Some of you have written to ask about the thread I use and how I choose the colors. (Some of you are hoping I'll start blogging about other crafts again. Next time. I will do that!)
So- to the questions. I like to use pearl cotton (coton perle). Always have preferred it because as a kid/beginner I hated splitting floss and always tangled it up. Somewhere I picked up a bag of pearl cotton and instantly loved it- the texture and luster of the thread, the way it comes off a spool so nicely, the way it behaves. Fewer tangles, easier to stitch with, less to fight. On the other hand, I've also found that it doesn't fill as well. It sits up on the fabric whereas floss flattens out more to fill the space. I use DMC sz 8, but every now and then, I use a heavier gauge because I buy the old thread bundles at church sales and like to work it in sometimes. A really fat thread adds some interesting forms.
Now, where do I get my thread is the other question. Unfortunately, it's a creative desert up here in the suburbs outside NYC, as far as suppliers anyway. Folks around here Buy and rarely Make. So it costs at least 5-25 dollars in tolls or tickets to get to anything remotely interesting as far as suppliers. (rambling aside: That means I rarely go. My mother thought about moving across the Tappan Zee Bridge, but worried I'd never come see her if it cost me 6. to do so every time. Thankfully, she quit talking about that. Had another midnight run to the ER with her Monday night - that's a far better reason to stay close-by. She is okay and happily back at home. 81st birthday tomorrow!)
I haven't found an online source for thread yet. I just stock up when I see it. Sorry, that doesn't really help much, does it? Let us know if you have a good online source for thread.
And then, how do I choose the colors? Thinking about that this week some. Looks like I put a "family" of basic colors in a bowl or basket (or ziplock bag for the travel projects) and then add a few more secondary colors. Almost always I whittle it down to 3 or 4 core colors and try to balance the design with some of each on all parts. Does that make sense?
(WIP note: Can't decide what to do with this pup. Fill him in? Or leave him alone?)
One more thing. I learned from my awesomely brilliant stitching friend, Rebecca that stitching on lightweight cotton works better with two layers of fabric. The sloppiness of the backwork doesn't show through and the double thickness makes everything sturdier. For the back, I use pieces from old cotton pillowcases. Makes it harder to get into the hoop sometimes, but I've decided it's worth the struggle.
Hoping that helps. Some of you know way more about stitching than I will ever know. Feel free to share that info here. I'm self-taught, terribly impatient with technique (thread-splitting) and more than a little unfocused these days. But I'm having fun. Are you?