While I could be accused of never seeing a thread I didn’t like (although this is untrue), there are few threads I’ve used that I like as much as Gloriana’s Duchess Silk.
You can see the testament to this throughout this review.I have used this thread in every canvas but one that did not come kitted with threads since I came home from Phoenix.
Sized about the same as Silk & Ivory or Vineyard Silk, I’d call it a fat Perle #5. It’s very lofty, so it can compress enough for Tent Stitch on 18 mesh for many stitchers. In the quilt block project pictured above, you can see how the pink Tent Stitches compress and are lower than the longer Diagonal Gobelins in the same patches.
But it’s wonderful for longer stitches and for knots (center of flowers in the kimono). You can see how the size of the knots affects the color. The left flower has single wrap knots. They are tight (compressed thread) and quite small. The right flower has two-wrap knots. They are a bit looser, more fluffy and show a greater variation in color.
Gloriana’s other perles, Princess Perle and Princess Perle Petite, are more shiny and have a much tighter twist than Duchess does. This gives interesting effects when you combine them. I think it could be cool to do base stitching in Duchess with overstitching in Princess.
The colors I have seem to fall into three groups. Solid, such as the red and ecru used on the painted stitches tree above. Very softly shaded, such as the pink in the quilt block. The variation here can be seen easily in the skein, but is quite subtle when the stitch is done in vertical or horizontal rows. It is, however, too much for diagonal rows.
The final group, semi-solids, can be seen in the brown bunnies on the Petei mini-sock above. With two sizes of bunnies you can see how the variation works. The changes are obvious on the larger bunny and show how these kind of threads must be used with correctly done Continental as the Tent Stitch.
Like many silk threads, Duchess Perle has directional light. This means that the color changes, depending on the direction of the stitch. Not only does the color change but, looking at the quilt square sitting next to me, so does the amount of sheen. The reverse stitches are both darker and more matte than the regular stitches. This is not true of the violet wool next to it.
This characteristic is one that you can exploit easily to bring depth to your needlepoint. It will give additional depth to four-way Bargello. You can make items in the background recede slightly by stitching them in reverse stitches. Finally, a stitch going in both directions, such as Criss-cross Hungarian, will be more interesting because it will have even more texture.
There are many stitchers who are afraid that silk is hard to use. If so, try Duchess Perle. It is a single-ply thread, so there is no stripping and laying. It’s lofty size makes it highly adaptable. Finally it stitches like a dream.
I can’t wait to get back to the next project which, of course, uses it again.