Metallic Threads: Thread Testing & Opinion Master Blog

Original blog post was written by @emzolv on July 29, 2020 and was reposted to this blog with permission. 

Hey everyone! Okay so this has been a long time in the making, so I apologise profusely for the delay that this has taken. I could sit here and wax lyrical with excuses but frankly – this is very overdue and well, I’m here to rectify that!

The original plan was to create a blog featuring all about metallic (and shiny/glittery) threads – from the brands and their products, how they feel to use and what they are like to cross stitch. I hope to come out of this learning some new awesome things myself, and hopefully help anyone also curious to use them. Note that if you do goldwork, you likely know far more specialist advice and already have tools and favoured threads, so you may not gain anything new from this!

Contents

Threads currently covered:

  • Anchor Lamé
  • Anchor Marlitt
  • DMC Satin Embroidery Thread
  • DMC Light Effects
  • DMC Light Effects – Antique
  • DMC Light Effects – Pastels
  • Gütermann Metallic Effect Thread
  • Kreinik 1/16″ Ribbon
  • Kreinik Blending Filament
  • Kreinik Cable
  • Kreinik Cord
  • Kreinik Fine #8 Braids
  • Kreinik Japan Threads
  • Rainbow Gallery Nordic Gold
  • Rainbow Gallery Sparkle! Braid
  • Rainbow Gallery Treasure Braid

Thank You’s!

Before we start, some necessary thank you’s! It’s been four years in the making and all those that have helped within this blog have been so kind and patient, so these must be said!

Cara & the team at DMC Creative World Ltd – a huge thanks for the provision of the numerous DMC threads, in all metallic varieties, for inclusion and unbiased review within this blog. Your support and eagerness to be involved has been incredibly appreciated!

Dena and the team at Kreinik– a huge thank you for the information surrounding your range of Kreinik threads, as well as always posting tips via your social media, which has been incredibly helpful for a complete newbie using metallics!

Natalie and the team at Madeira– a huge thank you for providing product information and thread charts, which have been incredibly helpful to ensure my blog is accurate!

Disclaimers

I feel it is imperative to state that I have always been a user of DMC embroidery cottons for my personal cross stitch projects (a similar disclaimer was made on my DMC Coloris blog). However, I have never used their metallic threads until this blog project (or in fact, I’ve never used any of these metallic threads before except Kreinik for a stitch-along which you can find here).

I have ensured that this blog is a fair representation of all brands products, with their own pros and cons and how I genuinely felt using them, or the aesthetic look when experimenting. Aside from threads provided out of support by DMC have been paid for with my own money, as has all fabric – all time spent on this has been in my own spare time outside of my work. I receive no money or incentive to do this other than my own curiosity and desire to experiment.

Additionally, I’ve not been exceptionally experienced in using metallic threads, so a lot of these are first impressions and ‘beginner’ perceptions. So be prepared for the beginner in me to come out. I’m also deliberately not using bees wax or a smoothening product, as I want this to be as ‘straight out the box’ as you can get. Using these types of products will improve any fraying you experience with metallic threads.

Right, with all those disclaimers and thanks out of the way, let’s jump into this!

Anchor Lamé

Brand Website Link: Anchor Lamé

Thread Numbers: 318

Brand Advice: Anchor state that “Lamé is a strandable metallic embroidery thread in 6 metallic colours, which is mainly used in combination with Anchor Stranded Cotton for additional effects in embroidery. Anchor Lamé has a viscose rayon/polyester metallic construction on 8m skeins, and can be divided into 12 individual strands depending on the thickness of the thread required. In addition to combining Anchor Lamé with Stranded Cotton for cross stitch, Anchor Lamé is very versatile and can be used for freestyle embroidery and goldwork”.  

Texture of Thread: This feels like a smooth, strong thread, scratchy when moved between the fingers. The individual threads (if pulling apart into strands) are very thin, and likely are more comparable with Kreinik #4 than the #8 detailed in this blog. When pulled into individual strands, they are very flyaway, lightweight and a little fiddly (can already agree with Anchor’s recommendation to use them with another stranded cotton!) 

Initial Stitching Thoughts: I completed the stitches on just the white aida (as the navy was difficult to photograph such thin threads accurately). I tried in the single 1 strand and the 2 strands (although admittedly, if we were using Anchor’s recommendation, it would be 1 strand with a stranded cotton in addition).

