I love trying out new materials and techniques in my cross stitch. And thread is no different! I recently did a review of Lecien brand threads and really enjoyed the experience, so I wanted to try out even more brands. Today, I’ll be testing out Sulky’s Cotton Petites, Sulky Metallics, and even a Sulky Holoshimmer.
By experimenting with materials, it really helps me branch out and add a level of creativity to my projects, and I definitely recommend you try some of these for yourself as well!
Table of Contents
Many of you are probably curious why I chose this particular brand to try today. They seem to be mostly known in sewing / quilting circles. Can you really cross stitch with them?
Well I saw it mentioned in passing a few times on flosstube. Never from someone who had stitched with it themselves, but whose pattern recommended Sulky, or they’d heard Sulky petites were good for cross stitching, etc. All hearsay, for the most part. So I decided to do some research.
I found a few mentions of their 12 weight Petites being ‘about the same’ as 2-strand DMC. Others saying it was closer to 1.5 strands DMC. Others claiming it to be much thinner.
I also found a few thread conversion charts from DMC to Sulky Petites, though none seemed to include the full collection yet. So I decided I should just try it out myself
I’m not sponsored by Sulky and have not been given any free product to try. I bought it all myself. I do however, have affiliate links for sulky.com included in this post. Despite that, all my opinions are my own and I will be completely honest with you regarding my experiences with their products.
Where to buy Sulky threads
I bought mine directly from Sulky.com. I ended up picking up this 12-pack of colors called “Garden Strolls”, put together by designer Carolyn Manning. It does come with a design, but mainly I just wanted a nice variety of colors. This one had a nice spring rainbow including both blendables (variegated) and plain cottons, so I figured it’d give me a nice test range.
I actually found it really interesting that they had a number of designer-branded collections to choose from. Each has their own unique packaging and I really love that they’ve worked with their community to put together some unique collections. It’s just not something I’ve seen done with other brands.
The only blue in this pack was within the green/purple variegated threads. Plus I wanted to try out their metallics as well. So I picked up a spool of their Original Metallics in 7044 Prism Blue. Lastly, I was really intrigued by their Holoshimmer line, so I picked up a spool of 6045 Multi Dark.
Shipping was pretty quick and I received it within the week, but if you’re looking for that sweet free 2-day Prime shipping, there’s also plenty of packs available on Amazon. Just be sure you’re getting the ’12 weight’ or ‘Petites’ for use in cross stitch due to it’s thickness. But we’ll get to that soon.
I know I have a lot of European/International readers, so while researching for this review, I found links for Sulky UK and Sulky DE as well. I also saw some stores referring to it as Gütermann Sulky. So keep that in mind when shopping outside the US.
Cross Stitch with Sulky Threads
Okay, enough chatting. Let’s get to stitching! I started with the Sulky Metallics because I have no chill. To stay consistent, I’m using the same patterns I used for my last review, which you can get for free in my Pendant Tutorial post.
At first glance I can definitely tell you the Metallics are definitely a lot thinner than the Petites cotton. So this pattern was started using two strands of the metallic thread.
I wasn’t thrilled with the coverage. Also using two strands was kind of infuriating. This thread is SO silky smooth and shiny and beautiful. This also makes it very slippery and it does not want to stay together. It’s still somehow less finicky than DMC Light Effects, though. Regardless, I didn’t get very far before I decided to frog it and start over with one of the cottons.
This time, stitched with one of the Sulky Petites Blendables. It’s this lovely reddish purple which was perfect for my heart. Looking at it on 14 count, it definitely seems thicker than a single strand of DMC, but not quite two. It’s a bit sparse on 14 count, but I rather like it when my Xs are actually distinguishable. If you prefer thicker coverage, I’d definitely use two strands or use a different count fabric.
It is a pretty soft thread though. Not quite as soft as the Lecien Cosmo, but definitely softer than some of the DMC variegated threads I’ve worked with.
The leaves are stitched with a Petite Cotton. And then accented with the same Metallic blue from earlier. In such a small area, the two strands of metallic doesn’t look nearly as empty as it did in that large block, and I’m quite happy at the lovely shimmer it adds to the project.
Now add a Holo Taco…
Lastly, I wanted to try out the Holoshimmer. This is just as thin as the metallic, but also flat. It feels like tinsel almost. While the Metallic is very soft and smooth, this is flat and metallic and feels like it’d be very easy to break.
I used shorter strands for this, and rather than try to work with two strands at once, I loaded my needle with just one and went over each section of backstitch twice to add thickness.
