In the last months I have been focused about needlelace topic, the mirror I am re-acting has really a lot of parts made in this tecnique so was imperative to understand more about.
I started from threads... which kind ? thickness ? colour range available ?
In old Stumpwork needlelaces, different thicknesses of silk threads where used and silk size is related to the size of the needlelace one is going to make. From what I have seen in old works, a least two different sizes where used. Flowers, leafs and small elements where made in a very fine silk thread comparable with a modern 100/3, larger parts like dresses and grounds where obtained using a thicker thread comparable with a modern 40/3 or Perlè.
The old silk was less twisted than the modern ones available but I believe it's nearly impossible to find on the market a kind of silk that matches perfectly with the old one so I will have to accept a compromise.
In the photo you can see different small tests, these are my final tests after having tryed many other silks that where absolutely not working well.
Devere 18 threads: is a 3 ply filament silk, S twist and has a nice "body". It does not catch on hands also if is a filament kind and is a real pleasure to stitch with.
This size makes this silk a good candidate for small needlelaces, pity that the green gold called Basil is not available since many months so the colour range for historical greens is not complete; good range of browns available.
Devere 36 threads: same as previous, double the thickness, same colour range of the 18 threads. Ideal for larger needlalce parts.
Au Ver A Soie 100/3: is a 3 ply spun silk, similar in size to Devere 18 threads.
Because is a spun silk and has a lower amount of twist, is a bit less "bodied" compared to the Devere 18 th. so needlelace comes out a bit "softer" but this is not a problem specially if corded buttonhole is used.
Has a great colour range ! This will be my choice for flowers and leafs.
Au Ver a Soie Gobelins: is a 2 ply filament silk, not very "bodied" and less twisted than the previous ones. Personally I don't like so much the look that this thread gives to needlelace as seems me a bit messy but this is just me.
Au Ver A Soie Perlè: is a filament silk, with a nice body similar to size 40/3 so much thicker than the others. Colour range available is pretty good and it's an easy silk to use. I really like the look that this thread gives to larger pieces of needlelace so this will be my second choice for grounds and dresses.
Not shown but tested, Mulberry Silks 3 ply filament F40/3 is also a very good option to AVAS Perlè as is very similar , maybe a bit stiffer which in some cases is not bad. Good colour range available but is not listed in Mulberry web site so ordering this silk is always a trouble as one needs to refer to the colour sets listed in the other kind of silk and ask to convert them in F40/3.
Coats Faro is a filament 3 ply 40/3 buttonhole silk, generally used by taylors to hand stitch buttonholes. Gives nice results like Perlè and Mulberry but I don't know if it is easy to get everywhere and I don't think it worths the research ( I found some spools as bargain for few cents in a stock house that's why I have it).
Hope this helps...
And what about you ? What do you generally use or plan to use? Please share your experience and suggestions with stumpwork needlelace !