1 single strand is easy to work with, with little difficulty in maneuvering the thread through the fabric, no knotting and no fraying. Can easily see this would be a nice addition to a stranded cotton providing a metallic highlight accent. 

Two strands are where this starts to get a little more complex and have to pay more consideration and time to the results. Due to the very lightweight nature of the threads, it’s hard to keep the tension of both simultaneously (definitely not as easy as say, 2 stranded cotton strands) so sometimes when stitching, one strand would pull through fine and the other would create a raised bump. Need to take time and focus on ensuring both are pulled through at the same tension. 

Because the strands are so thin, as they are used for a highlight, colour payoff isn’t super intense, but would be if it was with the red stranded cotton (so red with red would be like BAM metallic shine).  

Test Summary: Definitely would take Anchor’s advice and use these in addition to a stranded cotton (I’d likely recommend a similar if not same shade as the metallic you pick up) as on their own, they are not thick enough to make a huge impact. Flexibility and user friendliness still up there, although adding strands on its own (Without a stranded cotton) can cause tension difficulties and more time taken when using. 

Anchor Marlitt

Anchor Marlitt Thread

Brand Website Link: Anchor Marlitt

Thread Numbers: 1069, 1212

Brand Advice: Anchor state that “Marlitt is a strandable 4 ply loosely twisted strandable embroidery thread with a lustre second to none, made from 100% Viscose rayon which produces a spectacular high sheen in rich colours. Available in 10m skeins, Anchor Marlitt is suitable for all types of freestyle and counted thread embroidery and can be stranded down to a single Ply where necessary. The brilliance of Anchor Marlitt makes it an alternative to Stranded Cotton where additional sheen or lustre is required in a design”.  

Texture of Thread: This is a very soft, flexible thread, which feels quite lightweight. As each thread contains 4 strands, it’s ever so slightly thicker than a stranded cotton, so have stitched in both 1 and 2 strands for the test. Likely comparable directly with DMC Satin. 

Initial Stitching Thoughts: The texture of the threads is very soft and smooth, so there needs to be consideration when pulling through to create full cross stitches, as an easily slip if you do not keep tension up (but not pull too hard). Found that considerate, slow stitching was worthwhile, creating full formed wonderful stitches in both 1 and 2 strands. 

I had no issues with either 1 or 2 strands, although did note that for some reason on Navy aida, it was slightly more complex to keep the threads untwisted (I have no idea why! I definitely stitched the same). The strands didn’t seem to fray too much when being worked with, and seemed to be relatively user friendly to stitch with. Colour payoff was intense with a very delightful shine that can be seen on both fabrics but not necessarily in the photos! 

Test Summary: Whilst not metallic, these threads do provide a delightful shine and sheen that can provide wonderful highlights to any project or piece. Also, it would be wrong to include DMC Satin, without including Anchor Marlitt, as both seem very similar in their texture, use and end result. I don’t want to conclude with a comparison, so I will say that Anchor is a very soft, wonderfully coloured thread with little to no fray issue during the test.

DMC Satin Threads

DMC Satin Threads

Brand Website Link: DMC Satin

Thread Numbers: S321, S552, S602, S700, S741, S820, S995 and S3820

Brand Advice: DMC state that these are “the glossiest DMC embroidery thread. Crafted from 100% Rayon fibres, this intensely coloured shiny thread really glides through fabric. With six easily separated size 25 strands, DMC Satin is perfect for surface embroidery and adding depth to your project”

Texture of Thread: Each of the skeins tested feel exceptionally soft and very smooth in nature, which easily slide through fingers and aida. Likely comparable with Anchor Marlitt.

Initial Stitching Thoughts: The test used 1 and 2 strands. With both, the slippery nature of the satin thread found some initial issues with grip and forming a flat whole cross stitch. However, taking the time to be considerate and slow with the pulling of the thread through the aida led to good results. 1 strand still held bright and vibrant colour, and could easily be used for backstitching.

2 strands I had slight issues with – firstly, due to the two strands gliding so easily over each other, often I had to give more consideration to ensure each full cross stitch sat neatly on the top of the fabric instead of with bumps or raised too high up (this depends on how uniform you like your stitches). Secondly, i found with the two strands rubbing against each other and with the natural twist of the handle and thread as building up a cross stitch, sometimes this caused the thread to fray more than with the single strand. Patience and carefulness required, or perhaps the use of a bees wax product to ensure no fray.

