Gay Ann Rogers Needlework

Gay Ann Rogers Needlework

Lessons on Threads






New Lessons

Thread Lesson #5

A Brief Look at Novelty and

Knitting Threads

In the never ending pursuit of novelty in needlepoint,  there are vast numbers of threads on the market for special effects. OK, OK,  as long as you show some restraint.


My needlepoint nightmare, recurring all too often these days, is a single design with gobs and goops of different threads and stitches and a bevy of enthusiastic stitchers saying, gee, look at ALL those threads and ALL those stitches and not a one of the stitchers seeing the poor design struggling underneath it all. I just stand and hear the design crying, 'help help, I'm buried deep under the pile and I can't find my way out'.


Assuming that you show some restraint, here are some of the novelty threads I hope to try soon:


Painter's Threads

What do I like? Easy question: the whole line of Painter's Threads. Last January I bought most of the different threads in several colors and I am itching to try them. I even bought the painted canvases that go with them.


Here are some of the highlights (scroll down for photos):

Single Loop, Rayon Snail Trim, Rayon Ric Rac, Braided Metallics, Crewel Wool, Silks and Pearl Cottons. What fun!


To see more, visit


The colors are sometimes wild, always beautiful and the textures varied.

I haven't used the fancy ones yet, but I look forward to trying them. Because there is so much color and texture, my prime concern will be keeping the line of the design simple.


I asked how to use the Ric Rac and the Snails. I didn't know how to begin and end the threads. The traditional way would be to plunge the ends and anchor them on the back of your work but these threads are too thick. The recommendation: cut each end carefully and use Fray Check.


To secure Ric Rac and Snails to the canvas, I'm thinking I will use 1 ply of floss and well-spaced Running Stitch. When I finally have a chance to stitch with these threads, I will write about my experiences with them.


A cautionary note:

The dye lots vary substantially, so if you wish to collect a series of these threads, buy them at one time. The photos below show the variation in textures; the lower photo shows how great the variation in color can be from skein to skein.


I like to work with a variety of dye lots but want a sufficient amount of each so that I can choose when and where to introduce a new dye lot. My recommendation for overdyed threads is always to buy more than you think you will need so that you will have plenty to manipulate the color. As a rule, I buy double what I think I will need.



The Many Many Many Textures of Modern Needlepoint Borrowed from the Knitting World

Many of today's textured threads include threads borrowed from the knitting world.

Yes, they can be very effective, but I have a note of caution: these threads are made for knitting which is much easier on thread that needlepoint is. In and out, in an out of a rough canvas can quickly wear a less-than-hearty knitting thread. My recommendation: use short lengths of these threads and watch extra carefully for wear.

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

A collage of Painter's Threads including some of the novelty RicRacs, in 'Niki'. The threads are on top of a quarter of the coordinating canvas.


The colors here are shown through plastic and therefore look slightly diluted. They are indeed wonderfully varied and strong colors. I took the photo through the plastic because I was afraid I would mix up the threads if I removed them from the bags.

A closer look at (from left) a skein of wool, a skein of Soie d'Alger, Pearl Cotton #8 and two skeins of Pearl Cotton #5 all in Niki colors.


All of these should be the same color mix, but notice the variations from skein to skein. Note particularly the variations in the three Pearl Cottons on the right.


The variations are super and add so much to the design possibilities; the problem is replacing them if you need more of a particular skein.


I am looking forward to experimenting with them this summer; I'll add more commentary as I learn about them. Right now my advice, as it always is with overdyed threads, is to buy more than you think you will need and edit the colors as you need them.