Etoile is DMC’s newest thread. It’s a six-strand thread that combines cotton embroidery floss with metallic. While it’s gotten raves in the embroidery world, I tested it in this Beau Geste piece to see how it would work in needlepoint, which is harder on threads.
My first concern was whether the metallic was in each strand. Happily it is. This means even when you use fewer strands in your stitching, you’ll still get the metallic sparkle.
My second concern was the fact that this thread is not as tightly spun as regular floss. I worried that this fluffiness would make it harder thread the needle or to use for stitching. Yes, I found it slightly harder to thread. I had to use a needle threader consistently with Etoile. I also found that it didn’t stay in the needle as well, I had to rethread more often. In terms of stitching, it provided just as good coverage as cotton floss and made both Tent and textured stitches easily.
I did find, however, that the texture of the thread made it harder to judge the stitches as I was stitching. I hadn’t ever thought of this before, so I must unconsciously compensate for different threads. To deal with this problem, I made sure to check my stitching after each stitching length. This is not a thread I would pick for trying a new stitch or for doing open stitches that require counting.
The other difficulty I found with this thread was in stripping and recombining the strands. It tended to tangle, often. I suspect the fluffy, airy construction of the thread, means that the strands don’t separate as cleanly from their fellows. Were I using this thread on a larger project I would buy about 10% more to cover this problem.
In terms of looks, you can see that Etoile provides bits of metallic sparkle against the matte background of the floss. Because the colors match, the result is subtle. This is not much different from the metallic/base look you get with other combination threads. What Etoile brings to the table is this combination in a stranded thread. That’s great because there are things you can do with stranded threads, you can’t do with round threads as easily. Examples of this are stump work and, sometimes, Bargello.
I did find that the look was more pronounced n textured stitches than in Tent Stitch.
Etoile is dyed and numbered to match DMC floss. The color numbers are distinguished by having a C in front of the number. Currently it comes in 35 colors. The skeins have 8 meters in them, which is about 8.75 yards. This is the same as regular cotton floss from DMC.