I haven’t stitched with Perle cotton before but I am a sucker for variegated threads so when I saw the pictures of the new Anchor variegated perle threads on Instagram I fell in love. I hadn’t decided what to make with them when I ordered them, I thought I’d wait and see what inspiration hit. I’m still quite new to embroidery I’ve done a few embroidery kits but still have lots to learn so I’m keen to experiment.

I had originally considered an embroidered garden picture when choosing the colours but when I saw how thick the thread was I realised this wouldn’t work. Unlike other embroidery floss which has 6 strands and can be broken down into thinner threads perle cotton is a single thick strand of thread. So great for things you want to stand out but not right for intricate details or fiddly stitches.

I tested the thread on a little embroidery project, hoop art, for my brother’s engagement gift. I learned a few things pretty quickly.  Firstly I should have gone for a larger needle! I struggled to thread the largest needle in the pack with such a thick thread. I think these tapestry needles probably would have been better (so Ive included these in my kit for you instead).

Secondly, because it is quite thick it leaves holes in the fabric so you need to try not to make mistakes.  When I was stitching through 2 layers of fabric, the calico and the Tula Pink fabric (the butterfly) I struggled to pull the needle through. It seems to work better on a fabric with a looser weave like just the calico.

Thirdly, because the calico is quite light and the thread so thick and dark it shows up through the fabric.  So where I went from one letter to another the thread between the 2 letters (on the back of the fabric) showed a shadow on the front. I had to tuck bits of wadding between the thread and the fabric to try and reduce that.

I spent a few weeks trying to think about what else I could make with the cotton. Then I remembered an embroidery project bag I saw on Pinterest ages ago which had lovely variegated thread embroidery on the front saying the word ‘thread’.  It requires quite a thick thread to make the writing visible.

Of course when I tried to find it again I couldn’t so I decided to make my own design. I used a pen with disappearing ink to write the wording. For the word ‘embroidery’ I did each letter with a different colour thread.  For the word ‘thread’ I only used the 1375 multi coloured thread.  It has so many different colours that each letter looked different.  This is my favourite of all of the threads.

 

I decided to stitch each letter separately, knotting the thread and starting afresh on the next one so I would avoid the issue of the bits of thread joining letters being visible from the front as I had with the hoop project. 

I used a silver stranded thread (I used 2 strands) to sew the needle. For the curled strand of perle cotton going through the needle I used couching stitch to hold it in place.

I had a rummage through my stash and found a rainbow mini charm pack which I thought would go well with the colours of the stitching. I reckon scraps would be good for this too if you don’t have a suitable mini charm pack. I sewed a couple rows of squares together around the height of the embroidery panel and then attached it to the calico on the left. I could then measure how many squares I would need to make the longer panels across the top. I attached the patchwork on the right hand side towards the end so I could line it up with the squares from the top rows of patchwork. 

 

I then pinned the whole panel onto some quilt wadding ready to hand quilt. I decided to quilt diagonal lines across each square, and used a hera marker and ruler to mark the lines first. I’ve only done hand quilting once before but I read this tutorial from Sarah Fielke and then did the quilting at my sewing group.

I stitched each square with the colour I felt best suited it.  I did several squares in one area at a time to avoid re-threading the needle constantly.  When I finished I trimmed back the wadding.

I now have a large front panel ready for my bag. I haven’t made the rest of the bag yet as I’m still deciding on the inside. I need to decide whether I can be bothered to wrap all my embroidery threads around these neat little cards, or whether I’ll leave them lose and have mesh or clear PVC pockets inside the bag instead. How do you store yours? Neat and organised or big bunches of floss?