When you’ve been needlepointing a long time, chances are that some of your favorite threads have been discontinued. It’s irritating enough when it’s something you are stitching for yourself. It’s even more frustrating when you write stitch guides.
Many stitch guide writers don’t update for discontinued threads. Even more frustrating, some folks at shops can’t help you with substitutes. That’s a big problem because shops should be able to suggest substitutes when an in-production thread is out of stock and their customers don’t want to wait.
Owl Stitchery has a wonderful blog post about what to do when there are discontinued threads.
If you find you need to substitute one thread for another, pick your new thread based on these considerations:
- Is this thread made by another manufacturer? If so use that company’s thread if the color works with your other threads.
- Is a thread with the same construction available in a different fiber? For example, substituting cotton an silk floss for each other.
- Are there other threads from this fiber that are similar in color and shine? You could use a braided metallic for a metallic ribbon in Tent Stitch with no problem, for example.
If you can’t find anything that fits in these baskets, you’ll need to be more creative. You’ll need to think about what is most important in your project: color, texture, or construction. Then pick your substitute thread from threads similar in that characteristic.
About Janet M Perry
Janet Perry is the Internet's leading authority on needlepoint. She designs, teaches and writes, getting raves from her fans for her innovative techniques, extensive knowledge and generous teaching style. A leading writer of stitch guides, she blogs here and lives on an island in the northeast corner of the SF Bay with her family
Colleen Gurr says
Janet, you are right on the numbers concerning discontinued threads. I found no substitute to the point I got creative (your suggestion) and put a mountain in a corner of the piece. (the piece was native american, indian chief with a hawk just above him. Now there is sky above the hawk and a mountain in the lower right corner, and it worked, it is a different look than the solid biege background, but J. still loves it.
Thank you. Colleen