Monday, October 11, 2010

Thread Review: Empress

Empress merino/cashmere/silk thread by Pure Palette/Dreamhouse Ventures

Now that I've been blogging regularly since 2006, folks have started sending me products to review.  I have mixed feelings about this.  I am happy to have access to things that my local shops don't carry or that I haven't talked myself into spending money to mail order, but I am a bit worried about not presenting things fairly to you, Blog's readers.  It is all too easy to give a good review of things sent by friends or by small business owners that you know are struggling to make it in a harsh economy.  I want to be fair to all involved, so any time I am sent things to review, I'll mention they were sent to be reviewed and will cover all aspects of the items, the good and the bad points.  Just because something doesn't work well for me doesn't mean it is bad in general.  Needlepointers have a huge range of interests and stitching styles.  I don't use a lot of perle cotton, for example, but that doesn't mean that it's a bad thread.  I just happen to not use it very much.   I want to explain enough about anything I review so you know as much as possible and can decide for yourself whether you want to seek it out.

Empress Color #8454 Dry Martini
With all the above in mind, I'm going to do a short review of Empress, a new 100% merino cashmere silk blend from The Pure Palette, which also  carries Soy Luster (a floss made of soybeans) and Baroque Silk (a three ply silk floss).  Empress is brand new.  It was just introduced this year and luckily Needlewoman East has a nice selection of colors.  I bought a skein of olive green this summer to play with.  In the photo below are the test samples I played around with.

Empress feels great when you hold the skein or stitch with it.  A strand is about the size of a strand of Appleton crewel wool, and it looks just like crewel wool when you pull out a loose end to cut off a stitching length.  Above you see tent stitches and then rows of cashmere stitch on 18 count.  One strand covers well and looks very much like any wool thread except for the soft feel when you touch the stitches.  I am allergic to wool, particularly Paternayan, and avoid stitching with it in the summertime but I had no trouble stitching with Empress, even though it was 85 degrees in Chilly Hollow when I stitched the above.  I didn't think to test vertical stitches with Empress but I think one strand would also cover pretty well on 18 count in upright stitches, which usually need more thread to cover the NP canvas completely.  You are going to need to use two strands on 13 or 14 count to cover.

The Pure Palette's website hasn't been updated in quite a while, so only Soy Luster is listed there.  They also have a silk thread called Baroque Silk.

Fortunately, Needle in a Haystack has photos of most of the colors of Soy Luster and of Baroque Silk on their website.  Here're the links, Soy Luster first. and Baroque Silk second.

As far as I can find out, no one has posted photographs of Empress on their websites yet so when Dreamhouse Ventures sent me a selection of their Empress that might work on Luna, I laid them all out and took a photograph for you to see.  The colors are, from left to right:

Cabernet 8178, Vintage Linen 8490. Gravity 8248, Heliotrope 1168, Iris 8204, Big Sky 8240, Santa Fe 8242, Old Men 8564, Dusty Miller 8562, Soot 8566, Twister 8582, and Witching Hour 8600.  The dark gray skein above the row of the others is Tarnish 8596.  I opened it so you could see the thread texture.  The olive green Dry Martini 8454 is pictured separately above.  The colors are generally soft and muted, which is pretty much what I remember of the display of these threads at Needlewoman East which had about 30-40 colors my last visit.

It's a lovely thread, and one I will enjoy using because it feels so good when you stitch with it.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at