Have you tried the Caron Collection Watercolours threads? They are a 3 ply cotton thread that are handpainted in various colours and with a silky sheen. They are made in the USA, and each skein contains 9metres (10yards).
When you see a skein of Watercolours on the rack, they appear very chunky and are therefore often overlooked. Don't be deceived! The plies can be separated into three separate strands and one ply is equivalent to approx a perle 5 thread or 5 strands of cotton floss or 1 strand of Persian wool. This means it is an extremely versatile thread which can be used for most forms of embroidery.
For needlepoint and tapestry, it is recommended that you use 1 ply for 18 count canvas, 1 ply for Bargello on Congress 24 canvas, 2 ply for 13/14 count canvas and 3 ply for a 10 count canvas. The scissor fob pictured above is a needlepoint design from Sekas & Co, stitched on 18ct canvas with 1 ply of Watercolours Jade (066), Watercolours Flame (045) and DMC perle 5 Black.
Watercolours can be used effectively for cross stitch - on 11 count and 14 count fabrics, use 1 ply over 1 thread, and for 18 and 20 counts, use 1 ply over 2 threads. In preparing to write this article, I played with the threads and achieved very good coverage on 14ct Aida using 1 ply over 1 thread (or one square for those of you who are more familiar with counting squares than threads).
I have seen Watercolours used for Kloster blocks in hardanger and in this case 1 ply is used on 18, 22 and 25count hardanger fabrics.
It is a great thread for tied thread or big stitch quilting and can also be used for sashiko.
For creative embroidery, it has many applications as it offers versatility depending on the number of plies you use.
We have a number of customers who use it for punch needle where generally 1 ply is used.
To better control the smoothness of your stitching, separate the three plies even if you are putting all three into your needle!
The range of colours is very large, with lots of colour combinations to choose from. Because the threads are handpainted, each skein is a little bit different and as with most variegated threads we suggest you buy all you require for your project, from the one batch. This will ensure more consistent colours, if this is what you require.
In addition to the Watercolours range, the Caron Collection features a number of other thread ranges including Waterlilies (a 12 ply hand dyed silk) and Wildflowers (a single strand hand dyed cotton equivalent in weight to a Flower thread, a 1 ply wool or between a perle 8 and perle 12 cotton).
We have just restocked our stands of all of the Caron Collection so if you are interested in checking out this range, click on the link below.
Check out this range
For free patterns using this thread range check out the website for the Caron Collection