Crafty engineering

20 Mar

I’m fascinated by how things work.
I wonder whether I could’ve been an engineer because I love working out how things are constructed and how the different elements work together to achieve an end result.

I think that’s why I like crafts, especially 3D ones like knitting and sewing, which involve measurements, folding, piecing, extending and more! But I had great fun recently when I got to quench that engineering thirst in relation to cross stitch – not usually a very 3D craft.

I had pitched a feature idea to Cross Stitch Collection, looking behind the scenes at how stranded cottons are manufactured. I think all crafters are becoming more aware of their impact on the environment and so more interested in finding out how the things we use every day are made.

So I set off to find out how DMC make their cottons. They were very helpful on providing me with information, pictures and even a video (I guess I wasn’t the only person interested in the process). Most of what I discovered wasn’t new but a few parts of the process were amazing.

To give the cotton a shiny finish, the thread is passed over an open flame, to singe any stray fibres. Brilliant! A caveman solution to a 21st century crafting problem!

The dyeing process is also hypnotic (I must have watched that part of the video at least 20 times!) as the beige-yellow raw cotton is magically turned bright red in the dye bath. Love it!

If you want to read more about the process, and see some great photos, pick up issue 207 (March) of Cross Stitch Collection. To order, visit

Here’s a low res version of the feature to tease you.

Cross Stitch Collection 207 feature

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Posted by on March 20, 2012 in Cross stitch


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