Test Summary: These were included within this blog and this test because of their shine (although not metallic). The photos do not provide credit – they remain as shiny on the fabric as they do when holding the skein in your hand. Their colour vibrancy is magnificent. If I had to recommend any tips, I’d suggest sticking to 1 strand where possible – the threads are still extremely bright and may save the frustration unless you have some handy beeswax.

DMC Light Effects

Brand Website Link: DMC Light Effects

Thread Numbers: E155, E321, E677, E699, E718, E3843 and E3852

Brand Advice: DMC state that these “add a glamorous metallic glimmer to your embroidery project. Formed of six easily divisible strands you can use alone or combine with stranded cotton for just a hint of shimmer. For the best stitching experience, work with a shorter length of Light Effects (no more than 30cm) to prevent fraying. If Light Effects become twisted while stitching, drop your needle and let it unwind itself.”

Texture of Thread: Each skein feels a little stiff, and scratchy when rubbing between two fingers, which I believe is due to the metallic / glitter element added within. Compared with Light Effects Pastels, these are a little softer and a little more flexible.

Initial Stitching Thoughts: Using DMC’s advice, I ensured each strand was cut to 30cm or less before stitching. Stitched in both 1 and 2 strands, on both white and dark navy aida. For some reason the camera wouldn’t focus very well on just the white, so the photo with both white + navy aida (with Pastels hidden) shows a more accurate view! Using 1 strand was relatively easy with no real difficulty noted (except natural twist and allowing the thread to unravel when it becomes twisted). The ends do tend to fray a little, so some wax or product to assist may be beneficial if stitching for long durations. Colour pay off for one strand is relatively good, and would make such good accents.

2 strands became a little more difficult and required consideration and a methodical, slow process to stitch – simply for similar reasons as to other threads so far. Using 2 strands tends to cause friction and fraying can cause a little bit quicker – again, a wax product for use with metallic threads will assist with this. Regardless, it was easier to stitch with this in 2 strands than with the Light Effects Pastels. Colour pay off with 2 strands is bright and vibrant, with a lovely shine.

Test Summary: I feel comfortable using these for accents, highlights and single strand backstitching. They definitely have a high colour impact (even with one strand) and a shine that is so lovely across fabric. With 2 strands, I could see this requiring slightly more notice and consideration whilst stitching, although nothing too time consuming or stressful. A little wax product for metallic threads could also help with this (for the fraying) and it’d be even easier. Definitely felt these could be very easily used for Christmas or Holiday accents within bigger designs, to give that glittery feel.

DMC Light Effects – Antique

Brand Website Link: DMC Light Effects – Antique

Thread Numbers: E3685

Brand Advice: DMC state that these “add a glamorous metallic glimmer to your embroidery project. Formed of six easily divisible strands you can use alone or combine with stranded cotton for just a hint of shimmer. For the best stitching experience, work with a shorter length of Light Effects (no more than 30cm) to prevent fraying. If Light Effects become twisted while stitching, drop your needle and let it unwind itself.”

Texture of Thread: Very similar in texture to DMC Light Effects Pastels, in that it feels quite stiff and scratchy when moving the thread between two fingers.

Initial Stitching Thoughts: I continued to use DMC advice and cut off shorter 30cm sections of thread to complete the stitches. Utilising 1 and 2 strands, the thread itself passed reasonably well through the fabric with no real knotting or getting stuck.

I found with 1 strand this was very easy to work with, with no real issue with having to take too much consideration into handling the thread. With 2 strands, I expected this to be similar to Pastels where they get caught a little and rub against each strand – however, much to my surprise, I found using this particular thread much easier with 2 strands than any of the pastel shades. I found it didn’t rub too much strand against strand and was a little on the easier side – a little like I had only picked on strand to use!

The colour vibrancy however was a little muted, likely because these colours were chosen to be rich but antique themed – the dark deep red doesn’t show up much as a colour on the navy, but the metallic within it does – whereas on the white aida, the colour was very deep red wine but the metallic didn’t show up as well. Consideration should be made for the colour choice and background for what kind of impact you may be after.

Test Summary: Similar to the other Light Effects, I feel reassured and content using these threads as accents and highlights within a project – I’d likely use this colour to help provide depth and shine to a Christmas project which includes a red wine type colour. Whereas the colour may not be as impactful (due to the ‘antique’ theme) the flexibility of the thread and ease remains quite high so it feels good to use them.

