Thursday, November 10, 2011

A finish, a review and more!

Warning. Today's post will likely be a long one, since I have lots of news to share today. ;)

First, I finished Growth Rings. The task was difficult because as usual, stitching ADD set in a few days ago, and more so the closer to finishing I got. It's normal for me, and I've still not figured out the reason why. But I persevered and here it is. :) In case you're curious, the fabric is Silkweaver's Purely Primitive in 40ct linen, the floss is Gloriana in Holly Berry and Antique Black. The camera just doesn't pick up the subtle variegation in these, it's lovely in person. I've decided that a Gift Certificate for framing will be the best idea, then Jeff can come with me after Christmas and pick out a frame himself. At least that way it will still be something of a surprise, but he'll get it done exactly as he wants. :)

The biggest cause of my stitching ADD... new stash fondling and future project planning.  I've fallen head over heels for a couple of Rosewood Manor designs which I've been trying to figure out my colours for - Past and Present and Trip Around the World Quilts. The Quilts I'm going to do in Splendor since there are only a few colours, but I'll need a fair bit of each and the skeins are huge. I'd like to stay fairly close to the original colours, but I have a bit of dilemma - the fabric colour, Platinum, only comes in 28 or 32ct and that is just not gonna happen. UGH. I was thinking 36 or 40ct. Even 34 ct would work with the Splendor, it covers nicely on that too. I have a piece of 40ct Flax that is large enough, but it doesn't work as well with the colours of floss. So I either need to rethink the fabric colour or change the green flosses to something less olive. Haven't decided which yet but I'm thinking either WDW 40ct in Linen or Legacy 34ct in Oaten Scone would be nice. OR I could go with a more wintery colour of greens and change the gold beads to silver instead. That would be equally lovely. I just don't know which I'd like to do yet! So I've put that one on hold until the new year while I ponder it. Past and Present on the other hand, uses lots of different colours of floss and not a great deal of each, so I'll likely use things I have here since there is no shortage of floss around here. But I digress.... look at all this stash! These lovelies arrived mere hours before I finished Growth Rings so you can imagine the torment! I wanted to dive into the Valdani silks and play, but I was a good girl and waited until last night. The lovely pink fabric is WDW 40ct Red Pear, the white is 45ct Florence to finish the Sampler Cove Flourish pieces (so the fabric for all four matches). The Belle Soie are the newest colours that came out for Baltimore market and are yummy! The Swatch cards are from Legacy Linen and the newest ones from Wasatch Needlecraft - Lakeside #2 and Zweigart #2. These are seriously invaluable for any fabric junkie like me. And of course all those lovely little balls of floss from Valdani!! This is most of their silk colours, there are a few that are backordered and will be sent at a later date, but this was definitely enough to get me drooling!!

And with that, a review. 

What do I think of the Valdani silk floss? I LOVE IT! 

For price, it's amazing. Those little balls you see are each 23 yards of six stranded floss. (NOTE - these are NOT the three stranded balls that Valdani produces, those are cotton floss and completely different) That's a lot of floss on one little ball - nearly 3 skeins of DMC worth - and they're less expensive than most silks on the market. They retail for $6 each, so they're quite a bargain given their size. Great choice for monochromes and BAPs. 

The colours are beautiful. Really rich and vibrant. The dying is wonderful - the colour changes are soft and gradual with nice overlaps between the main colours. The picture doesn't really capture it well, but it's still pitch black here this morning so I had to use the flash. I chose H204 Nostalgic Rose, S1 Orchids and M30 Deep Waters to test with - no particular reason, just grabbed 3 at random! The only drawback is that there are only 41 variegated colours at present, though I am assured that more will be coming!

The coverage is amazing. This was done with one strand on 34ct linen and the coverage is full with very little fabric show through. Comparable to the coverage of Soie D'Alger, it's a bit thicker than a single strand of DMC. If you like delicate coverage you could definitely use one strand on 32ct and I will likely try that next time out. Myself, I like my coverage a bit heavier, but the coverage on 34ct was more than adequate for my liking.

The shine is incredible. It's got a very rich sheen for a spun silk.

How does it feel? Well it's not as soft as say, Belle Soie or Gloriana. It feels quite like Soie D'Alger actually. Soft and silky but substantial. It's got a medium twist - not as loose as Splendor but not as tight as HDF - somewhere in between (I didn't count to be honest).

And the all important question... how did it stitch? Flawlessly. I first used about an 18" strand (top picture) and had no knotting, tangling or fraying to speak of. So for the next colour I went to 24" and still no knotting, tangling or fraying. I will say that while at my guild meeting I had a little play and I did get one knot - however I was stitching one handed without my stand - big difference since that causes a lot more twisting. But stitching in my normal fashion with two hands using my floor stand there was no issue at all, I didn't even have to dangle the needle. Towards the end of a 24" strand the fraying was slight - not a significant amount. I tried both a #26 needle and a #28 needle (both Piecemakers) and with the #28 there was a tiny bit more fraying, but only towards the last stitch or two. So it performed wonderfully. I kept saying to Jon while I was stitching how impressed I was. I think I used the word WOW several times.

The company guarantees they are colourfast. I haven't put that claim through a rigorous test yet, however I did two things. Using the bright red, I rinsed it under cold water and left it overnight to dry on paper towel. There was no bleeding onto the paper towel, so this morning I tried hot water and a paper towel - still no bleeding. I can't say whether there would be or not with every single colour or using detergent. I always recommend caution when washing hand dyed threads of any kind.

One other bonus is the that the company uses eco friendly dyes for all their silks and cottons (this doesn't include their rayon threads). They do a huge range of different types of threads, and most of those have a large range of colours. I haven't tried any of the others, I'm a silk girl, so I don't know if I will or not.

Overall I give this thread really high marks. I've added a new assignment to my agenda - come up with a design to use this stuff in - pronto! Which for me means probably sometime next year since my plate is already overloaded. lol They're not currently available in many shops, but Wasatch Needlecraft has ordered them for me, and Anita's Little Stitches carries them as well. ANY shop that carries their cotton floss can order them for you, as well as any shop that orders from Wichelt. You can also order them directly from Valdani, if it's in stock they ship within 24 hours of ordering so they're really quick. 

Tonight, if I can stay awake long enough, I'll be starting either a Christmas ornie for my grandmother or a model. Can't decide which should take priority yet. I'd love to keep playing with these Valdani threads but I do have things to get done first!

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