Floss review: The Silk Mill

This floss review of The Silk Mill is part of a series about floss types and brands and how to use them.  See below for a giveaway!

Europe Themed Set
Europe Themed Set

 

What is it?

The Silk Mill produces over 700 shades of solid colour silk floss.  The floss is 100% Chinese monofilament silk thread and is produced in China to their specifications. The floss comes in skeins of six strands of 6.5 metres long, with a total skein length of 39 metres. These silks bring a subtle sheen to your stitching.

With over 700 shades of colour (compared to DMC’s 454 colours) The Silk Mill can be used anywhere you use DMC. They even supply a DMC to The Silk Mill Conversion chart.

Mini Baby Blues
Mini Baby Blues

History

The Silk Mill is a small, family run business founded in 2001.

The idea for the Silk Mill grew from frustration at trying to find decent thread in a wide range of colours for doing needlepoint. I experimented with silk, and although the thickness was not correct, I fell in love with the sheen and subtlety of silk. Nothing else would do!

After much investigation I was able to negotiate with a company in China who were prepared to meet my exact requirements and produce the silk just as I wanted it.

After a few false starts, together we created the perfect silk thread for needlepoint and embroidery. But it required such large orders that I realised I would have to share it with other needlework enthusiasts for production to be viable. So the idea to start an online business evolved. At the time I was living in a renovated water mill so The Silk Mill seemed like the perfect name for our new company.

We have chosen each colour and named it, often finding inspiration from flowers, and food or family experiences.

(From The Silk Mill)

The Silk Mill silk floss can be bought in a number of ways:

Single Colour – every one of The Silk Mill silk skeins can be bought individually. There is no minimum-sized order. This is however the most expensive way to buy Silk Mill floss.

Silk Mill - 3235 Vieux Rose
Silk Mill – 3235 Vieux Rose

Colour Shade Sets – 1 skein of each shade in various colours. Note that some of the major colours like red and blue have tonal shade sets (ie Reds and Oranges).

Ten Shades of Grey
Ten Shades of Grey

Themed Sets – These are colours that have been selected according to a theme.  All the shades in each theme work well together.

Silk Mill - Royal Pageant
Silk Mill – Royal Pageant

Buying the Colour Shade Sets  and the Themed Sets is much cheaper per skein than buying Single Colours.  The greater the number of skeins in a set, the greater the discount.

How to Use

The Silk Mill silks can be used anywhere you would normally use DMC.  Here I have experimented with 3235 Vieux Rose.

Silk Mill - 3235 Vieux Rose
Silk Mill – 3235 Vieux Rose

Silk Mill floss – one or two stands

One strand or two.
One strand or two.

The left swatch is stitched with one strand, the right is stitched with the usual two strands.  Both on 28ct white Cashel linen.

As can be seen, Silk Mill silk strands may seem to be quite thin, but they stitch up with amazing coverage.

Silk Mill Silk vs DMC Cotton

Silk Mill above, DMC below
Silk Mill above, DMC below

Top row, The Silk Mill 3235 Vieux Rose
Second Row, DMC 335 Rose.

One strand of Silk Mill silk floss provides so much more coverage than one strand of DMC cotton. This photo also shows the subtle sheen that the silk has.

(It also shows how unforgiving solid colour swatches can be – every non-perfect stitch is shown to all)

How to Open the Skein

Silk Mill - 3235 Vieux Rose
Silk Mill – 3235 Vieux Rose

As can be seen above, the tightly wound skeins easily fall apart to show the individual strands.

When you remove the paper wrapper, the skein easily shakes out into a circle of strands tied together in one spot.

Silk Mill - Opening floss

I find it best to snip through all the strands at that spot and discard the tie. This opens up into strands about 24″ long.  This is the perfect size for me.  You might prefer to cut them shorter depending on your needs.

These strands can tangle easily.  I recommend either using a floss card or rewinding the skein when not in use.

Yeah I cut my threads too long for this project.
Floss Card – Bordeaux Red and Chinese Gooseberry

 

Silk Mill - re-wound skein
Re-wound skein – Vieux Rose

Precautions

Silk skeins can be quite slippery so make sure you use the correct size needle or, like me, you will be needle hunting every time you let your floss dangle.

Dyed silk may not be water proof, especially reds.  If you think you might need to wash your fabric once your project is completed, it is best to test your thread first.

Take a strand and wet it in warm water, then roll in absorbent paper or a tea towel to dry.  If the floss leaves ANY residue behind, then it is not colour fast.

My Experience

I love using Silk Mill silks.  If I could afford it, I would replace my DMC cottons with these silks.  I love the sheen they give, I love the great fabric coverage!

The Silk Mill silk flosses stitch up easily, but the subtle sheen does highlight any unevenness in your stitching. Thankfully people don’t usually look at your stitching quite as closely as we have my stitch swatches above.

The floss unpicks easily, but being a Z-twist, it also unravels easily.  If you have to unpick more than one or two stitches, I recommend tossing the strand and starting a new one.

As well as the spot tests above, I am using Bordeaux Red and Chinese Gooseberry on Alessandra Adelaide’s Mystery Christmas Calendar.  The fabric is Colour Cascade Fabric’s Emerald City.

AAN Christmas Calendar Part 1
AAN Christmas Calendar Part 1

Acknowledgements:

My thanks to The Silk Mill website  for much of the source material used in this article:

The Silk Mill – About Us

The Silk Milk – About Our Silks

The Silk Mill DMC Conversion Chart

Places to Buy

The Silk Mill silk floss can only be purchased via The Silk Mill’s website in France. They ship worldwide. I found their postage costs to Australia to be quite reasonable.

Giveaway

To give a taste of Silk Mill silk floss, I am offering a Mini Silk set of your choice, to one lucky reader. To enter simply comment on this post, telling me which silk set you would love to win and what you would do with it.

Contest is open to anywhere in the world. Whilst we love comments and sharing via social media, only comments on this post will be eligible for entry.

Mel will use her trusty digital magic eight ball to decide the lucky Cross Stitch Review reader and then contact the winner.

Contest closes FOUR weeks from Publish; midday, 21 March 2015, Melbourne, Australia time (UTC+11 hours).

If you enjoyed this Review of The Silk Mill floss or want to share news of the Giveaway, feel free to send a link to this post to your friends or favourite groups.

If there is anything you wish I would add to the floss reviews, or if there is a floss you want me to review next, please comment below.

 

Last Updated: 21 February 2015