DMC Light Effects – Pastels

Brand Website Link: DMC Light Effects – Pastels

Thread Numbers: E211, E747, E746 and E818

Brand Advice: DMC state that these “add a glamorous metallic glimmer to your embroidery project. Formed of six easily divisible strands you can use alone or combine with stranded cotton for just a hint of shimmer. For the best stitching experience, work with a shorter length of Light Effects (no more than 30cm) to prevent fraying. If Light Effects become twisted while stitching, drop your needle and let it unwind itself.”

Texture of Thread: Each skein feels a little stiff, and scratchy when rubbing between two fingers, which I believe is due to the metallic / glitter element added within. Compared with other Light Effects threads, these are a little stiffer.

Initial Stitching Thoughts: Having used the advice by DMC, I stitched with a shorter strand (30cm strand length, which, I’ve never realised, feels so short!). Stitched in both 1 and 2 strands, on both white and dark navy aida. When using 1 strand, the thread was relatively easy to use, with little difficulty or toughness. Noted that although the thread isn’t as naturally flexible as normal stranded cotton, due to the texture of the thread you can bend it and it will stay bent (meaning individual cross stitches look really good).

With 2 strands, it became a little more difficult and I found some issue with fraying – likely caused by consistent friction between both strands. I felt I had to take my time a little more with these cross stitches to ensure they pulled through the fabric correctly and without catching. They looked very good on the white aida as against white, the pastel colours are quite muted (they give off a nice sheen and a slight hint of colour, which I think is beautiful). However, with the navy aida you can see that I’ve tried much harder because they appear so bright in contrast and you can see where some stitches may have been difficult.

With these threads focusing on pastel colours, the colour pay off for both 1 and 2 strands is reasonable – after all, in my creative mind I could see these being used as accents and highlights within designs, or even used to backstitch to create very cute baby related gifts.

Test Summary: I feel very reassured in using these for accents and highlights within designs and particularly loved single strand use on both white and coloured aida. I would perhaps only use 2 strand on white (or a very light fabric) if I really wanted a punch of pastel colour, as I would find it quite difficult to keep everything looking as neat and uniform as I personally, like. I’d also recommend that the ease of using this could be improved by using a wax product to help with the issues with fraying if encountered.

Gütermann Metallic Effect Thread

Brand Website Link: Gütermann Metallic Effect Thread

Thread Numbers: W331 in shade 247

Brand Advice: Gütermann state that “this metal-effect thread conjures up glittering, sparkling effects and is therefore suitable for decorative seams, as well as for creative craft ideas. Applications: for ornamental stitches and decorative seams, for creative crafting ideas, results in sparkling and twinkling effects, suitable as needle and reel thread and recommended needle and needle size NM Universal Needle 100 -110”

Texture of Thread: The thread feels relatively soft and very lightweight, with a slight scratchy stiffness (likely from the metallic filmaent within).

Initial Stitching Thoughts: The website didn’t expressly say to use with 1 or 2 strands, but as this is for use within a sewing machine as well as creatively crafting, I would strongly believe it’s likely recommended to use 1 strand.

1 strand was soft and smooth to use, with no particularly difficulty or any noted knotting or fraying.

When using two strands, I did come across a few difficulties – on the navy aida, I found it hard to get the stitches to look uniform, keeping tension the same throughout. It felt like when one strand was behaving, the other wasn’t. I didn’t notice any particular rubbing of strands and I couldn’t spot fraying, it just felt like it was misbehaving a lot on me! When I tried this on the white aida, I actually had less problems (only some slight knotting) so I couldn’t quite identify why this was much harder on the navy!

Test Summary: I particularly love this colour and shade combination (a pink thread with purple specks of metallic highlight) and therefore, I definitely feel I will be using it again just because of the colour. I definitely found the thread to be very soft and lightweight compared with some of the other brands, which was nice for the flexibility. However, I definitely would stick to just using the 1 strand, as the 2 strands took me double the amount of time just to prevent the knotting and twisting.

Kreinik 1/16″ Ribbon

Brand Website Link: Kreinik 1/16″ Ribbon

Thread Numbers: 042

Brand Advice: Kreinik state the following: “Use 1/16″ Ribbon in Cross Stitch (10 & 11ct), Needlepoint (18-24ct), Plastic Canvas (14ct), plus crazy quilting, crochet, fly fishing and more. In fly fishing, it lays flat, offering a smoother look, maximum metallic effect and a little weight to bodies and heads without adding too much bulk (ends can be intentionally frayed for added effects)”

It’s also noted that Kreinik have a number of pages on their website dedicated to providing advice and support for those looking to stitch with metallic threads – a huge help to the beginner! Try looking at these here!

