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Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Anchor Floss on Spools as Seen at Joann's

I was in my local Joann's Fabric Store on July 22, with a friend and spotted this display of Anchor Floss on spools. It was just being put up so it is not complete. I was intrigued by this and purchased a spool to compare with Anchor floss I have at home. I purchased color 0336.

The display is very nice and it appears it will have all the anchor colors using the same numbers on the skeins.  There is a handy DMC to Anchor conversion chart on the display rack.

The spool has 10m of 100% cotton six strand embroidery floss. The skein has 8m of 100% cotton six strand embroidery floss. My skein is from Germany, the spool is from Hungary, assembled in the USA. Spool Color number is 0336, skein is 336.

When I first compared these side by side the floss on the spool seemed thinner than that on the skein. My local stich group thought the same and we even compared individual strands.  In all fairness, I must add that my skein could be anywhere from 20 to 2 years old. I am not sure how to tell, and not sure that makes a difference thickness wise.  

The cut piece on the left in the photo below is from the spool, the other is from the skein.

I though it might be nice to see how each looks when stitched. So I quickly stitched some samples. I did the best I could to stitch each in the same manner. That is, I did not use a laying tool for either spool thread or skein thread. However, I did strip and recombine the strands before using. I used fabric from my stash.

The ground fabric from left to right is: mint green 28 count Cashel Linen,  an unknown 14 count aida and a French Blue 18 count mono canvas.

The set of stitches on the left in each sample is floss from the spool, the right side is from the skein.
The stitch order and floss count are the same for all:
Band 1 is tent stitch with 2 strands of floss.
Band 2 is cross stitch with 2 strands of floss.
Band 3 is satin stitch with 2 strands of floss.
Band 4 is satin stitch with 4 strands of floss.
Band 5 is cross stitch with 4 strands of floss
Band 6 is tent stitch with 4 strands of floss.

Some strand counts may be too little or too much for the fabric count, but I wanted to be uniform throughout. 

Here are some close ups of each.

Cashel Linen 28 count linen

 14 count Aida

French Blue 18 count mono canvas

Bottom line: I do think the floss from the skein gives a little bit better coverage, but maybe not enough of a difference to worry. This is my opinion only. I hope I give you enough information to make your own decisions. 

There are many factors besides the thickness to consider when buying on the spool vs skein. Here are a few I can think of:
  1. Desire to support local needlework shops (LNS) - if there is one.
  2. Storage (will I need a new system if I use spools?)
  3. Cost (spool has more on it for the same or less amount of money)
  4. Ease of obtaining (Anchor floss may not be available at my LNS)
Personally, I try my best to support the needlework shops whenever possible. Also, I do not want have to figure out  a new storage system for spools, cost is not a huge concern and my LNS (or needlework shops I work with online) have what I need. So, for me I will be sticking with the skeins. Although, I must admit for some projects that jumbo spool with 30 m could be temping!

I hope you found the blog post helpful and 

Happy Stitching!!


JustGail said...

Interesting. I haven't been in Joann for many weeks now.

I'd add a 5th consideration - do we really need more plastic waste added to the world? One nice thing about skeins is they have only a bit of paper for packaging. But I will say the spools would, perhaps, prevent the tangled mess inconsiderate shoppers in chain stores leave the floss skeins.

Unknown said...

I wonder if the process of winding the floss onto spools might have more tension on the thread and cause it to seem thinner.