I often hand embroider using chenille thread. For instance on this crazy quilt block, the buds in this seam embellishment are oyster stitch worked in chenille thread. I frequently get asked how I do it and after a comment left this morning I decided to write up some tips.
Firstly I look at the weave of the fabric. If the fabric weave is too tight ie too many threads to the inch you will have problems and the chenille thread will shred. The fabric that the sample is on is a furnishing fabric so it is thick but the weave is loose. Synthetic fabrics will often shred the thread too so I go for natural fabrics. Linen is ideal as it has a lot of natural give in it.
I use a chenille needle. This is a needle with a large eye like a tapestry needle but it has a sharp point to pierce the fabric.
I use short lengths of chenille when I am stitching of about 18 inches
I have found that often genuine cotton chenille will work better than the synthetic chenille threads. I found this out by accident as I purchased some from a weaving yarn supplier to hand dye, and discovered it stitched up like a dream.
Hand embroidery is always about the relationship between fabric, thread and needle and what will work with one fabric will not work with another. This is why I always encourage people to try different foundations, different threads, and different needles. The combinations are endless and so are the discoveries!