Sometimes you come across threads that are irresistible, even though you’re not absolutely sure what you’ll do with them. Some Vineyard Silks I bought a number of years ago are a case in point. They were gorgeous, with a beautiful, slightly fuzzy lustre which reminded me of the silks you see on very old embroideries, or on those very ornate 18th century waistcoats and dresses. They were also far too thick for anything I was doing at that time, which was mainly cross stitch.
And yet I got several of their standard silks (in four shades of lavendery blue) and one of their Shimmer silks, which have a metallic thread running through them. I might not use them in stitching, but I could look at them and (yes, I’ll admit it) occasionally stroke them. Petting silk threads is a singularly satisfying thing to do, and very therapeutic; try it if you don’t believe me!
But let’s get back to stitching. I realised that it was possible to separate the 3 plies that make up the thread, and that separately they worked rather well as a thickish flat silk. Petit point on 18ct gave lovely coverage and a beautiful sheen. Unfortunately, I do very little petit point on 18ct.
But then I started doing Hardanger. Hardanger uses far thicker threads than cross stitch. Could I perhaps use the Vineyard silks instead of #5 perle? Some sources suggested it was more like a #3, but I thought I’d give it a try anyway. What to combine them with, though? I happened to have three silk perles by Dinky Dyes as well, a #5, #8 and #12, in three different shades of blue. Why not kill two birds with one stone and try out the Vineyard and Dinky Dyes together?
I began with unsplit Vineyard Classic combined with DD silk perle #8. Coverage in the Kloster blocks is good, and the silk perle has a lovely strong and textured sheen, but it is perhaps a little bulky in the backstitch.
The next combination was another of the Vineyard Classic shades with DD silk perle #12. I like that much better than the #8 – it has the same strong sheen but it shows more detail in the backstitch, and also in the square filet; it would be even more noticeable, I think, if I’d used a dove’s eye.
Then there was the Vineyard Shimmer. This was a golden shade and I had no DD perles that would go with it. But I did have some Kanagawa 1000. This is a 1000 denier silk cord which is used by Gloriana as the base for their Princess Perle Petite, which I love.
I was not disappointed. The Vineyard Shimmer with its single metallic thread among the silk has a subtle sparkle, and the Kanagawa makes for crisp backstitch and a well-defined square filet. The only drawback is that Vineyard Shimmer can sometimes be a little awkward to work with, and the metallic strand occasionally bunches up, but most of the time it’s well-behaved, and the effect is definitely worth it.