A needlepoint problem that bothers me is how to stitch straw or hay. I always used to use plied and recombined overdyed floss, but I never felt as if it looked correct. It always looks too flat and a little bit shiny. I wanted something matte but with texture, looking like real straw.
Next I tried raffia, which you can buy on big spools at craft stores (it’s used as a natural ribbon). Because it is a natural product, just like straw, it looks correct, but it’s always too thick for anything smaller than 12 or 13 mesh canvas.
I had just about given up when The Thread Gatherer came out with Sea Grass, a straw-like thread that’s a perfect size for 18 mesh. I’ve had this in my stash for awhile, but finally used it in this month’s LAS mini-sock in the center right area.
I just love it. Because it looks so much like straw and feels like straw, I thought it would be brittle and hard to use. But it’s not, stitching with it on the mini-sock was no harder than using perle cotton.
In structure it’s a very narrow ribbon, so it’s perfect for being straw in a manger, a barn, or even for a broom, but it will lay flat on the canvas. I didn’t use a laying tool, but had no problems with twisting.
I also love that there is very subtle variation in the color. I can’t see it on the front of the canvas but when I flip the canvas over I can see it. This just adds to the realistic effect.
The thread comes packaged in 14-yard zippered bags and is available in over 40 colors. My only problem with the thread was cutting it into stitching lengths. I couldn’t get a handle on how to unroll the thread to cut it all at once. If you have a tip for this, add it in the comments.