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Silk Threads

The hand quilting on Peaceful Night is around 90% complete - and I'm loving the silk threads even more than before!

What's not to love about the brilliant colour saturation, gorgeous sheen, durability and amazing silky smoothness of these threads.

Gutermann Buttonhole Silk Twist - R 753

Gutermann Buttonhole Silk Twist - R 753

Now for some silky details which I have gathered over the lat few weeks. If you have no interest in silk threads just enjoy skipping through the photos.....

 Fujix Quilter Silks from Superior Threads (16 wt) and Gutermann silk Buttonhole Twist R 753 (12 wt) are almost identical to work with. I do like the larger diameter of the Quilter's Silk spools (see below) and the careful way the thread has been wound onto the spools which keeps the silk in pristine condition, especially as each spool comes in its own shrink wrap. However the cost of the Fujix Quilter Silk (20m) is greater and only available in 36 colours.

Unfortunately you can no longer purchase Guteramnn Buttonhole silk in Australia as the major retailers/suppliers no longer request it. I have found a small Australian seller on ebay but this is only while stocks last. If you live in Australia and are half tempted to try Buttonhole silks then now would be a good time to buy some while you can.

I have located two retailers in the US, both primarily supplying the tailoring world, who sell Gutermann Buttonhole silk. Bergen Taylors sell Gutermann silk Twist in 10m spools and also 400m cobs, however they will only ship to US addresses. Bay Tailor Supply will ship internationally but only stock the 400m cobs of Twist and in a limited range of colours (but are happy to make special orders of any colour available). A colour chart from Callum of Bay Tailors arrived today for Gutermann Mara polyester threads. The R 753 silks are available in 180 colours of these colours (not all the colours shown below). You can view a Gutermann silk chart here.

I am keen to try silk threads in machine sewing too, both for quilting and decorative use on clothing and other items. The very fine silks like the Kimono #100 below are brilliant for detailed machine quilting. Some silks come in #30, #50 and other thicknesses. Even the 12 wt Gutermann Buttonhole twist can be used in machine stitching as long as you use a 90-110/14-18 size needle with a large eye (topstitch needle perhaps with an elongated eye) and adjust tension as needed. 

 Silk is of course a natural product, made by silkworms. Silk threads can be either filament silk or spun silk. Filament silk is premium silk, made by twisting several long strands of silk together and is stronger, shinier and has minimal lint compared to spun silk. Spun silk is made from the 'tails' or shorter, broken pieces of silk fibre which have been spun together. One place you can learn more about silk threads is here at Superior Threads.

There seems to be quite a variation in silk thread quality and thickness, even within the the same thread wt. Above you can see the 16wt Quilter Silk in the middle which I am using on Peaceful Night. On the right is Kimono Silk 100 wt from Superior Threads, a beautiful, shiny very fine filament silk. It looks and feels similar to Bottom Line Thread only softer, finer and more natural. On the left is a spool of Gutermann S 303 silk which is also listed as being 100 wt but is considerably thicker, and somewhat dull with visible lint, making me think it is a spun silk (I have since found out the 'S' indicates it is a spun silk).

As with all threads, you will find slight differences between dye lots and the colours are particularly difficult to accurately choose due to silk's wonderful reflective properties. A colour chart which contains actual threads is a very wise investment if ordering online and I would highly recommend viewing/buying a sample spool to try before making any major purchases.

Silk threads are the queen of threads to me, they are a joy to hand quilt with and a delight to the eye even while still on the spool. I'm looking forward to further exploring the world of silk in the future.

Sharing at WIP Wednesday.

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