Playing With Flox

Photograph of an advertisement for Anchor Flox in the 1930s. The headline is "Making things GAY!" and the text reads "Make your embroidery brighter and richer, by using Clarks "Anchor" Flox. The brilliance of this silky thread gives life and vivacity to your handiwork. And you'll find that Flox "fills up" so quickly that it not only makes your work twice as gay - it also does it in half the time!"

Well, if I had paid attention, forty years ago, to the adverts in those nineteen thirties The Needlewoman magazines, I would at least have known that Anchor “Flox” was a twisted, fairly heavy thread. I might also deduce that it was fairly new, because the tone of the adverts suggests that the reader needed to have the idea of it explained. So it is a fairly heavy thread, glossy and lustrous, and brightly coloured, creating bright, impactful pieces for interiors, rather than tiny delicate pieces for baby’s layettes.

Two rows of brightly coloured, twisted cotton embroidery thread

I laid out all my colours from the bunches I bought on the Embroiderers’ Guild stall at the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show in colour families to see what I had to work with. Bright, colourful, lustrous, yes – yes, all of that. The thread is a bit heavier than the heavy pearl cottons, but the twist is not so tight. I wonder how it will make up? (Apart from “in half the time”!)

Now I look at it in better light, the red is more of an orange, so it’s misplaced, but there’s a fair range of colour here, as long as I’m not going for subtlety..

I went through my magazines, to find a selection of designs that were specifically intended for Anchor Flox, but not so huge (the Persian Fantasy Screen was intended for Anchor Flox, and that ends up as five feet by six!) as to demand more thread of each colour than I have.

I’ve decided to do one of the floral table runner designs, the middle of the top row here, because I think it will talk nicely to the Queen Anne style teacloth which is presently gracing a side table in the the living room. After that, if I seem to have enough, I am very tempted by that parrot…


  1. Sue Jones says:

    Ah yes, childhood memories of chairbacks and cushion covers, usually on motled oatmealy cotton. Big, simple flowers in baskets, or just scattered, crinoline ladies on tea cosies. Garden trellis arches showing a fountain or a sundial beyond. Big, simple stitches and big, simple Flox thread. Have fun!

  2. Meredithe says:

    Fabulous thread colours (right up my alley!) and love the pattern you’ve chosen. Looking forward to seeing your progress

  3. Karen says:

    how interesting! I’ve not heard the term Flox before, but from the description I recognise it as the soft thick thread we used in junior school to make enormous stitches on binca. And I agree, the parrot is tempting. Happy new year to you 🙂

  4. Lin says:

    The colours are lovely and vibrant. Have fun. xx

  5. Linda says:

    I’ve not heard of flox thread before, it will be interesting to see how you get on with it. I like the designs.

  6. Jillayne says:

    I think the colours will be perfect with the design you’ve chosen – a riot of colour in the garden!

  7. Carolyn Foley says:

    It is always an adventure working with older threads. Look forward to seeing the outcome.