Thursday, February 6, 2014

Candlewicking project

Back in December, Christmas Eve in fact, I wrote about my mother’s tree skirt, embroidered using the candlewick technique. I was intrigued to try this rustic embroidery, but tracking down a ‘proper’ kit – let alone individual supplies – was not the easiest of tasks, at least in the UK (the technique is distinctly American).

But I persevered, and I found a simple snowflake kit that can be made into a cushion or wall hanging. I purchased it here.

Straight out of the box...

Candlewick embroidery is traditionally stitched on plain muslin or calico fabric, using a special candlewick thread – adapted from the early American pioneers’ use of candle wick string to stitch embroidery designs on the muslin fabric in their meagre supplies.

The kit includes the design printed in water-soluble ink on calico fabric, candlewick thread and basic instructions – the technique traditionally only uses back stitch and colonial knots.

The main reason I purchased the kit was so that I could see exactly the type of thread used for candlewicking. It is never separated, and is quite thin and soft, like a light string. It is indeed different from traditional embroidery floss, and I imagine it will give a more rustic look to the stitches.

Before I even get started with the project, I was curious what floss might be substituted for candlewick thread, especially for those who don’t have candlewicking supplies available at the local haberdashery.  I dug into my stash and found a range of floss, in shades of white and cream:

Above I’ve lined up, from left to right: the candlewick thread; DMC Cotton a Broder No. 25 in white; ‘normal’ embroidery floss (Sublime Stitching’s Milk Maid); and DMC Perle Cotton No. 3 in white.

The Perle Cotton is too thick and can’t be separated. But the other three are close, pictured below in the same order as previous:

Photographed on some jollier fabric to increase visibility!
So once I get working on this project, and when I get a feel for the stitches using this fabric and candlewicking thread, I’ll try a few stitches with the other types of floss and see how they compare.

Have you ever tried this technique? I’ll be back in later this month with my results!

Chrissie x

What are you stitching? Please share in the &Stitches Flickr group. We'd love to see it!


  1. I will be really interested to see how you progress with this. I agree, a kit is an excellent way to try a new technique, so much easier than tracking down individual supplies when you don't know exactly what you need

  2. I hope that you do/have enjoyed working on this Chrissie, I look forward to seeing your progress. xx

  3. Will be insterested to see how it turns out, the snowflakes are so pretty
    Clare x

  4. I've never tried candlewicking, so I will be really interested to see how this lovely project turns out!

  5. I love candle wicking, have you seen the patterns and threads from Sandi Lush?

  6. I always see candlewicking thread in amongst the assorted crochet threads in my local craft shop in small balls rather than skeins. I'm tempted to get some now and give it a go just to see how it compares to embroidering with floss or perle cotton.

  7. Oh, I can't wait to see how this goes. The initial post really intrigued me, so it'll be fun to see a project come to life, start to finish!

  8. Ooh, I like the snowflakes pattern. My MIL is making a candlewicking quilt at the moment. It is a QAL, she gets two squares posted out to her each month. We live in Australia and I presume she is getting it from somewhere within the country as she's not a big internet shopper.

  9. I've never tried candle wicking, but would sashiko thread work as a substitute? There seems to be some variance in thickness, as I have a few different brands, and they aren't all exactly the same. Sashiko is another limited colour palette/ basic stitches embroidery format, although it does tend to involve contrast more.

  10. I've never tried candle wicking and don't know a ton about it. But I absolutely LOVE that kit! It's going to be really beautiful, I can't wait to see it!


Hi there, thank you for stopping by &Stitches. The blog is no longer updated, but you can still explore the archive of posts. Because the blog is no longer active, new comments have been disabled. Thank you for understanding. :-)

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.