Friday, September 23, 2016

Celebrating 270 Years - DMC

The Golden Skein – Celebrating 270 Years – DMC

TENUI FILO MAGNUM TEXITUR OPUS – “From one fine thread a work of art is born”

Familiar to every needle-worker are the initials DMC, which stands for Dollfus-Mieg and Company, manufacturers of fine threads and yarns.

The company began as a fabric printing company run by Jean-Henri  (1742-1802) and his brother Jean Dollfus (1729-1800), selling their hand-painted Indian cotton prints throughout Europe.  They expanded and sold their fabrics internationally.  In the late 1700’s Jean-Henri’s nephew, Daniel (1769-1818)  ran the company and married Anne-Marie Mieg, adding her surname to the company’s logo.  D.M.C.   Jean Dollfus-Meig (1800- 1887)   while studying at Leeds became acquainted with John Mercer’s process of thread manufacturing, “mercerization”  Mercer, a calico printer and self-taught chemist, patented his process (1850) which changed the texture of cotton thread, strengthening it and giving it a silk-like luster.   Jean Dollfus-Meig introduced this process in 1898 to the factory in Mulhouse, France.  Since thread quality depends on the purity of the water used in its bleaching and dyeing, the properties of the water (Vorges River)  in Mulhouse made this an ideal location for the factory.

The story of the manufacturing of fine threads and yarns  includes the meeting of  Jean Dollfud-Meig and the famous embroiderer, Therese de Dillmont.  When Jean  encountered her work in an exhibition in Paris, he invited her to Mulhouse to tour his factory.  She subsequently moved to Dornach , a nearby town and established  school of needlework in close cooperation with DMC.   Her famous “Encyclopediie des ouvrages des dames” (“Encyclopedia of Ladies Handicrafts) has been translated and distributed to more than seventeen countries.

In 1961 DMC merged with Thiriez & Cartier Bresson, a French Textile firm of over 250 years.  The company name remained DMC but the logo was changed , replacing the DMC bell with the now famous Thiriez’s horse head.

Manufactured threads include: Embroidery floss, six stranded cotton. *Twisted separable, shiny thread, suitable for surface stitchery, counted-, pulled-and drawn-thread work.  Available in 454 colors.
                                                  Pearl cotton. * Twisted, shiny thread, available in two thicknesses.  Used for stranded cotton where you require a heavier effect.
                                                  Tapestry wool.* Thicker, four ply wool.  Use as for crewel work.
                                                   Crochet thread
                                                   Metallic and fluorescent thread 
                                                   Machine embroidery thread

*The Complete International Book of Embroidery, Mary Gostelow, Simon and Schuster, NY, 1977

Advertisement - Home Arts Needlecraft, November, 1936

Early packaging for DMC thread

In addition to threads and yarns, today, DMC subsidiaries also produce fabric and sportswear

embroidery floss

pearl cotton

metalllic thrreads

To celebrate the anniversary, DMC is producing The Golden Skein. "a soft, flexiible six strand floss that incorporates a 24 karat gold wash.  A beautiful collectible, the Golden Skein is a fitting symbol of DMC heritage and also the product esteemed by stitchers: DMC Embroidery Floss.  This precious skein can be preserved or carefully stitched to add incomparable richness to a treasured embroidery.  It comes in a special deluxe box, with a bound book of DMC history and antique cross stitch charts."
For more information contact

Saturday, September 3, 2016


It has been said  that “clothes maketh the man”.  Mark Twain is quoted as saying” Clothes make the man-Naked people have little or no power”. Hans Christian Anderson wrote of the Emperor’s New Clothes (to which we will return momentarily).  Polonius advised Laertes (Hamlet- William Shakespeare) “for apparel oft proclaims the man”
So there appears to be a theme here.

Cloth is a basic human creation.  This experience is so commonplace that we rarely think about the multiple layers (no pun intended) of meaning our choice of clothing convey.  Intentionally, or not, we use our dress as an identifier to others.  This, I firmly believe, is an individual choice,, one based upon social, ethnic, religious issues.  

Throughout history there have been certain regulations enacted regarding this freedom of choice.  The common Roman was not allowed to wear the color purple.  There were laws forbidding the use of gold threads to accent clothing in China.  Now it is rare that laws proscribing dress codes become an international discussion.  Certainly, there is a case for dress that is worn to purposely antagonize or offend, although it could be argued that it is the right of people to be obnoxious.

All this brings this discussion to the recent controversy in France over the wearing of “burkinis”.  Muslim women have a modesty dress code, which ranges from hair coverings to full body garments, depending upon their customs and religious beliefs.  One fashion designer, Vanessa Lourenco, felt Muslim women should be able to conform with their religious codes and, at the same time, enjoy the pleasures of the seaside with their families.  Thereby, the “burkini” was born.  This is obviously a Muslim item of apparel, although, with all the uproar it has created, I would suspect many non-Muslim women might wear it in protest. 

This action follows the terrorist attacks in France.  There have been more than 30 bans
 (the first in Cannes) on so called inappropriate clothing for women.  That they are targeting Muslim women is obvious.  This ethnic profiling will not stop terrorist activities.  There must be more effective measures that can be taken.  On Friday, the highest court in France The Council of State struck down the ban in one town.

Back to Anderson’s The Emperor’s New Clothes.  The tale goes that there was a very  officious Emperor, who ruled with the notion that all who disagreed with him were worthless and stupid.  This bully was approached by two tailors, who claimed they would make the ruler a fabulous set of clothes, very comfortable and very prestigious-looking.  Of course, they said, only those who were wise and deserving of high honors could actually see the clothing, it would be invisible to all others.  You can already guess the outcome.  The naked Emperor paraded before his citizens, confident of his attire.  As Twain said ”naked people have little or. no power”

So, to those in charge of such things in France, I say “enough, already.  Let it go”.