirage (W), Moon Glow (RA), Micro Ice Chenille (K- couch), Machine Embroidery Thread Art 237 (D)

Nite Light (Sp), Nature’s Colors (Sp), Natural Cotton (G)

Opal (Md), Outdoor Living (C), Oliver Twist (*), Oriental Linen (T), Ombre (K- bobbin)

Pixelles (Sg), Poly Sheen Embroidery (Mt), Poly Deco (Su), Pearl (Perlé) Cotton (V), Pearlessence (Y), Perfect Quilter (Sp), Poly Quilter (Sp), Pearl Crown Rayon (Y), PolyNeon (Md), Pat Bravo Cotton Quilt (Sg) Petite Facets (K- couch), Pearl Cotton Balls #12 (D)

Valdani Quilting & Sewing

Quilting (G, Y), Quilting & Sewing Spools (V)

Rainbows (Sp), Razzle Dazzle(Sp), Ribbon Floss (Y), Rayon (Su, Md, Mr), Razzle (W), Rust Dyed (LP)

Sue Spargo Wool

Silco (W), So Fine (Sp), Sunburst (Sp), Superior Metallic (SP), Spectra/Jewel (Md) Silk (G), Superbrite Poly (RA), Solar Active (Mr, Y, *), Shrink (Mr), Silk FInish Embroidery (M), Sunstop (Sg), Soy Silk (LP), Star Quilting (C), Sizzle (W), Spagetti (W), Silk Sparkle (Y), Silken Pearl (T), Sheep’s Silk (T), Silk (V), Sue Spargo (Gz), Silver Metalized Gimp (K), Silk Bella (K), Silk Serica (K- Bobbin), Sparkle (Ts)

Gutermann Silk

Top Stitch (G), Twilight (Yt), Twister Tweed (RA), Tutti (W) Tire Silk (*), Tapestry #12 (K-bobbin)

U ?

Vanish (Sp), Valdani Quilting & Sewing (V)

Waxed Hand Quilting (Mt), Wonder Invisible (Y), Wash-A-Way (Y), Wash-Away (Mr), Weeks Dye Works Sewing (Wk), Wildflowers (Ca)

Kreinik ZFT

X-Ray Detectable Thread (ok… bet you can see right through this one!); Xie Bamboo (X)

Y (YLI, Yenmet)

ZFT Fine Twist Mettalic (K)

So, Why do this you ask?

Just when I think that I’ve tried them all…a reminder that there are usually more options than what I first reach for.

It’s interesting to consider: How differently would a project have turned out if a different thread was chosen? Did I think twice before selecting or just reach for the old standard?

What am I on a quest to try? (I would like to get a spool of Yenmet’s Twilight)

Yenmet colors

Can U Help?

There are some weak spots in my fifty nifty (which actually is at about 121 now!). What have you tried that I haven’t listed? Any thoughts to share for the elusive U ( or X, Y or a touch of Z)? “S” is currently the lead letter, but will it be able to maintain? What else can be added to the list?

Tell me about your experiences with any of these and beyond. I will eventually list a resource chart with all that we can come up with.

Thanks a bunch for your help. (and there just might be a random draw for some free thread!)

*Note I: About twenty more lines were added to the list on June 26

*Note II: A few brands that are available, but not listed by any particular “line” above include: Stef Francis, Victory, Peacock, Isacord, Floriani, Conso Nylon

*Note III: Certain Artisan brands/lines (i.e. Thread gatherer, Oliver Twist, Stef Francis)are not specifically made for machine sewing, but can be adapted with a larger needle or bobbin sewing.

*Note IV: 6/29/10- NEW ADDITIONS! Under Kreinik (thanks Kreinik!), DMC (thanks Maggie!)Artisan and Xie (Thanks Isabel!)— CHANGE: I have started to denote certain threads that are most appropriate for couching or bobbin sewing as such. While there might be lots of eligable candidates for couching, I think that I should stick to only those offered by thread companies to keep the “Thread” focus of the list

What’s with the opening quote? It uses the word “elusive” and is beautiful.

* I have no commercial interest in any of the thread companies listed. This list is provided for information only and is based on the most current data available (including the company’s websites)


14 thoughts on “Thread Hunting and the Elusive U

  1. Hi Marie,

    Thanks for having a look at the list! While I did include Presencia in the manufacturer’s list up on top (& then as ‘cotton 50 or 60’), you reminded me that I forgot to include El Molino in “E.” I quite enjoyed using this non-pliable rayon for bobbin-work. I added that one, along with a reference image. I popped over to your long arm quilting site. It looks like you have enjoyed their cottons a lot. I agree— a great all-around thread. Happy Sewing, Deb

  2. Hey Debbie- great list of threads! I have several large spools of Natesh- it’s rayon from India- I didn’t see that on your list? Also I have another rayon called Isafil- I used to buy it in a shop called The Really Good Fabric Store. I wish it was still around, because it was- really good, that is!

    Oh- yes- for “U” how about “unwound”? 🙂

  3. Love the list – fun fun. There’s Fashion Twist by Kreinik, Fine Twist by Kreinik, Silver Metallized Gimp by Kreinik. You can also use Kreinik Very Fine #4 Braid in the needle of a sewing machine. Other Kreinik threads – Ombre, Fine #8 Braid, Tapestry #12 Braid – can be used in the bobbin. And the thicker “fun stuff” can be couched: Micro Ice Chenille, Medium #16 Braid, Canvas #24 Braid, Heavy #32 Braid, 1/18″ Ribbon, Facets, Petite Facets. Silk Bella by Kreinik goes through the needle. Silk Serica can be used in the bobbin. Hm, but still no “u” threads…

  4. In response to you quest for threads, I don’t see DMC on your list. I’ve just sewn wool hearts on wool backgrounds using the sewing machine with #12 pearl cotton using a size 18 needle.

    • Hi Maggie,
      Thanks a bunch for taking the time to let me know. I will add DMC right now. How does the DMC come? On a spool or a ball or hank?
      I have not seen it i n stores… but an image search showed me a few spools… You’ve piqued the curiosity!

  5. Debbie: Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. My hands are now itching to get to the sewing machine and my head is itching to get to a shop to find those threads!

please chime in

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