Over the years I have received 3 pretty little spools of Aurifloss 6 Strand Cotton Embroidery floss for free, through various quilting events. I finally got around to trying them out and decided they deserved a quick review!
You can find a nice description and good price on the floss here – and in case you are like, “Ugh, $4-5 for 18 yards of embroidery floss is NOT a good price” well, that is sorta true. For a price comparison of embroidery floss I’ve used: DMC floss is generally 8.7 yards per skein, and runs about 50 cents. Sublime Stitching is about a dollar for an 8.7 yard skein. DMC Perle cotton is 87 yards (that is not a typo – 87) for about $3. But embroidery floss is not something you buy by the cartload generally, so for me price is not the biggest concern.
As far as my process, I do hand-quilting with large threads similar to this tutorial. If you are used to embroidery, the main difference is starting and stopping – you have to manage the knots at the end of your thread differently because you need to hide the knots inside the layers of the quilt. Here is the quilting/embroidery project I’ve been using this thread on (a link here for more pictures of this quilt!):
I have been using DMC Chenille needles in size 24, just because they are my standard embroidery needle. Ok, given my process – a mix of hand embroidery and primitive quilting on a quilt that has no batting, here are some thoughts on this thread:
The Aurifil Aurifloss comes on these pretty wooden spools, which are so darling they can also feature in your home decor, so there is that. If we are being dull and practical, we must admit the wooden spools are wasteful, really, and kind of unnecessary. But did I mention they are darling!! and handier than a skein, not that skeins are so unwieldy, but I do prefer to card my floss to avoid tangling, so the pretty spools save that extra step.
The look of this floss is closer to that of DMC Linen Floss; it is matte with a substantial heft that really sits up pretty on the fabric. Unfortunately I have found the DMC linen floss – though pretty in the package – to be a DEMONIC BEAST to sew with that doesn’t even look that pretty on the fabric, so if you want this matte look in a heavier thread, the Aurifloss is worlds better than the DMC Linen floss.
The Aurifloss allows for very pretty stem stitching. In contrast, I have never been happy with how decorative stitches (like stem stitch) look with perle cotton, and I think the Aurifloss also makes somewhat prettier stitches. While the Aurifloss definitely has more heft than the DMC 6 Strand cotton, the difference is not sooo dramatic to my eye.
I do find it wears out quickly and begins to tangle if I use too long of a piece (I am in the habit of cutting embroidery thread about as long as the length between my fingertip and elbow), so I have taken to using shorter pieces (like 8-10 inches), which is a pain since that means burying a lot of more cursed thread tails. This thread is pretty heavy weight which makes popping the threads (to bury them) kind of a struggle. So it has gotten old constantly burying threads and starting a new thread.
In contrast, for hand quilting, a perle cotton is shiny and smooth and you would likely not have this problem, though it has a very different look on the fabric, it wears well, you can but long pieces and I think the knots are really easy to make and bury with perle cotton.
The fraying and tangling was eventually bad enough that I decided to find my Thread Heaven, which I had misplaced some time ago. Considering I am 36 weeks pregnant, and digging out the box I suspected had the Thread Heaven in it involved crawling under a desk, that should give you some idea of how annoyed I was with the thread.
As I suspected when crawling under the desk to finally hunt the Thread Heaven, running each thread twice through the Thread Heaven really helped with my tangling, fraying, and knot burying problems, and so I would definitely recommend using this floss with some kind of thread conditioner.
I guess that’s my final verdict on this thread – it’s pretty, the spools are gorgeous, it makes nice stitches, but it was sure annoying me till I found a thread conditioner to use on it. We’ll see how it holds up over time, as I’m sure this project will get washed a lot!