What thread you must use
I have deliberately used the word ‘must’ in the headline, because to be honest: there is nothing that you must do, and a lot is possible, but a lot is also not possible! So here are some examples, and explanations of what to look out for.
First something about the thickness of threads
Thread has numbers: the higher the number, the finer the thread. Unfortunately, there are quite a few variations between brands, which is why I have an overview of how ‘thick’ or ‘fine’ which yarn is from which brand, so that you can make a comparison. It is also sometimes difficult to find exactly the yarn that is ‘needed’ for a project on the continent or country where you live. I’m also a weaver, and we use the number of times you can wrap yarn or thread within an inch (about 2.5 cm) to indicate the ‘thickness’ of yarn. We call this wpi, wraps per inch. Click here for an overview of yarn brands. This overview makes it possible to look for alternatives.
What is now important to pay attention to?
The most important question is: does it slide well? You are going to make knots around a base thread, and those knots must be able to slide together over that base thread. So the yarn should be pretty smooth. Mercerized cotton or pearl cotton is ideal. The yarn must not be stretchy at all! That simply makes it virtually impossible to make your knots consistent. And your thread or yarn should not break easily. A single ply yarn, untwisted, will not work, because especially when making rings you have to put a lot of force on the yarn to close the ring.
Here you see a collection of threads that is very suitable to work with. It is quite thin, which also makes your projects look very fine and delicate. Here you see Altın Başak Renkli Dantel İpliği size 50 (Dantel İpliği means lace yarn). Venus Pearl Cotton size 8 and 12, DMC coton perlé size 8, DMC coton perlé/pearl coton size 12 and Anchor pearl cotton size 5.
These are somewhat thicker threads, but also very nice to work with. Here you see DMC Babylo size 20, DMC Petra size 5, Lammy Yarns Coton Crochet size 10 and Scheepjes Maxi. The last 2 are mainly known as crochet yarn or thread, but ideal to work with, especially if you start with tatting, and also just if you want to see it all a little better, It’s a little less ‘petit’ 🙂 , and that makes it easier to see things a little better.
These are some yarns that are also very suitable. The top red ball is an own brand of a local craft shop (Suzanne’s craft shop in Hoogezand Netherlands,) and is an Egyptian cotton for crochet hook 1.5/2 mm. But also a crochet yarn like Alize Diva (available in the Netherlands at De Wolman) is very nice to work with, it glides really well. All just a little thicker, but so much fun! Especially the yarns with a fast color gradient are very exciting and surprising to work with, because you never know what the final result will look like, but it is almost always beautiful!
I do like an experiment! That can turn out so nice!
The red yarn is Maxi Metallic from Madame Tricote. That’s quite a Christmas feeling that you get from it! And it works, and that didn’t really surprise me for this crochet cotton.
More exciting was the lurex yarn! Oops, that was a tough one! But to my surprise it did work with the tiny example that you see lying there! It’s quite ‘thick’, and I’m definitely going to make a simple pattern out of it, but ‘so far so good’.
The macramé cord (polypropylene) was also a fluke. I was looking for a yarn to use for my tatting tutorials. So with all the requirements I had for what was suitable for tatting, but which also had to be quite thick to get a good image of everything, it was quite a bit of searching. I ran into this macramé rope at the Wibra (a Dutch store), and decided to try it out. And that worked too! Of course, it will have its challenges, and I’m still especially curious how it will look when finishing or adding new thread, but here too ‘so far so good’. And just think of the possibilities this cord has. I can already see images in my head of things you can hang outside!