Wednesday, June 16

Choosing Cotton Thread for Crochet Jewelry

3 rows deep

I have a handsome stash of a fine quality cotton crochet thread called Opera, ranging in sizes from #5 (approaching "fingering" weight") to #30 (might look like sewing thread to some folks, but sewing thread is more like a size #100 or #120). I use it mostly for crocheting jewelry. Because of the quality of its cotton fiber, higher twist and smooth finish, the jewelry I've made with it stays looking great longer.

Opera is made by Coats, though regrettably I must now say WAS made by Coats. What to do?
UPDATEI'm having great luck with a new high-quality crochet thread called Lizbeth! I love the colors and best of all it's a 6-cord thread (see below).

Here are some things I look for when choosing crochet thread, especially for jewelry:
  1. The higher the twist, the better. It will stay looking new longer and will hold its shape well.
  2. The number of plies matters--the more, the better. Threadies will refer to a thread as a "3-cord" or a "6-cord". Perle cotton is a "2-cord" thread. I've seen 6-cord threads referred to as "cordonnet" and heirloom-quality. Generally speaking, 6-cord is great for jewelry--at least, the kind that I like to design. Opera is an extra special 3-cord thread, so that's why I say generally speaking.
  3. The quality of the cotton used. One can't always tell by look and feel because the fibers can have finishes added that give it a smoother, denser, shinier look on the ball. After some use, a lower-quality thread will get fuzzy or hairy, indicating that cheaper, shorter fiber lengths were used.
  4. Pretty colors! Some of the best threads have traditionally been available in only white, off-white, and black. Boring!
The best crochet threads for jewelry seem to be imported. Although your local yarn shop likely has a good selection of imported yarns, very few yarn shops carry heirloom-quality crochet thread.
Where to find great thread for jewelry? Mainly on the internet if you live in the USA. Occasionally I see DMC Cordonnet (an excellent thread) in a craft chain store, but only in white in a size #50 or crazier thinner (for tatting). I wonder if it's easy to tint with dyes....