Texture of Thread: The thread is soft and very smooth, and has a wide flat surface area (instead of round cylindrical threads, that feature in this guide). It feels very strong and sturdy, whilst also keeping some flexibility.

Initial Stitching Thoughts: I had to approach this testing in a different way, as 1/16″ ribbon is a little hard to stitch full crosses on the fabric sizes I have. In fact, Kreinik say (above) to stitch it on 10 or 11count aida only (which unfortunately I don’t have) so to use it to do a full stitch seems unfair for comparison because the thread gets all smushed to try and get through the smaller holed fabric.

Therefore, I stitch one line (like a giant backstitch) to show how the flat ribbon effect works and the benefits to its use.

I initially found the thread difficult to thread the needle eye (but hey, on the needle size and fabric size I was working on, that’s a little unfair). Once I had threaded it, it was smooth as silk pulling through and did not knot. I even noticed the ends that were cut did not fray as much as one would probably expect from the interwoven strands to create this effect.

The ribbon effect is very unique and beautiful in it’s own way, and I personally love that it has a flat surface – sometimes it is nice (especially when framing) to add highlights and accents to a piece or project where the threads don’t start layering into a bumpy, heightened texture. I could only get one colour at the time of doing this texture (as I spent so much money!) but it has to be said how incredible the shade range is for this – literally hundreds of colours.

Test Summary: Whilst I currently do not have any projects in mind where I may use Ribbon, I feel like it would be a missed opportunity to not use this where I could. It provides a thicker line of metallic edge that would be useful on artistic pieces, which being user friendly to work with. I love that the website shows so many shades and I can totally see why this would be used in fly fishing (A new hobby incoming? possibly!)

Kreinik Blending Filament

Brand Website Link: Kreinik Blending Filament

Thread Numbers: 012

Brand Advice: Kreinik state the following: “Use Kreinik Blending Filament, by itself or combined with other yarns, to create random highlighting effect in all hand embroidery like cross stitch and needlepoint, plus machine embroidery, crochet and knitting”.

I’ve also personally taken on board the tips regarding using this thread from their support page located here.

It’s also noted that Kreinik have a number of pages on their website dedicated to providing advice and support for those looking to stitch with metallic threads – a huge help to the beginner! Try looking at these here!

Texture of Thread: This a very fine thread, very lightweight and super soft.

Initial Stitching Thoughts: I initially stitched 1 strand, as would be replicating the use of blending filament either on its own for highlighting, or within another standard cotton thread. This was nice and easy, although I was gentle and was trying to follow instructions provided by Kreinik. Note I also only completed this on the white aida, as unfortunately it would not show up on the dark fabric enough for me to show in a picture.

I could only obtain a purple colour when I was purchasing these, which may not show up well in the photos. In person, even with one strand you can clearly see the purple plus the slight flecks of metallic shine come through. It feels like a ‘hint’ of metallic and would be nice if you want to add a hint or shine to your work without having to go fully heavy metallic.

I also decided to give it a test by using two strands, despite that this is not necessarily recommended! Again, colour payoff is good and whilst you are gentle with the thread, it is user friendly and can be maneuvered very well. I almost got to the end before I realised I had a knot (my fault, as I had twisted and lost concentration).

Test Summary: Definitely a beautiful little hint of colour and metallic glitter, whilst easy to use. As the thread is so thin, it would easily be workable with other stranded cottons (as recommended) or on it’s own, for that slight hint. I’d recommend following the instructions provided by Kreinik, but if you fancy going full on 2 strands – just be exceptionally careful and make use of wetting the strands together (or using a recommended wax product). There is also such a huge range of colours, it would likely be the most accessible thread for adding those highlights to a project. I also cannot recommend the guides and information on the Kreinik website for use of this particular thread, as they are extremely helpful and friendly.

Kreinik Cable

Brand Website Link: Kreinik Cable

Thread Numbers: 001P

Brand Advice: Kreinik state the following: “Cable gives a very elegant touch to any design. Use Kreinik Cable when you want a twisted metal or rope-style look in your needlepoint, cross stitch, or sampler designs. It’s also good for wrapping and embellishing scrapbook pages and cards”.

I’ve also directly taken instructions and care guidance from their support page on Cable here.

It’s also noted that Kreinik have a number of pages on their website dedicated to providing advice and support for those looking to stitch with metallic threads – a huge help to the beginner! Try looking at these here!

