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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Floss Comparison

Years ago when I first started hand stitching,
there was about two choices of floss available.
DMC and Anchor.

Today, thankfully, we have choices.
I am going to compare some of the top brands--
DMC, Cosmo, Valdani, Presencia, and Cottage Garden.
Other popular brands include Anchor, J.P. Coats, Threadworx, Weeks Dye Works,
and the list goes on.
I will be testing basic embroidery skeined floss;
as opposed to perle cotton, etc.

For my first test I checked for color fastness.
I placed all the floss on a clean piece of muslin,
then soaked them all.
Next I applied an iron with steam.
(This is the same method to test color fastness on fabric.)
Argh, my photo did not turn out at all. Figures.
Well, just to let you know...not a single one had a problem.
I have had one comment that a fellow blogger has had trouble with Cosmo fading.
And the Cottage Garden says to use a dry iron. The steam iron didn't hurt it though.

For my next comparison,
I took a piece of muslin and drew straight lines to show each floss side by side.
I stitched each with 2 strands (except the Valdani).

I will compare each floss as they are shown from top to bottom on my sample.
(note...don't judge my stitching, this is the first time I tried without stabilizer or a hoop.
I didn't like it. I found my stitching was not as straight.)

  • Cost--$6.60 Australian dollars for a 10 meter skein--not readily available in the States.
  • Variegated--the best I have ever seen. The colors change very quickly which is what you want. Why pay for a variegate that you never notice?
  • Ease of use--I love it. It is smooth, shiny and doesn't tangle. Is similar to Cosmo.
  • Overall thoughts--although much more pricey than the others and harder to find, it is my favorite of all. I will be buying more of this as soon as I can. The company is a small home based business and each piece is hand painted. Big thumbs up!
Floss #2--Presencia

  • Cost--$1.00 USD for an 8 meter skein. 
  • I only had white on hand so I was not able to test for colorfastness. Variegated is available but it is a longer variegate than the above floss.
  • Ease of use--Smooth and shiny, non-tangle. Similar to Cosmo.
  • Thick--It is a bit thicker than the other flosses. It kind of compares to using three strands or so.You can really tell in the photo.
  • Overall thoughts--Another thumbs up for me. I like how easy it is to work with. And I actually like the 'thicker' look. It isn't enough to be overpowering. 
Floss # 3--Valdani

  • Cost--$3.20 USD for 29 yards. Available at The Raspberry Rabbits
  • Claims to be colorfast. This thread is dyed using all natural/earth friendly processes. The variegate was a bit longer than I like but still nice for larger designs.
  • Ease of use--Although sold in skeins, it is more readily available on a 3 strand ball. No separating needed. It sews and feels like DMC.
  • Overall thoughts--I like it for the most part. I feel it is the best variegate that is readily available and I like that they use all natural processes to over dye. I also like that it doesn't need separation. 
Floss #4--Cosmo

  • Cost--$1.00 USD for 8 yards. Readily available via the internet.
  • Colorfast and has variegated. One blog reader has had trouble with it fading. Not good!
  • Ease of use--Sold in skeins, but also available in easy to use 2 strand spools. Smooth, silky, shiny, non-tangle. 
  • Overall thoughts--I am sad to hear that someone had trouble with it fading as Cosmo really is my overall favorite for everyday use. 
Floss #5--DMC
  • Cost--$0.50 USD
  • Easily found, colorfast, very large color selection
  • Ease of use--after trying the others I don't like it. I found it to be dull and it tangles.
  • Overall thoughts--we've all used it. Get out of your comfort zone and try something different...and better! I am not even giving it a photo or net link. No need. 
    • After trying all these out; I am for sure no longer a fan of DMC. Why mess with tangles and dull when you can have shiny and smooth?
    • Precencia and Cosmo are very comparable, Cosmo being the more widely used. I think that I actually prefer Precencia. I need to get some bright colors to check colorfastness.
    • For a variegate there is no comparison to Cottage Garden. It is expensive; but I think worth every single penny. 


    Vroomans' Quilts said...

    Very nice presentation. I have to say I am a Die-Hard DMC fan and own every colour - 8 cases of it and some tins. I'm mainly a cross stither, but use it for embroidery and hand quilting, too.

    Heather said...

    Nicely written. I have mostly DMC but I might try something else now!

    Mariliz said...

    Very informative post....Thanks!

    Handmade Crafts Done While RVing Blog said...

    One of the best presentation I've read in the blogging world... so now you have me starting to shop else where... I start my needlw work this summer (since my hat inventory will be done by then for next season)...

    Terri said...

    Thanks so much! i'm loving your comparisons and tutorials - you're saving me a lot of work.

    Christine M said...

    I love the Cottage Garden threads too and the way they change colours quickly. The effect is so lovely.

    Pokey said...

    You've done some studying and saved us some trouble, thank you for being so detailed. Learning is good, sharing the lesson is better!

    Ann Nichols said...

    What an informative post!! The colors are spring!
    PS Thanks for the link!

    StitchinByTheLake said...

    Thanks so much for posting this comparison. I've been embroidering for a very long time and don't like DMC at all although it's the easiest to get and the cheapest. I have many colors but they are dull when compared to other brands, they fray easily, and they tangle easily. I love the colors of Presencia and Valdani but have never tried Cosmo. I'd love to try the Cottage Gardens but it's too pricey for me. My very favorite for redwork is Presencia size that one! blessings, marlene

    Michelle May (Shell) said...

    Well, of course I love Valdani ;) but I do like Cottage Garden as well. The only thing I don't like about Cottage Garden is it's not colorfast. That always makes me nervous. Great post girlfriend. It's nice for folks to have choices.
    xx, shell

    Charlie and Wendy said...

    I love the cottage garden threads too, love the variegation ... have just posted about it on my blog and mentioned you, thanks for such a helpful blog!!

    thecountryyard said...

    Interesting reading from New Zealand. Wondering if you have ever come across the Aurafil thread. We stock it in our store, along with Cottage Garden Threads, and love using them both!!

    Jindi's Cottage said...

    So glad you like the Cottage Garden...impatient to see the design you've stitched with it...I've never really liked DMC it is just the most readily available though our local haberdashery stocks Anchor instead. Love Cosmo, the colours are awesome...really must try some Valdani from Shell one of these days...I know Cottage Garden seems really expensive to you (and it isn't cheap to us either) but we pay about AUD$1.80 for DMC compared to your USD$0.50!!!

    Gmama Jane said...

    This was soooo helpful!! I've wondered about the real differences since the only thread I've used to embroidery is DMC simply because of availability. I'm convinced I need to try something different. Prescencia is a wonderful sponsor on Sew We Quilt and Jane's Fabric's sells it. Since Jane is a good blogging follower/friend I think I should buy some from her and them try out Valdani from Shell.
    Great post!
    Gmama Jane