Wool is the fiber derived from the specialized skin cells, called follicles, of animals in the Caprinae family, principally sheep, but the hair of certain species of other mammals such as goats, llamas and rabbits may also be called wool. Wool has several qualities that distinguish it from hair or fur: it is crimped, it has a different texture, it is elastic and grows in staples (clusters) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wool). Virgin wool means wool not processed or woven before (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/virgin+wool).
From Fleur de Paris:
- Bella Lusso – 100% fine Merino wool, made in Italy exclusively for Fleur de Paris. 45 yards per skein. Substitute for DMC Medici.
- DMC Medici – is 100% virgin wool, two-ply, nondivisible, with 27 yards per skein. Colors are comparable to DMC floss colors with the number “8” in front of them. Use for crewel, needlepoint and cross stitch.
From Rainbow Gallery:
- Rainbow Tweed – 44% cotton, 39% wool, 17% acrylic with 10 yards (9.1 meters) on a card. Because of the different thread types, it absorbs dye unevenly, which adds to its rustic look. It is great for stitching large areas such as sky, water, mountains, and greenery. It is a 4-plky divisible thread that can be used on any count. It comes in solid and over-dyed colors which blend well with Overture, Encore! And Bravo! Colors. For needlepoint use, 4 strands for 13-16 cou7nt,m 2 stands on 18 count canvas. For cross stitch use 1 strand on 18 count, 2 strands on 11-14 count.) Made in USA.
This fun pattern uses Rainbow Tweed:
- Take Time to Knit leaflet (cross stitch & specialty) – 4674A
- Embellishment Pack for Take Time to Knit – 4674AE
From the Caron Collection:
From Vineyard Silk:
- Vineyard Wool (coming soon) – Strandable and non-strandable 100% Merino wool in solid colors.
Other Animal Fibers
From the Rainbow Gallery:
- Alpaca 18 – 100% Fine Alpaca with 12 yards per card. The Alpaca is a domesticated species of South American camelid. It resembles a small llama in appearance. This strong thread will not fray easily. You may brush it with a Bunka Brush (6749) to fluff it up for maximum effect. Use 1 strand on 14-18 count canvas or 11 count aida. Made in Peru. To learn about alpacas check out http://www.mountairyalpacas.com/index.html.
- Angora – Angora wool or Angora fiber refers to the downy coat produced by the Angora rabbit. While their names are similar, Angora fiber is distinct from mohair, which comes from the Angora goat. Angora is known for its softness, low micron count 100% Angora with 7 yards (6.4 meters) on a card. This fiber is very "furry". Don’t use a length longer than 20". It will wear so come straight up and down when stitching. You can brush this thread carefully to help with the furry effect. Long stitches will give you more of a furry effect. Use one thread for 13-16 count canvas and 7 count cross stitch. Made in France.
- Cashmere Rainbow (discontinued) – 100% Cashmere, which is a fiber from a cashmere goat. 9 yards (8.2 meters) per card. Use one thread 14-18 count canvas or 7-14 count fabric. Made in France.
- Wisper – 70% Kid Mohair, 30% Nylon, with 20 yards per card. Mohair is made from the hair of the Angora goat. This is a very fine fuzzy thread. It is necessary to add threads to get a thickness to cover your canvas or fabric. You can double this thread over your needle. It can be brushed to bring out the fullness. Try combining it with other threads such as Designer’s Dream to give it strength and depth. Use 4 strands on 13-14 cont canvas, 2 strands on 18 count and 1 strand on 22 count fabric. Made in Italy.
We asked some of the folks to share their favorite Specialty Fibers with us…
Roz sometimes has help with her Hardanger. Harley likes to drape himself over her arm as she stitches, so you know she gets to spend a few minutes picking out Harley’s “specialty fibers” from her stitching when she is done. Here is Roz and Harley relaxing after an afternoon of stitching.
Debi has a houseful of specialty fibers. Doesn’t matter whether she’s working on light or dark fabric something is going to get caught up in the stitching. Skipper is a yellow Labrador and is the primary culprit. However, there are three dark-colored, long-haired cats (Willie, Gabby, and Sarge) get their fair share of hair tangled into the threads.
Mary Ann has really gotten into 4-legged Specialty Fibers. She has been the grandmother to her two son’s dogs, with the dogs sometimes staying with her. T.J. was a pound puppy with a silky fur. Maggie was a Rottweiler-Springer Spaniel mix. About 5 years ago Mary Ann started saving the fur when she combed them. This year the fur has been carded. Her niece is going to spin it, combining it with silk threads to give it strength and length. Mary Ann plans to make something for her sons, being extra special since both dogs have since passed away. We will keep you updated on the project. Here are T.J. and Maggie enjoying the afternoon in Grandma’s yard.
Janine works in the store and she has a 4-month-old puppy named Gus. Gus is very active and they have resorted to riding their bicycles to “walk" Gus!. By the size of his paws I think they will have a large fiber donor on their hands. Isn’t he adorable?
We hope this guide makes your stitching easier and more enjoyable!
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