A word is needed here about thread. The vast majority of Gerda’s designs were stitched in Danish Flower Thread, a thread developed by the Danish Handcraft Guild. Gerda herself was an experienced dyer, and no doubt she had plenty of input into the resulting rainbow of shades.
You can still buy them today. They’re not dyed with plants anymore, but the 130 colors are very similar to the originals. More about the threads here.
I’ll be stitching with DMC thread. DMC comes in 400 colors. More colors are always better, more life-like right? I’m going to need some of these for Texas’ wildflowers. The bright pinkish-purple of pointed phlox really isn’t represented in Flower Thread.
A closer look at the threads will explain my choice. Danish Flower Thread is the teal thread on the left. DFC is a matte (not shiny) cotton, rather soft and loosely twisted. It’s non-divisible and is usually worked with one strand in the needle–and it can be very difficult to get that strand through the eye of a medium or small needle! Because it can’t be subdivided, it is not useful on very high thread-count fabrics. It’s about as thick as two strands of DMC (middle purple.)
DMC is a lustrous, mercerized stranded cotton. The six plies can be separated and as many strands as needed can be put in the needle. (This also lets you blend colors!) A single strand is thinner than a single strand of Flower Thread. It works up as miniatures beautifully, down to about 30 to 32 stitches per inch. It holds up a little better and untwists a lot less than Flower Thread when stitching, and it is easier to get through the eye of a needle. Finished work stitched with DMC has a bit of a sheen.
For a Gerda design on 14 to 18 count linen, the soft matte Flower Thread looks just right.
I like the look of the finished product, but I have to admit that I find stitching with the stuff, at least with the needles I have, to be annoying. There. I said it.
When I start stitching, it’s going to be with DMC. Undskyld, Gerda. Vær venlig at tilgive mig.