How to pick a primitive palette

Have you been thinking about using silk threads for a sampler? It is a good choice; silk was the thread most often used in sampler stitching over the last few centuries. It is strong, easy to use, and has a beautiful sheen. 

Kreinik Silk Mori (a floss), Silk Serica (a pearl-cotton-size), and Silk Bella (a super-fine size) are three different weight, or sizes, of silk thread available from Kreinik. You can get them on standard sized spools or large cones/skeins. They come in more than 175 colors. 

To some, 175 colors may not sound like enough. To others, especially those just starting to use silk, it's overwhelming. No problem; here we will show you how to get started:

1. Pick a starter thread assortment like one of our Silk Home Decor Collections. You get a small collection of silk colors with minimal investment. The "antique" set is particularly synonymous with the primitive look, but you can also go with a brighter group if you prefer. Here are links to sets from which to pick:

2. Narrow the 175 down to primitive, shaker, antique, or "sampler" style colors (see the list below) Print a copy and take it to your favorite independent needlework store, or visit one of the many online shops that carry Kreinik Silk Threads. Look for "half-skeins", or 2.5-meter skeins to start your collection. Choose these colors in Silk Mori for cross stitch, applique, and hand embroidery, or Silk Serica for Hardanger, needlepoint and crazy quilting. Note: Silk Bella is perfect for small details in all techniques, but doesn't come in as large of a color range as Mori and Serica.


1093 Light Wood Violet
1094 Medium Wood Violet
1096 Dark Wood Violet
1098 Wood Rose
1119 Garnet
2014 Medium Gold
2016 Dark Gold
2017 Very Dark Gold
3063 Light Henna
3065 Dark Henna
4074 Medium Dusty Green
4076 Dark Dusty Green
4077 Very Dark Dusty Green
4203 Light Sage
4204 Medium Sage
4206 Dark Sage
4212 Lightest Avocado
4215 Medium Dark Avocado
4216 Dark Avocado
5057 Very Dark Slate Blue
5107 Very Dark Cerulean
6123 Light Dusty Lavender
6124 Medium Dusty Lavender
6216 Dark Dusty Lavender
6127 Very Dark Dusty Lavender
6204 Medium Dusty Plum
6205 Dark Dusty Plum
6207 Very Dark Dusty Plum
7012 Lightest Lead Grey
7014 Medium Lead Grey
7024 Antique Parchment
7025 Parchment
7086 Dark Straw
7087 Very Dark Straw
7126 Ecru
7134 Medium Bark
7135 Medium Dark Mocha
7136 Dark Mocha
7166 Dark Brown Black
7173 Light Honey
7174 Medium Honey
7175 Medium Dark Honey
7183 Light Sable
8050 Black
8075 Medium Dark Charcoal
8077 Very Dark Charcoal
8086 Dark Gray
All of the Milkpaint color range (the color numbers begin with "0")

3. Get a silk color card and use it to match silk colors to an antique sampler. Then once you have your list, you can order just what you need. Here is the link to the Kreinik Silk Thread color card, which has actual thread swatches.

Don't be intimidated by silk threads; stitchers have been using it successfully for centuries. Your fingers will be spoiled by its softness, your mind will be impressed at its strength and durability, and your eyes will delight at the beautiful, natural sheen. For the price of a small skein or spool of silk, it's worth a try.

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