Texture of Thread: It feels rough if you move between fingers, but the length of the thread feels smooth. It reminds me of the traditional memory I have of working with a metallic thread (like an actual metal). A little tougher and sturdier than other options.

Initial Stitching Thoughts: Using 1 single strand, this silver thread is so vibrant and metal like that it really does have such an immediate impact, whether doing the backstitch or cross stitch style. Using this, I definitely felt like I had stepped back in my memory into when I used to use metallic threads – just super bright silver/gold metallic shine.

It was relatively easy to use, and I did follow the Kreinik guidance keeping the thread short and working with it gently and with consideration. I had no issue with fraying or with knotting.

I feel I would definitely use this for my Christmas cards and decorations anytime, because it’s such a huge colour payoff, even for the time consumption of being gentle with it. I feel the colour is solid throughout, so instead of a hint (like some other threads) you get this huge shine and metallic appearance. I can imagine this is for a very specific purpose instead of a ‘hint’ or ‘pop’ of shine, so you may find this could overpower a piece if that’s not what you are after!

Test Summary: This feels like the traditional ‘metallic’ thread, huge silver colour payoff, huge shine, feels like metal is embedded within the thread. I can see this being used for many different applications. It’s a similar price point to some of the other metallic ranges produced by Kreinik, meaning it’s competitively priced – so if you’re looking for just a solid gold or solid silver, this is definitely a good recommendation.

Kreinik Cord

Brand Website Link: Kreinik Cord

Thread Numbers: 225C

Brand Advice: Kreinik state the following: “Super-thin Cord is used for couching thicker threads, and for making fine details in a design (like stitched eyelashes). Other ideas: Use it to backstitch in cross stitch, overstitch in needlepoint, combine with any yarn in your crochet and knitting projects, and use it in the needle for machine embroidery. It’s also an elegant metal fiber for card and scrapbook projects”.

I’ve also directly taken instructions and care guidance from their support page on Cord here.

It’s also noted that Kreinik have a number of pages on their website dedicated to providing advice and support for those looking to stitch with metallic threads – a huge help to the beginner! Try looking at these here!

Texture of Thread: The thread feels ultra fine and lightweight, with a slight bumpy/scratchiness when moving between two fingers. It looks almost dotted between the metallic / colour (like I’m stitching a dotting line)

Initial Stitching Thoughts: I completed this as both 1 and 2 strands on white (not on navy, as the colour I had would not show up) and I was quite gentle as it feels so fine (although if you pull, it’s very sturdy, so this is psychological!). 

1 strand came up very fine, more fine than the blending filament by Kreinik, and the 2 strands came up similar as well. It pulled through the fabric very neatly with little to no knotting, and created very neat stitches so overall very easy to work with. Whilst shiny in my hands when handling the thread, it doesn’t quite show up against the white aida I was using. 

Given the recommendations of use are for very small details such as eyelashes, or for blending with other threads, I can see that by itself, it can come across as not very impactful. However, the effect (given the dotted colour design along the thread) is quite unique and I agree with the recommendations for those fine details. 

Test Summary: I feel individually this might not have the impact someone may be looking for, with regards to a bold backstitch outline and the shade I chose, whilst it has some metallic shine, doesn’t come out so well when stitched. I feel the use of this would be beneficial with another thread or yarn, and agreed that the use of this for small, very delicate details is the best use of the product. 

Kreinik Fine #8 Braid

Brand Website Link: Kreinik Fine #8 Braid

Thread Numbers: 001, 092 and 3214 

Brand Advice: Kreinik state the following: “Kreinik Fine #8 Braid is a high quality metallic thread used in cross stitch, needlepoint, crochet, knitting, weaving, scrapbooking, cardmaking, fly fishing and more […] In cross stitch, it is about the weight of two strands of cotton embroidery floss. Use it straight from the reel, do not try to separate. No need to combine strands; if you need a thicker thread, just go up to the next Kreinik Braid size (which would be #12 Braid)”.

It’s also noted that Kreinik have a number of pages on their website dedicated to providing advice and support for those looking to stitch with metallic threads – a huge help to the beginner! Try looking at these here!

Texture of Thread: Out of all the Kreinik threads I’ve tried so far, this is definitely the most stiffly textured, so scratchy when rubbed between two fingers. I have used this before for a Sailor Moon stitch-a-long but couldn’t find the original colours I’d purchased (which sucks!). 

