03 April 2020

Let's Talk About Cosmo Threads

Every time I mention Cosmo threads I get lots of questions about them, so I decided to do a post and answer all the questions in one place. Hopefully this will be helpful. If I miss something, just leave your question in the comments and I'll try to answer it, and update this post. 

Cosmo threads are made in Japan, and just like DMC, they are 6-strand, 100% cotton threads that come in 8 m. (8.7 yd) skeins. They strand and stitch just like DMC. So what's the difference? See if you can spot it:

You've probably noticed that while the DMC color families look patchy and a bit cobbled together, the Cosmo color families are smoother with more subtle transitions between colors. It's not true in every case, but generally speaking, DMC color families seem to have four or five colors at most (there are exceptions), while Cosmo color families often have six, seven, or even eight colors. Here are a few examples.

Back in December when I posted my Mrs. Claus pink conversion I talked about using the dusky pinks in the Cosmo 430's range. There is no exact match in DMC, but I suggested a couple of alternatives. As you can see, the DMC range is a bit patchy. 
902 is quite a bit brighter than 3820 above it, and the jump from 3726 to 316 is pretty extreme. 316 to 3727 is a pretty good progression, but 778 looks flat next to the rosiness of 3727.

Now look at similar ranges in Cosmo. See the difference?

Here are dusty purples in Cosmo (top) and DMC (bottom). DMC gives you four colors, while Cosmo gives you seven, 766 through 761. Or if you prefer a wee bit more brown, 477 through 472.

DMC greys have always been a bit of a pet peeve of mine. They added some greys in the last batch of new colors and I was really happy about that, but they're still a bit all over the map.
317 is quite blue, immediately next to 169, which looks greenish in comparison. The new greys, 04 through 01, are really pretty and are a nice range. The next range up is 414 through 762, but look how blue 318 is in relation to 415.

There are fewer true greys in Cosmo, but look at these beautiful color families, top to bottom: greyish browns, greyish/brownish purples, greenish greys, and true greys.

Blue greens are another example. Look at the 500's range at the bottom of the left column and the 300's range at the top of the right column.

And compare them to similar ranges in Cosmo. Generally four or five colors in a DMC color family and seven or eight in a Cosmo color family.

So what's the bottom line? First of all--disclaimer--I am a nut about color. A few years ago, I did a five-part series just on color, and there's a tab at the top of this page just for color conversions. I love, love, LOVE playing with color, but I understand that's not an obsession for every stitcher. So when I talk about the subtle differences between DMC and Cosmo, they really are just that... subtle. This leads me to my second point: There is absolutely nothing wrong with DMC and it's still my go-to thread for solid colors. I am definitely building my Cosmo stash to give me the most color options, but I will never stop using DMC. In my opinion, Cosmo tends to have more muted color options, with more grey or brown undertones (which I love) than DMC, which generally seems to have more bright, clear colors.

Cosmo also offers a line of variegated threads called Seasons that is absolutely gorgeous. My little collection is the first picture in this post. It's the same general idea as DMC Color Variations, but there are many, many more colors in the Cosmo line and there are also many more multi-color choices.

Where do you get it? Well. This might be a bit of a problem. I am blessed to have a quilt shop I can source it from, but I had trouble finding it online. Back in December when I posted Mrs. Claus, a helpful reader did some hunting and found this shop to be a good source. I haven't shopped with them myself, but I will suggest that if you're looking, quilt shops seem to be more likely to carry this than needlework shops. (Here is another possible source, though I have not personally shopped here, either.)

Where do you get a color card? I got my color card from this shop but be aware, this one does not include the Seasons (variegated threads) samples. I don't know if there is a color card that does include them.

Well, I think that about covers the subject of Cosmo threads for now. If there's anything else you're wondering, just leave a comment.

Speaking of which, thank you so much for all the sweet birthday wishes for Tiger Lily--I read them to her! 

Hope you're all safe and well and getting lots of stitching done!


  1. Thank you so much for this post on the Cosmo Thread, Honeybee! I have used a few just to try them out following one of your posts. I do like the feel of them and they do stitch beautifully. Thank you for the link on where you got your color card. Off to treat myself!

    Have a relaxing weekend! Be well!

  2. Just FYI, the shop from which you obtained the color card also carries skeins for $0.98/each. One can never have too much floss, right?

    1. Thanks, Trina! I wasn't sure if they carried all the colors, but that's great if they do! We always need more sources! :O)

  3. Thanks for posting about Cosmo.
    They're beautiful.
    Very interesting info.

  4. I love, love, LOVE Cosmos threads. Even more than my beloved Anchor threads. But have been having trouble finding them. Thanks to you I now have several more sources to get them. Thanks so much for this post.

  5. Are the Cosmo threads sold on 123stitch the same thing? They run about $1.10 a skein.

    Also, I found a color card listed on Amazon, but no inside pictures. Just the cover was shown, so let the buyer beware!

  6. Thank you so much for this post about Cosmo threads, it was very informative. I can see why you like them so much given the larger range of muted color options. Also, I love the Seasons threads, such gorgeous colors! I'm definitely going to have to try them myself. Hope you're enjoying your weekend!