Gay Ann Rogers Needlework

Gay Ann Rogers Needlework

Lessons on Threads






New Lessons

Thread Lesson #3

Au Ver a Soie's 100/3 Silk

A thin light-weight silk with a variety of uses.


Scroll down for photos.

Using 100/3 Silk in Traditional Needlepoint Patterns

For a long time I knew about Au Ver a Soie's 100/3 silk before I ever used it, but once I started using it, it quickly became a staple of my thread diet. It is an unusual, very versatile thread that fills a real need.


100/3 silk is a very thin light-weight silk thread that comes wound on a spool. The yardage is significant and the price very reasonable: 50m for about $4.00. As with most Au Ver a Soie products, the color range is both wide and subtle.


For a long time I have tried to talk my LNS into carrying it, but the purveyor of the shop does not like the thin weight; she said you have to combine too many strands for it to cover the canvas. Too much work.


I do not use 100/3 silk in that way. I don't put eight strands together to form a base thread that fills the holes of the canvas.  I use it as overstitching to pick out the details on top of other base threads whose job it is to fill the holes. I find 100/3 silk most useful for creating both highlights and shadows. It becomes the top layer in a layered pattern, added to lighten and lift a pattern; it is also very useful in creating a small shadow alongside an outline. In both cases the silk is a small touch that gives a design some quiet depth.



Using 100/3  Silk in Pulled Thread Patterns

As a general rule for pulled thread patterns,  the thread you use to make the pulled thread pattern should match the size of a canvas mesh or a linen thread. For example, if you wish to do a pulled thread pattern on 18 mesh canvas, #8 Pearl Cotton is a good choice; on congress cloth #12 Pearl Cotton works well.


100/3 silk is a much thinner thread than Pearl Cotton, and therefore technically too thin a thread for conventional pulled thread work on congress cloth. But on whim I decided to try it and I loved the results. It gives a surprising delicacy to the patterns.


When I first started using 100/3 for pulled thread patterns, I did not know if it were strong enough for some vigorous pulling, but I've found it holds up very well.  It is deceptively strong and stalwart for such a skinny little thread. It will break if you yank each stitch as you pull it; the thread works much better if you gently ease into each pull, but easing into pull is best for almost all threads. Even tough pearl cotton will break if you yank it.


I do not use 100/3 exclusively for pulled thread patterns; I still use Pearl Cotton, and sometimes I mix the two. So what is the difference? A pattern executed with 100/3 silk is much finer and more delicate because the thread is so thin; #12 Pearl Cotton makes a much bolder pattern. By mixing the two threads I find I can create more depth in the design.



Using 100/3 for Blackwork Patterns

As a choice for blackwork patterns 100/3 silk definitely comes into its own. If you use floss or stranded silk, the thread can often wear too fast and you can end up with an inconsistently thick and thin pattern, worn luster and a case of the fuzzies. Because of its gentle twist, 100/3 silk holds its consistency and the patterns you create with it are very crisp.



Finding 100/3 Silk in the marketplace

100/3 silk is sometimes difficult to find, but if you are looking for it, I recommend you contact Needle in a Haystack. Needle in a Haystack has a great online shop and as far as I know, carries the full line of 100/3.


If you haven't had the experience of shopping at Needle in a Haystack, do travel to their website:


I know this is beginning to sound like an advertisement, but I have found the shop wonderful to deal with. If I wish a certain color in a variety of threads, I find the color on the DMC chart and ask  Needle in a Haystack to match the color in a variety of threads. They usually have the threads in the mail the following day. It is a wonderful service.



My World of Needlework


New Lessons


In 2015 I wrote a series of lessons for the beginner, intermediate and advancing needlework student.


I always intended to add to them but the year had a way of getting away from me, and here I am, a year later.


I'll do the best to add to my lessons as 2016 progresses.


If you have any topic you wish I would write about, please email me and I will see what I can do:


Click here for 2015's Lessons

For Beginning Students


Click here for 2015's Lessons

An Overview of Needlepoint


Click here for 2015's Lessons

For Intermediate Students


Click here for 2015's Lessons

For Advancing Students


Coming Soon in 2016

Lessons in Design

Above: Two spools of one of my favorite colors of 100/3, a blue-green #073.



Below: My Pride and Prejudice Needle Book and Book Mark.  All of the Nun's Stitch edging is in 100/3 silk.


Five hearts celebrating the couples of Pride and Prejudice:

Mr and Mrs. Bennet's heart is on 18 mesh canvas;

Elizabeth and Darcy on 24 count congress cloth;

Jane and Bingley on 25 count linen;

Lydia and Wickham on 30 count linen;

Charlotte and Mr. Collins on 34 count linen.


I stitched the edges of each heart in Nun's Stitch using either pearl cotton or 100/3.

Can you tell which heart uses which thread?


Can you see the differences?