Here, then, are my findings on the black threads I have been working with.
Little image showing the threads
1. Splendor Black 5801
A 12 ply strandable silk, this is a very nice dense black which works well using one strand - excellent for building up shapes/forms. Two strands are, as would be expected, denser and heavier but, as usual, I prefer to use the single strand - more subtle. This thread is also not too 'springy', so behaves well while working.
Au ver à Soie, Soie D'Alger Black 4106 (A)
2. A 7 stranded silk, each strand slightly thicker than the Splendor, so gives more coverage. Again, a really comfortable thread to use, behaves well in the needle and a good dense black - as with Splendor, I think it is worth getting more of this thread - its use is slightly different because the thread is slightly rougher in appearance and is a more textured silk than the Splendor.
3. Au ver à Soie, Soie de Paris Black 4106
A more 'springy' thread than the previous two, so needs more guiding through the needle which makes it a bit slower to work with; if it is not carefully guided, it tends to snag. Each strand is very fine, so I am using two to work with, though the single could be very useful for a really small or detailed area. Black is rich and dense, so good colour.
4. Mulberry Silks Black W 000
I'm using the fine thread and it is also available in a thicker version. A really nice thread to work with, as are all the Mulberry Silks - lies down easily, nor springy in the needle. Slight drawback to this one is that the black is not as dense as the above three - like a charcoal black as opposed to a lamp black - so not so useful for the present large piece I'm still working on - it gets gradually nearer to completion with every stitching session.
4 a) W 755
Another Mulberry Silk and this one is a charcoal and a good one - makes a very useful hue when shading black to grey, so well worth having.
5. Anchor Stranded Cotton Black 403
A nice dense black and, being cotton, no problem with springiness. Difference as opposed to silk is that the cotton does not have the lustre of silk but, this said, it is a good, useful thread.
6. Soie Crystal by Caron Black 56101
This 12-ply silk strands very readily and, like Splendor and the two Au ver à Soie threads, is a rich, dense black. It is comfortable to use, not really springy and, in thickness, each strand is slightly thicker than Splendour but not quite as thick as Soie d'Alger. Have used both one strand and two together very successfully - another good thread to have!
7. DMC Linen L 310
I inherited this thread from Marion Jones via her husband after Marion's death and it is just one of many that have been so useful to me. I very much enjoy her choice of colours and really appreciate this unexpected legacy - very many thanks to Vernon. It seems a shame that I never met Marion in this life, it would have been so good to talk about her work which I like very much. To go back to the thread, it is, as with the silks, a nice dense black and I like the depth and texture of the linen fibres, only problem being that the linen tends to break easily in the needle which is a bit of a shame but otherwise, a very good thread.