Wool is the product of animal hair that has been cleaned and twisted into a thread or yarn. Sheep, goat, rabbit and llama are all animals whose fleece and fur contribute to wool threads.
When stitching, be sure your needle is threaded with the grain of the thread traveling in the right direction. This will prevent fuzzy stitches.
Wool is a wonderful fiber. It is strong, and its durability ensures along life for the stitched piece. Other than moths and other protein-eating insects, sunlight and heat are threats to wool.
When storing wool threads, it is best to keep them in ventilated containers to prevent moisture from accumulating. Also, do not store your threads in bags which do not have "breathing room." Your wool will felt up and it will be rendered useless.
Alpaca 18: A gray thread which is made of 100% Alpaca wool. The feel of this thread is very soft in the hand. When stitching, do not worry about the thread falling apart in the needle since it is very strong. For a fuzzy appearance, you may wish to give it a light brushing once it has been stitched. This thread is by Rainbow Gallery.
Uses: Animals, cloud accents, hair, beards, blankets, sweaters and furry things
Angora: The words on the label say, “Luxurious 100% Angora.” That tells it all. This very soft thread is fuzzy, soft and easy to work. The thread is strong in the needle. Brush after you have stitched the area for a furry effect. Angora is manufactured by Rainbow Gallery.
Uses: Hair, sweaters, blankets and fuzzy things
Cashmere: Cashmere is a luxurious 100% Cashmere thread. Rainbow Gallery recommends not using this thread for “overly long lengths as the appearance will wear as you stitch.” The thread is strong but it is best to use a larger needle for the size canvas you are using. This allows the thread to lay nicely on the canvas. Brush the stitches for a fuzzy effect.
Uses: Hair, beards, blankets, sweaters and other fuzzy stuff
Designer’s Dream: A single strand wool thread which can be layered in the needle. The color is soft white which will make great animals and hair. The thread is strong but you may want to pair it up with other threads for extra strength. Designer’s Dream is by Rainbow Gallery.
Uses: Hair, animals and beards
EPiC: EPiC’s wool is a 2 ply single strand thread which available in an array of colors. You may think of this as a thin Persian wool thread that is not as fuzzy or thick. The fibers are smooth and lay very nicely on the canvas. EPiC’s thread makes great hair, animals or miniature Persian rugs.
Uses: Miniatures, hair, clothes, animals, foliage, backgrounds, buildings, birds and all-purpose
Kit Kin: Kit Kin, by Caron, is a superfine goat hair and nylon thread which makes wonderful animals, hair, clouds accents and other fuzzy things. You may wish to strand up the thread with embroidery floss or other thread to give it stitching strength. Once it is inserted in the canvas, you can brush it for a fluffy look. When working with Kit Kin, think of animals and fur.
Uses: Clouds, hair, beards, animals, blankets, sweaters and furry things
Knitting Yarn: We have many varieties of knitting yarn which can be stitched in needlepoint if the yarn will pass through the canvas. Stitch a trial sample and see it it can fit your needs. Pictured is Donegal Lambswool by Rowan. This is a fine, 2-ply yarn which can be stitched on 18/1 or larger canvas.
Uses: Depends upon the yarn
Medici (Border Medicis): A thin wool thread which is 2-ply. This thread crewel like wool is excellent for createing petit point in single strand. Because it blends well, you can also use as a multi-strand for larger size canvases. The colors are colorfast and the wool is mothproof. If you desire this thread, you must purchase through Tapisserie de France.
Uses: Hair, clothes, animals, petit point, foliage, birds, buildings, all-purpose
Persian: A three strand, 2-ply thread used for many projects and stitches. This thread is not carried today as much as it has in the past. Persian was the old stand-by before the great multitude of threads we have today. Persian can be used as 1, 2, 3 or more strands in the needle. You can use it for almost any stitch you desire. Because it is a fuzzy thread, you will want to make sure the nap of the thread is traveling in the correct direction. Please see Grain of Thread/Yarn on Tips & Techniques.
Uses: Animals, trees, clothes, hair, foliage, backgrounds and all-purpose
Simply Wool: A very soft overdyed thread created with wool can describe this wonderful thread. The strands are very fine and can be stranded to the thickness your canvas requires. Although this thread can be used in many stitches, I would recommend using it mainly for “picture” projects and not samplers. Simply Wool is by The Gentle Art, Inc.
Uses: Hair, animals, rocks, clothes, foliage, tree trunks and birds
Tapestry: This is the grandmother of threads used for backgrounds on Berlin work. Upholstered items, such as chairs, foot cushions and dining room chairs can be fun to stitch. Tapestry wool is a good candidate for this job since it is hard wearing and easy to work. Basketweave or Continental works best with this thread. Please see Calculating the Required Amount Of Yarn for a chart on quantities needed for your project.
Uses: Upholstered items, backgrounds, pictures worked in tent stitches
Wild Hairs: At first, you will think this thread is a knitting yarn. For needlepointers, Wild Hairs offers a great variety of uses. First of all, couching is best. Use a matching thread and couch in place. Do not try to pass the thread through the canvas holes. Be creative in securing the ends. This thread is The Thread Gatherer.
Uses: Animals, foliage, mountains, accents, hair and sheep