Initial Stitching Thoughts: I completed this test in 1 strand only  (as per advice given by Kreinik) and given that it is #8 (not #4), it’s quite a thick strand – you do really only need the one to replicate the 2 strands of cotton. It pulls through well however you do need to take your time and untwist your thread as you go, as it can knot (likely due to the texture). 

Nevertheless, it was easy to use and creating a few whole stitches did not seem problematic. The colours I had were quite muted, so I couldn’t say if you would get the same intensity with other colours available. The metallic glitter effect these gives off is amazing, definitely your traditional ‘metallic’ thread effect. 

There was very little fraying with the thread itself despite the texture, which was also another benefit – no need to worry for longevity as the thread remains in good condition throughout use. 

Test Summary: I personally really enjoy these for the metallic / glitter pay off, as well as the reassurance that they won’t fray when I’m working with them. Whilst I do have to take my time with them (as they can knot), it’s worthwhile for that bright glittery effect within a piece. I’d recommend short lengths (30cms or so) to help minimise and ensure you untwist as you progress. 

Kreinik Japan

Brand Website Link: Kreinik Japan

Thread Numbers: 001J

Brand Advice: Kreinik state the following: “Kreinik Japan Threads are synthetic, non-tarnishing gimps available that give the appearance of stitching with real metals. Use them anywhere, from Asian embroidery to charted needlepoint, painted canvas, samplers, ecclesiastical, and other surface embroidery. Stitch with Japan #7 or couch it (tack it on the surface) using a thinner thread”.

It’s also noted that Kreinik have a number of pages on their website dedicated to providing advice and support for those looking to stitch with metallic threads – a huge help to the beginner! Try looking at these here!

Texture of Thread: This feels one of the most smooth, with little bumps – it feels quite soft overall. It’s a very, very thin and delicate thread, very lightweight, with a bright metallic shine. 

Initial Stitching Thoughts: I completed 1 and 2 strands on the navy aida only, as I tried on the white and it wouldn’t show up in the photo! 

I definitely proceeded very gently with this thread as it feels so delicate, with no issue pulling through the fabric on either 1 or 2 count. Sometimes you can feel the thread need a little tug (delicately!) but aside from this, it was relatively easy to work with. 

The shine is so beautiful, even with such a thin type of thread. It really does give off the effect of metal being woven, even if not picked up on the picture. 

Test Summary: This is a beautiful thread with a lovely metal looking result – as if I had stitched with silver. I personally will be using this one again, just due to its ease and because I can see myself using this type of thread on a few projects to provide a little metallic highlight. 

Rainbow Gallery Nordic Gold

Brand Website Link: Rainbow Gallery Nordic Gold

Thread Numbers: ND1

Brand Advice: Rainbow Gallery state the following: “Cross Stitch to 18 Count. A very fine metallic chainette that is about the size of 2 or 3 strands of blending filament. Includes a very nice white metallic that is perfect for snow”.

Texture of Thread: Surprisingly soft, with a little scratchy feeling if moving between two fingers. Very bright gold colour with plenty of metallic shine. Will do the test with one strand as Rainbow Gallery advise this is the equivalent of 2-3 strands of blending filament, so do not want to use more or it’d be too bulky for the fabric. 

Initial Stitching Thoughts: I was pleasantly surprised with the thread – whilst an odd texture (it’s slightly softer than other metallics, and bendable), it is user friendly with only a little fraying at the cut ends. Working through the fabric was easy, with no knotting experienced on the test sample. 

The colour is very vibrant, as is the metal shine that accompanies it. It comes across very well on the white aida. I can already foresee myself using this not just in cross stitch Christmas projects, but in other embroidery and for Christmas tree decorations. 

Definitely did note that the single strand can be tugged moved between fingers and easily spread into the individuals components that make up the thread. Whilst I didn’t experience this whilst stitching, it’s noted that some may feel a little more reassured using a wax product to help keep threads smooth. 

Test Summary: I genuinely enjoyed using this – and was pleasantly surprised! It was my first test with Rainbow Gallery’s threads (And I could only get a few) and I was really pleased with the softness, the ease and the colour/metallic payoff when stitching. Whilst this may not necessarily, in words, compare differently to others with very positive results, I personally just enjoyed working with this thread and I’m going to add it to my favourites list! 

Rainbow Gallery Sparkle! Braid

Brand Website Link: Rainbow Gallery Sparkle Braid

Thread Numbers: SK24

Brand Advice: Rainbow Gallery state the following: “Cross Stitch 11-32 Count. Very fine bright metallic braid which is easier than filament. Makes a good accompanying thread with cotton or silk fibers. Makes beautiful French Knots and twisted cords. One strand equals two strands of blending filament. Needlepoint takes two strands for 18 mesh canvas”.

