When I suggest to friends who do cross stitch or embroidery that they spin their own floss, they look at me like I’m nuts. But we spin our own yarn for knitting, crochet and weaving. Why is it so crazy? There is so much that handspun can add to the needle arts: texture, color, design elements!\
While my personal favorite fiber to use is silk mawata, which creates a slightly textured, highly lustrous thread, you can really use just about any fiber to bring its qualities to your work. Mohair would create an interesting halo. And imagine stitching a design with art yarn. But you don’t have to get crazy! Cotton and silk will make beautiful, smooth threads. In the photo to the right, I used a combination of handspun and commercially available threads to stitch a thunderstorm over Kansas city.
When spinning for embroidery, my biggest recommendation is to slightly over-ply your thread. The act of stitching is an abrading force and the more the thread is rubbed, the more fibers will loosen themselves from and weaken your yarn. In addition, as you stitch, you will slowly lose twist from your thread from the turning action of the needle. If you add extra before you start, you will help your thread be more structurally sound. Also, texture can be good or bad here. A highly textured thread won’t easily go through the fabric, but could be stitched to the surface of a project. I aim for low to no-texture yarns for my actual stitchwork.