Thursday, June 12, 2008


When do we have enough colors? As an artist, designer and artisan working primarily with Nylon #18/C-Lon Bead Cord type thread, I struggled for many years with a limited color range, unreliable supplies, a lack of quality control, companies going out of business... All of this was of course before to C-Lon got into the thread business.

C-Lon has now 64 colors, Mastex 22 colors, Conso 14, Beadsmith 17 (Beadsmith may no longer produce their Nylon #18, every time I reorder a few more colors have been discontinued). In addition I also use vintage cords, colors produced in the past by companies no longer in business, discontinued colors and old dye lots. Vintage cord is difficult to come by to newcomers in this field. So essentially most of us have about 100 colors to work with if we are willing to mix brands. Is that enough?

While pondering on this question, I decided to take a look at artist colored pencils. I easily found 9 artist quality brand with sets ranging from 12 to 132 colors. All the sets come in numbers such as 12, 24, 36, 49, 72, 96, 120 and 132 (Prismacolor only). In all the sets the colors are arranged chromatically using different logical systems. Keep in mind that color pencils can be layered, thread can only be juxtaposed. Then I looked at the Madeira Rayon thread used for machine embroidery and they boast 356 colors...

... Back to the nylons: Conso has not changed or added colors for 25 years. Mastex has reduced its color range. Oh, I forgot a sub-brand, S-Lon, well it's just a fact simile or exact duplicate of C-Lon in 51 colors. So we can forget about that brand as an option for additional colors. C-Lon is the only company that may be willing to expand their offering. So the main question remains:

Are 64 colors enough? Or do you still dream of more colors...

Grateful to have 64 colors! ~ Marion

Post your feedback on this question...

Added on January 9, 2009: 2008 saw the shrinking of company offering Nylon #18 with Mastex going out of business :(. I am always sorry to see our choices shrinking. On a positive notes C-Lon decided to expand their colors. I was asked to advise as to possible new colors. As of a week ago 8 new colors are on order at the factory expected to be released toward the end of February. So 64 is growing to 72. Hurrah!
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