It is possible this would be better suited as a blending filament. I plan to try stitching it alongside a single strand of Petites Cotton next time to see how that goes. But this review is already going to be pretty long.
Absolutely no photo will do this thread justice though. It is incredibly holographic and reflective. The ‘multicolor’ aspect of it is much more obvious in person. It actually kind of hurts to look at when it’s all concentrated onto a single spool, but as detailing on a project like this it really does complement it well.
Spools and Stickers
Speaking of the spools, I have a few things to note. Like many sewing spools, the cap can be pulled up to hold the end of your thread. It’s a bit thicker than the Kreinik spools and feels a little sturdier. It does its job well.
The ends of the spool are hollow though, and you can already see in the photo above that the stickers have been punched in. I have been working with it all of five minutes, and the stickers are already getting destroyed, which is a little concerning. But overall, I do like the packaging and that I don’t have to transfer my thread to bobbins.
Sulky Threads on Evenweave
Ultimately, I’m happy with how things were looking on 14 count. And I’m already planning a pattern to stitch on 16 count next. In the meantime though, I wanted to see how things looked on 28 count.
I decided to try the Metallics again, and stitched our first heart with one strand, making full crosses over one. Something I normally hate doing with DMC. This time though, it wasn’t that bad. I still am not convinced by the coverage, though.
My second heart would be 2 strands over 1, still with full Xs. It was a bit tougher to work with due to the slipperiness of the threads, but I was much happier with the coverage. I finished up the third heart the same way.
For the Cotton Petites, I used 1 strand over 1, but tent stitched this time. French knots were also attempted, and the thread was so smooth it was rather easy to accomplish.
Sticking to just a single pass this time, I did the backstitch in holoshimmer again. This thread was surprisingly easy to work with. Sure, I had to use my needle as a laying tool to get it to sit flat on the fabric, but it wasn’t fraying or stretching or tangling up on itself.
I am very pleased with how these turned out. I even like how the 28 count hearts are different weights. It almost seems intentional! I feel like I definitely want to use more of these threads in the future, though I’ll need to test with a few more fabric counts first.
Sulky Threads vs Other brands
Petite Cottons & Petite Blendables
The Sulky Petite Cottons and Sulky Petite Blendables are indeed about 1 1/2 strands of DMC cotton, I’d say. Although they’re not metallics, they do have a sheen to them that other embroidery cottons don’t usually have. Depending on your pattern and personal preferences this could be good or bad, I suppose. But I like the layer of texture it adds to a piece.
The blendables are about what you’d expect from a variegated thread. Though the options available tend to be a bit more subtle gradients than the vivid color changes of the DMC Coloris line or the Lecien Cosmo 9000 series.
I plan to experiment with using both DMC and Sulky cottons in a piece together to add that extra dimension of texture. I’ll be sure to do a followup post if I do!
As mentioned previously, these metallics are very thin! Which is actually good because you can determine the weight you want just by changing up the number of strands you use.
I tend to use my go-to metallic thread, Kreinik Very Fine #4, (pictured below) but that can feel a bit thick when stitching over 1 on 28 count. Yet the Sulky Metallics are at least half that thickness!
The Sulky metallics are also much more of a shimmery pearlescent sheen rather than the scratchy, glittery shimmer of most metallic threads. As my good friend pole_and_needles pointed out to me, “Sulky might be more suitable for like sparkle and shimmer on water, but Kreinik to get a glitter effect.” She’s absolutely right. Truly this blue would be absolutely gorgeous for water.
The sheer softness of the Sulky Metallics is noticeable too. Especially compared to gritty Kreinik or the constantly fraying DMC Light Effects.
I really don’t have anything to compare the Sulky Holoshimmer line to. It’s absolutely gorgeous though. I know Kreinik has a line of Holographic Blending Filament and high lustre threads, but I haven’t had the chance to work with it yet. Perhaps that should be my next review. I’ll add in a link to that here once I do.
I really enjoyed the colors I got in the set, and am already planning a new pattern with them in mind so that I can test out 16 count coverage. Keep an eye out for that in the coming weeks!
Edit: I did end up writing a part 2 for this review, testing out this thread on 16 count!
Although I am absolutely in love with the Holoshimmer, I don’t know how many designs I can get away with sneaking it into.
While I don’t think I’ll be ‘switching’ to Sulky any time soon, or stitching entire projects in these threads, I did enjoy stitching with them. They will certainly come in handy for accents and to introduce different textures to my projects. I’ll definitely be sneaking them into designs in the future, and probably picking up some more colors to play with.