Texture of Thread: Another soft texture, but with a more scratchy feeling when moved between two fingers. The test used one strand, to replicate 2 strands (any more would be too bulky for my testing aida!)

Initial Stitching Thoughts: I couldn’t get many (which is why I only have yellow – which is an odd colour to have) but it does look like such a bright, vivid glittery yellow.

I would say that Rainbow Gallery’s claim of ‘easier than filament’ is very accurate, as I had absolutely no issue when I was stitching the tester. In fact, I almost forgot that it wasn’t just normal stranded cotton and was going at my normal speed. I found that was no issue with fraying (either when threading the needle or with fabric friction) and no knots or twisting issues other than what I’d experience with stranded cotton. In that way, it is a very surprising test for me, as the texture initially gave me the perspective I’d need to take more time with it, like other metallic threads.

Whilst I only have the yellow colour, it is very vibrant and actually, a very nice yellow (it’s so hard to get a nice yellow!). It has a very slight glittery effect, but the thread itself is almost neon in sunlight. I hope the photos do some justice. I think depending on the colour you get (as there is a nice selection) there may be a few, slightly less neon but still bright threads (there is a reason why yellow is used for high vis!).

Test Summary: It was a delight to use this for the first time and was genuinely surprised by the colour impact and the user friendliness of the thread. I have definitely noticed after trying so many threads in this blog that I definitely have a preference towards using the Rainbow Gallery threads (and I’ve not finished yet!) and would highly recommend giving them a test next time you are wanting to use a more glittery like metallic thread (they remind me a lot of Kreinik Blending Filament #8 review). 

Rainbow Gallery Treasure Braid #4

Brand Website Link: Rainbow Gallery Treasure Braid #4

Thread Numbers: TR40

Brand Advice: Rainbow Gallery state the following: “Cross Stitch 14-22 Count. Treasure Braid is a shiny metallic that comes in size #4 and #8. All are braided and will not unravel as you stitch. It is very durable and can be used in longer lengths. It is a soft metallic and covers the canvas well. Size 4 is a good substitute for several plys of blending filament. Size 8 is twice the size of 4. Available in several colors that include High Gloss and Shimmer Colors”.

Texture of Thread: I have possibly the brightest colour (it’s called White Pearl) and it won’t show up super well for the photo on the white, so I’ve only included the test on the navy aida. It is soft, flexible and scratchy when moved between two fingers. I decided also to use the thread as it comes off the spool (so no separating strands) as they would be far too narrow if I did separate to spot on the photo. 

Initial Stitching Thoughts: This definitely feels more and works more like a thick blending filament (if you use it without separating the strands, which I’ve done) so I do find that you need to take consideration when working with it, just to ensure twisting doesn’t knot it too easily. There was some slight fraying at the ends when I cut (but these can be cut off if frayed too far and then seem to be relatively fine to work with). 

The thread doesn’t tend to fray during work, and no issues pulling through the fabric. The glitter / pearlescent shine is there, but is definitely muted when compared against other glitter thread options from Rainbow Gallery or other brands. It is definitely nice as an accent – especially if you pull strands out when they can be added to other stranded cottons to add a slight shimmer. 

As I picked a white colour, it would be hard to comment on colour payoff as there’s no real colour to talk about – however against the navy fabric, it does look very very vibrant and I can imagine on a white fabric it would be a lovely hint of metallic glitter / shine. 

Test Summary: This felt more like a traditional filament than the other Rainbow Gallery threads I’ve tried, so notably did make sure I was conscientious when using the thread to make sure it didn’t knot. The metallic glitter effect was quite cute and quaint and would look good to have with a stranded cotton. 

Other Brands!

Whilst I will try to update this blog with new brands and metallic threads I get my hands on, please note that some are difficult for me to get hold of.

The following threads I am in the process of obtaining (Links to the product pages)

Just a note that Anchor Astrella and Madeira GlissenGloss were not included in this test (as although I have them, my understanding is the product is discontinued).

You may enjoy the following reviews by other amazing stitchers of metallic threads:

If you spot any issues or errors in this blog, please do contact me via Ask me Anything! I will try to update as soon as possible! 

2 thoughts on “Metallic Threads: Thread Testing & Opinion Master Blog

Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: