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Madeira or DMC?

(17 posts)
  • Started 5 years ago by Marie Stein
  • Latest reply from Auntie Beryl
  1. Marie Stein
    Member

    I've been using DMC threads since I started cross stitching about 2 years ago. I get very frustrated at the way that the threads are delivered - in 6 strands and on the stitchbow which makes kinks in the threads. Plus even if you just need a small amount of a particular colour, you have to unwind 6 threads at a time and however organised I try to be, putting smaller lengths on thread cards etc, I find the whole thing a real palava.
    I see that Madeira are "spiral wound" which I assume means that it's not wrapped round a stichbow. Does it come in 6 strands like DMC? I'd be interested in any comments about this subject!
    Thanks, Marie

    Posted 5 years ago #
  2. Christine Berrett
    Administrator

    Madeira is a 6-stranded cotton, in the same way as DMC and Anchor are, but it's packaging is radically different from the others. Madeira make the following claim for their embroidery threads:

    "MADEIRA flosses are securely packed in practical and unique packaging which protects the precious thread from dust and dirt. No more waste, no more knots or loose ends as seen with skeined floss. Simply pull the thread you need, the rest stays clean and tangle free in its self-storage pack and can be stitched to the very last inch."

    However, I have only stitched with Madeira threads as supplied in cut lengths in Jane's kits, so I can't comment on the packaging from personal experience.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  3. Brigitte Gant
    Member

    I never took to the funny DMC stick to accommodate the wound skein. I wind all my threads onto little card bobbins. I know they get a bit tatty after a while, but I don't think it is going to break the bank buying a new pack once in a blue moon. The Madeira packaging seems like a good idea, but once the thread is out of the spiral it is jolly well impossible to frig it back into the pack. And any left over lengths have to be tied onto the other end immediately when not in use other wise there is no telling what colour number the big just picked off the floor is meant to be. Once there are a few of those lying about the loose threads get quite tangled up which I found very annoying. Sorry, but I prefer my tidy boxes with the bobbins all numbered and sorted in sequence. If the rest of my household were as sorted as my yarn boxes it would be out of this world.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  4. Carol
    Member

    I agree the Madeira packaging is annoying. No matter how hard I try I often pull out too much thread and it will certainly never go back in. I prefer using DMC or Anchor but there are issues in all types of packaging. I do use bobbins but mostly once the skein are about half used and there is a risk of the wrappers falling off so I cannot tell the number. My thread box is unfortunately as untidy as my house.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  5. Rita Barron
    Member

    Ditto Brigitte! All my DMC threads are wound on card bobbins, numbered and in plastic boxes in numerical order. I have tried various methods of storing thread and find this way the best for me. I have used Madeira threads but find that once you pull gout length out of the packaging you have six threads at one time. It is a kerfaff to push your unused strands back in the packet. So I personally don't find it any easier!
    Yes wish my house was as organised as my threads too! Not a hope only a dream!!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  6. Janet Nicholl
    Member

    I prefer DMC and use the wooden thread cards (used to use a piece of thick card with holes punched) a piece of wide masking tape down the centre of the card and a fine felt pen notes the colour number and symbol next to 2 holes. The first hole is for the several lengths that may come in a kit and the second for the part lengths when I have already pulled a strand. If I am using thread from the stash I cut a length and keep the part length on the card. If you double the strand and push the loop through the hole and the ends through the loop it is possible to gently pull one strand from the loop. Oh yes - the piece of masking tape also has a note of the project on it as I have muddled them up in the past as I always seem to have too many on the go at once!!! I do keep the DMC threads on the bows in folders but take a length of each colour when I start a project. After finishing a project I do wind the surplus onto the little cards and try and remember to check there first before starting a new project!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  7. Jean Strange
    Member

    I also put threads for current project on wooden thread cards from Jane, and wind surplus onto card bobbins. I have 2 boxes one for DMC and one for Madeira. I have only used Madeira as supplied in kits but have a full range of DMC skiens which I keep in plastic bags labelled with the numbers e.g. 200, 300, 700-750. I try looking in boxes first if I am sourcing from my stash also useful if for any reason you need just a bit of thread to finish a kit (when I have had to do too much reverse stitching!!)

    Posted 5 years ago #
  8. Christine Berrett
    Administrator

    I tend to use Anchor threads, as those are the easiest to obtain locally. I'm semi-organised, with skeins stored in labelled plastic bags, like Jean. However, when I'm looking for something else I tend to come across random bags with selections of threads that I haven't put away, so the system is not foolproof!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  9. Barbara Stone
    Member

    I prefer to use thread off bobbins, like Brigitte, and these go in my chest that my father made for me, and was designed specifically to put the bobbins into. However, I have used Madeira and I'm not fond of it. I dislike the packaging, simply because you can't restuff it back inside once you've pulled it out.
    I don't know if anybody else is like me, but I'm not fond of using Madeira anyway - it knots for a pastime, and shreds like crazy, if you have to do any reverse stitching.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  10. Brigitte Gant
    Member

    I agree, Barbara. Am glad I did not invest into the whole range when we went there. I love stitching with Steph Francis Raw Silk. That hardly ever knots up. I also love the V&H and HF flower threads.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  11. Marie Stein
    Member

    Really interesting comments here. Sounds like some people are much more organised than others! I'd agree with Barbara about Madeira knotting easily, whatever sort of needle I'm using or the size of the linen (i.e. 28 count or 32 count). But it sounds as though I'm not the only person who finds the whole business of the thread a bit of a pain. I really wish that the DMC threads were supplied in single strands, it would be less wasteful and much easier to use, especially when you just need a small amount.

    I usually keep my skeins in the DMC stitchbow/folders, taking off what I need for each project and keeping the spare bits around the plastic bobbins in a storage box. But I get frustrated with the DMC plastic cards because if I forget to put them in the box at the end of the evening, the thread almost always becomes loose because the little "slits" for fastening the ends are too big!

    Does anybody know why the skein are traditionally supplied as 6 threads? I used to embroider when I was younger and never used more than 2 threads at a time, so I'm wondering why the 6 thread skeins came about?

    Posted 5 years ago #
  12. Barbara Stone
    Member

    Why don't we ask them when we go in December? Somebody remind us please, and we can get a definite reply. The answer will probably be "because it's tradition" and we'll be as ignorant as we are now.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  13. How interesting to read all these comments. Like some of you I too wind my threads onto the card bobbins. I have virtually the full range of DMC and keep these cards filed in number order in the plastic boxes. (I have five boxes to hold those particular threads). I then have another box in which I keep my Perle cottons - viz: white in a row of 5, 8 and 12, then ecru in 5, 8's and 12's and other colours where appropriate. So that's 6 boxes (!) - THEN - I have another box in which I keep my silks - Gloriana, Stef Francis and also stored in there are my variegated floss threads, in sections of Anchor, DMC. The final box then holds ordinary Anchor threads (of which I have about 40), the Madeira thread 'leftovers' accumulated from CSG project weekends and some of the old Venus threads. (remember those? - you never see them nowadays, I must've got them in a kit of some sort years ago.)

    My system is: (oh God this girl is going to get really boring now...): When I intend stitching something I take out all the card bobbins of threads I intend using, stitch whatever it is I'm doing and then I have a very pretty little cardboard box into which all the card bobbins are placed in higgledy piggledy fashion as a temporary measure, and then shortly afterwards I will file them all away back into their respective 'permanent' homes.

    I also make a point with the Madeira threads when we get back from a CSG weekend (and no, I'm not madly keen on them either) to put them onto the proper card bobbins rather than just leave on the card with holes up the side.

    As you can tell from all this waffle - I like things neat and tidy. That must say a lot about me psychologically, I leave you to come to your own conclusions; but in my own defence I always know where everything is and can go to it immediately and if anyone else shouts out 'has someone got a bit of....' I need only two seconds to look and think 'yes, I can help'

    I was feeling very smug with myself, until I've just realised I came upstairs to use this blessed machine for a special purpose..and now I can't remember what it was......

    Posted 5 years ago #
  14. Barbara Stone
    Member

    Brenda, I like my threads to be nice and tidy, purely and simply because they mate with each other if you leave ends loose. (Well mine do, but maybe I've got threads with odd habits). I'd love to be nice and organised in every other manner, but I'm not, I'm afraid but I can normally put my hands on things if somebody asks me for it. I'm sure my husband would love me to be more organised that I am at the moment.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  15. Marie Stein
    Member

    Yes I'd love to know, so please do ask!

    In the meantime I'm starting a new project this week with some new threads and thought I'd see if it's possible to separate a single thread from a new skein. And it is! You have to be a bit careful and you need space to do it, but in about 30 mins, I've separated single threads from about a dozen different skeins and wound them, by hand, onto the cardboard/plastic bobbins. Hope to get the rest done this evening, then when I get my linen onto my frame, I'll be ready to go with the threads ready for use.

    Sounds a bit OCD but I'll enjoy my projects much more if I've got the threads ready from the start.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  16. Brigitte Gant
    Member

    Brenda, we are too of a kind. I have the whole DMC range in 6 boxes, spare colours in 3. Two boxes for the whole range of HF flower thread and 3 for the V&H ones and 1 box for some Anchor colours and various other makes which I somehow acquired. White and ecru perlé yarns in one tin, coloured in another. Madeiras in a plastic box that ones housed a large number of chocolates which are individually wrapped in gold foil. I keep saying I will get my paper filing up to the same standard of tidiness - would have really helped when getting the stuff together to take to the German Embassy when I have to apply for my new passport - but then that would only take up valuable stitching time.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  17. Auntie Beryl
    Member

    I have been using Anchor threads for 70 years . I have tried D.M.C. but found them difficult to use . I am not over - impressed with Madiera either , but as I cant buy madeira in my neck -of-the - woods that is not a problem ! I store my threads on stitch-bows in plastic sleeves . the stitchbows have a small hook to take the number wrapper .They are stored in box -folders which I find the most convenient . However , it is the enjoyment we get from stitching that is important .
    Happy stitching , everyone . See you soon .

    Posted 5 years ago #

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