Blackcabbit (aka. Dionnie Takahashi) is an illustrator living in Japan. She loves drawing whimsical animal characters, as well as doing handmade crafts to beautify the world she lives in.
Embroidery threads (or floss) are such eye-candies to me. Whenever I buy new ones, I’m into the habit of pre-washing them and obsessively wind them onto my plastic floss bobbins. Seeing a box of neatly wounded bobbins in rainbow color assortment is so satisfying to my soul.
Most stitching books will strongly advise us to pre-wash the FABRIC before embroidering on it. Otherwise, if the fabric shrunk or color bled through, then the masterpiece will be ruined after the first wash, and all efforts will go to waste. Strangely, the emphasis to prepare the floss likewise is not as strong, or not even mentioned at all. Hence, many stitchers will not bother to pre-wash them despite of the same possible tragic ending. I guess many trusted the leading brands of embroidery threads and their claims of colorfastness.
Well, even from a self-proclaimed OCD’s point of view, pre-washing floss is definitely NOT for everyone. Especially NOT for the hasty and fluttering ones. I don’t want you go tearing your hair out when you end up with mesh of floss ball. However, if we share the same motto in life with “Always to be safe than sorry”, then hear me out.
Out of curiosity, I went to wash the first lots of colors I bought (Cosmo, DMC & Olympus threads). The lot included dark-colored embroidery threads (notorious for bleeding) as well as light colored ones. The result, 6 out of 16 had mild degree of color run.
And what bother me most was that some floss, which include the pastel colored threads, unexpectedly dropped significant amount of tiny lints that “colored” the water. I had to rinse them several time until the water returned clear.
Okay, here is my fraidy cat’s five cents worth on this. Especially for the hasty and fluttering ones who actually read this far, pre-washing only the strong colored floss is the least you can do. I do think that it is a necessary step to safeguard your embroidery. Since the experiment, I decided that a little diligence will go a long way. So, I proceed to wash every colors I’d bought (except white). It gives me a sense of peace as well as comfort to know that now NONE of my threads will ruin my needlework. Furthermore, even with the washing, the colors remain pretty and bright when the floss dry up.
Finally, I thought I’ll end this post by sharing the methods I used to pre-wash the threads with almost no entanglement. There is no shortcut or special trick to it, and it does require vast amount of patience. Just remember, at the end of the day, when you look at your completed embroidery, it will worth it all.