Ann Caswell, Suzanne Howren & Beth Robertson, ISBN: 0-9720237-1-2. 2005.
I will admit, I’m a serious thread addict. Surveys say women buy lipstick more than any
other beauty product when they need a lift. Well not me, I buy thread — new threads, new
colors, or even yet another skein of a color I love. So the first edition of The Thread
Thesaurus had a place on my bookshelf right away.
But the revised edition is EVEN BETTER. If you don’t own this book, go out and buy it.
Right now. If you own the first edition, go out and buy the new one. Right now. It’s that
What the authors have done is analyzed, classified and described threads, something
never done before, making a reference book. Over 400 new threads and a ribbon section
have been added to the book.
Each thread is described, with notations about manufacturer/distributor, numbers and
types of colors, packaging, ply, and size equivalent. There is also additional text
information about each thread.
For example, I could use the book to compare package sizes of two similar threads and
find out if I needed to buy more (or less) or the thread I was considering, And with the
consistent sizing system, I can even do this across fibers, comparing cotton with wool or
Also new to this edition are the thread conversion charts. These charts look like mileage
charts on maps and are used in a similar way. With them, you can see what the ratio
would be if I wanted to substitute Pebbly Perle for #5 pearl cotton in a design.
At the end of the book is a listing of thread manufacturers and distributors (including
websites), a glossary, a bibliography and an index. The book includes an alphabetical
thread list, thread tips and tricks, and an essay on how to use the book.
In addition, the book covers many threads which have been discontinued or which are
used for other forms of embroidery, such as Brazilian Embroidery, making it a book useful
for all types of needlework.
With the amazing outpouring of new threads, these kind of charts are needed and having
reference at your fingertips about threads, makes it do easy to pick threads and customize
your work to the threads which are available to you. Needless to say, I’ve already had
plenty of opportunity to use it and it’s staying right on my desk, with my thread color
Update December 2013: This book is out of print, but it remains amazingly useful. It’s worth seeking out & if you find it — buy it!