The choice of which thread to use is a personal decision. Some lace makers may like one thread, whereas others may not like it. If you are unsure, it is best to use the thread suggested on the pattern, or take advise from your lace teacher or at your lace group.
We can suggest alternative threads, which will be of a similar thickness. However, no two threads are the same, so they may work differently on your pattern.
Threads are usually identified as a single number, for example No 50, or as two numbers separately by a slash, for example 50/2. The fist number, the 50 in these examples, refers to the thickness of the thread, the lower the number, the thicker the thread. Although this sounds simple, in practice it is more difficult, as different manufacturers use different systems for measuring the thread. A No 50 from one manufacturer may be a different thickness compared with a No 50 from another.
The second number in the example 50/2 is the number of stands, two strands of No 50 in this case. So a 50/3 would be 3 strands of No 50, and would be thicker than the 50/2.
If you want to find out more about threads, we recommend the book 'Threads for Lacemaking', by Brenda Paternoster, which you can purchase from us at a Lace Fair, or mail order. This is a reference book with thckness of hundreds of threads measured in wraps/cm. As well as the commonly used threads, the book also contains many unobtainable or discontinued threads, so always check availability before you decide on a particular thread.
Claire is always happy to give advice on threads at Lace Days/Fairs or by telephone. Remember that the choice of thread is very personal, so which thread you choose will be your decision.