Updated May 4, 2021.
Tudor Silk is a 12-strand silk from Switzerland, hand-dyed by Gloriana. It’s available in 5-yard packages and comes in 115 solids and multi-colors. The colors are named, numbered, and dyed to match Gloriana’s other silk threads. It comes packaged in small zipper bags.
According to their site, Tudor Silk is “a 12 strand 120/2 silk floss. Each strand is about half the weight of a “normal” strand of silk floss, making this thread ideal for higher count stitching on 40 and 45 count fabrics.”
That fraction, something you see more often in linen threads, tells you something about the structure of the thread. The top number is the denier of one strand of the thread. It’s not a common term for us, but denier is the standard measurement for threads. 120 denier is the same weight as sewing thread.
My visual examination of the thread bore this out.
The bottom number is the number of plies in a strand. This is a two-ply thread.
While 12-strand silks are a traditional silk thread, they are more commonly used for embroidery on cloth instead of on canvas.
In my tests, I found that while you can use Tudor Silk for needlepoint, it’s more challenging to use than silk floss.
Two characteristics contribute to this. First, the thread is twisted more tightly than silk flosses. That makes it hard to separate. I often found that I had to tease out strands with my needle to create a stitching bundle.
Second, the strands are quite thin, so it is a bit more challenging to grab them out of the bundle. Because silk has lots of static electricity, gathering the right number of strands for your piece can be a challenge.
However, there are two applications where this thread will shine. If you do not need to separate strands (for 13 or 14 canvas), this thread can be used as-is and the twist will be a nice contrast to other plied and recombined silk threads. It also `will work well where you want to have a wider variety of thread thicknesses than you can get with other threads.
Many stitchers are big fans of 12-strand silks, if you have liked these threads, you’ll like the lovely colors of this thread. Unless you stitch on larger mesh sizes often, I would stick with silk floss which is easier to use.