Monday, January 17, 2011

Retors D'Alsace - DMC Alsatian Twist Thread

In Italy in the spring of 2009, DMC re-released the thread they call Retors d'Alsace or Alsatian Twist.

It is available in two weights, no. 8 and no. 12 - similar to Pearl Cotton but twisted more and slightly different in thickness, and comes in 82 colours for the no. 8 and 65 colours for the no. 12. DMC states it is suitable for embroidery, cross stitch, crochet and lacemaking.

The skeins are 20 grams each and sell for around €4,20 which is about $5.60 USD using today's exchange rates. The thread is made of Egyptian long staple cotton which has been mercerized twice - this makes it both strong and shiny. Retors d'Alsace is made at DMC's plant in Mulhouse in the Alsace region of France.

DMC's Italian website says it is the return of a thread they made in the early 20th century. I looked in the back of my Italian 1926 copy of L'Uncinetto (Grosso Uncinetto) from the DMC Library [Grosso Uncinetto is Large Crochet in Italian] and I found a listing of Retors d'Alsace threads in weights ranging from 5 to 100!

I don't know when they stopped producing this lovely thread. If you search around on the internet, you can find some old spools of different weights of Retors d'Alsace, there are quite a few no. 50 weight ones here.

At the Italia Invita Forum of 2009, DMC had an impressive area to display their wares complete with stitched pieces from the old DMC Library of booklets. They were giving out samples of the "new" Retors d'Alsace. If you'd like to see what their display looks like when they visit shows in Italy, check out their blog.

Mary Corbet over at Needle 'n Thread did a review of Retors d'Alsace if you'd like to take a closer look.

Retors d'Alsace is widely available only in Italy. DMC had plans to distribute it in other European countries - but last I checked, it still wasn't even available in France!

1 comment:

  1. Retors in 30 and 50 were widely available a few years ago, and used as bobbin lace making threads. Alas they have a nasty habit of shredding, which is great for teaching a weavers knot, but diabolical for good lace! I have numerous reels of 30 and 50 which I mean to use as sewing machine, or embroidery thread.