I did a little experiment yesterday with the Kreinik Japan No 7 thread. I really wanted to see how it would go, in case I decide that I want to use gold thread on my beret. I don’t think real metallic thread would be happy about being rained on.
Kreinik Japan No 7 thread is a synthetic gold thread, with a ribbon of lame (plastic) wrapped around a gold coloured thread core. Proper metal threads have a metal ribbon wrapped around a gold coloured thread core. I usually use T71 Benton and Johnson thread.
The difference between these two threads, apart from quality and cost (!), is that the Kreinik thread uses a wider ribbon than the Benton and Johnson. This means that it is more difficult to curve the thread as it doesn’t bend as readily. Imagine a curve being made up of straight line segments. The more segments you have, the smoother the curve, the less segments you have, the less smooth the curve. With the Benton and Johnson thread, because the ribbon is narrower, it takes more wraps around the core to cover the same length of Kreinik (more segments over the same length). This means the B&J thread gives a smoother curve.
Looking at my stitched sample, I worked it on black as the beret is black. This isn’t the beret fabric, but a piece of faux suede. I used it because it was black and had the soft slightly fuzzy surface that the felted wool of the beret has. I tacked some guides that were about 5mm apart. I started stitching (at the top end) and decided that it was too wide. So I narrowed it down as though the guides were only about 4mm apart. This looked MUCH better. I still think it could do with a little more downwards spacing though.
When plaited braid stitch is worked too wide, you have to compensate by spacing the stitches closer together (down the length, not the width). This isn’t how it looked on the historical examples. To counteract this, you need to either work narrower, or use a thicker thread to fill up the space better. (I talk a bit about this in my left- and right-handed stitch dictionaries, each of which has a double page spread of step-by-step instructions for plaited braid stitch.) In this case, it was easier for me to narrow down the stitches.
I found that I don’t like working with the Kreinik thread very much. Each stitch has to be guided down onto the surface of the fabric, as otherwise it twists against itself and knots up. Grrrr!! This makes it a much slower process.
It also looks dazzlingly plastic… Really ultra shiny, rather than the soft shine of metallic thread. (This also makes it a bit hard to photograph!)
But, it does work. And it would be rain-on-able.
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