KreinikGirl

Kreinik Calling! Exclusive to Mr X Stitch!Hello there, Happy November! The weather outside our little thread factory is turning frightful this week with a pre-winter freeze, but this is our busy season so it’s warm and energetic inside. The holidays are right around the corner, and people need threads to stitch their decorations and gifts.

I’m kind of known around the family tree for being creative with my Christmas gift packaging. I’m not sure how it started, but I think it was in a craft store. One year, with the power of a paper punch, I made gift tags out of recycled holiday cards that I embellished with iron-on threads. Another time I decorated brown craft paper with copies of family Christmas photos, 3-dimensional scrapbook stickers and metallic ribbon. One year it was giant glittered wooden initials. I can’t forget the year of hand-embroidered felt gift tags, or the time I crocheted miniature Christmas sweaters that decorated each present. While I joked that this year my package decorations will involve recreating the 12 days of Christmas in polymer clay, I’m actually thinking of scaling back.

I love all of the gorgeous Christmas wrapping paper you can easily find in stores, and quite frankly, you can buy a giant bag of bows on the cheap. So for me, the Spirit of Christmas Gift Wrapping isn’t lacking the basics. It’s the “little extra” embellishment part where you can stand out, be unique, express personality, and show the recipient in another way just how much they mean to you. For creative people, it’s the perfect place to share embroidery, painting, poetry, felting, crocheting, knitting, sewing, etc. Using a handmade or from-the-heart touch in the gift-wrapping layer of a present makes it even more special, fun, and delightful. Aren’t these feelings are some of the best, magical parts of Christmas?

Kreinik Iron-on Metallic Threads "write" the word Joy on this recycled gift tag.

This is a fun, simple gift tag made of scraps: rick-rack, fabric, office supply tag, buttons, ribbon and Kreinik Iron-on Thread. Link to this project’s instructions here.

For package embellishments this year, I am embracing one of the crafts I love the most: stitching. I am going back to basics, and stitching package decorations. “Who has time for that?” Actually, there’s no need to make this labor- and time-intensive; with a little help from some friends (ie, inexpensive ornament shapes from stores like Target, Dollar Store, Michaels, etc), small designs and simple stitches can look fabulous.

And speaking of looking fabulous, Christmas stitching needs to have metallic threads. That’s just a given. Things nature-made and man-made sparkle, twinkle, reflect and shine at Christmas, more so than any other time of the year. People who normally refrain from anything splashy are suddenly wearing blinking Rudolph-the-red-nosed-reindeer necklaces. This is the time for silver and gold, for making everything bright, and for glistening all over the place.

Kreinik metallic threads for very merry Christmas stitchery

Metallic threads are “naturals” when it comes to Christmas stitchery. Silver, gold, bright red and green…they are almost “neutrals” this time of year. Visit the Kreinik website for a terrific variety of holiday thread colors.

If you are cross stitching or doing hand embroidery, I recommend using Kreinik Fine #8 Braid metallic thread. It’s about the weight/thickness of two strands of embroidery floss, so it works well in all kinds of stitches. It adds shimmer and light to a design in the easiest, prettiest way. Kreinik also has high-speed metallic threads for machine embroidery, and carry-along metallics for knitting, crocheting, and weaving. Contact me if you need advice, encouragement or ideas.

Kreinik thread color 9732 Blue Grass

This Kreinik metallic thread color is almost a candy blue hue, perfect for Hanukkah and “blue Christmas” designs.

You can do shading with Kreinik's many shades of green.

For stitching Christmas tree designs, I like to mix shades of green. Fortunately, Kreinik has about 18 greens, so there’s a hue for any foliage. Plus you can get green colors in Braid, Ribbon, Facets (a bead-like yarn), Filament, and Japan Thread—a variety of weights and textures for surface embroidery fabulousness.

Here’s a selection of some of my favorite handmade tokens that can be made to decorate gifts. They are all free projects to download so take them and make them your own. I hope they will be put to good use surprising and delighting people all over the world this Christmas. Take a few evenings to relax and embroider a few ornaments or gift tags for your loved ones. They will feel so special, and your wrapped presents will be unique, personal, and pretty.

Simple stitches worked in pretty Kreinik metallic threads on perforated paper are inserted into a purchased ornament frame.

Simple stitches worked in shimmery Kreinik metallic threads on perforated paper, inserted into a purchased ornament frame. Look for similar frames at discount and craft stores. The stitchery transforms them into art. Link to the project instructions here.

Kreinik metallic threads in cross stitch on perforated paper ornament shape.

Perforated paper shapes are perfect for stitching gift tags and package embellishments. Kreinik carries the Tokens & Trifles® line, which includes this ornament shape. Threads are Kreinik Braid colors. Link to the free instructions/chart here. Link to the perforated paper shapes here.

Transform a plain dollar-store ornament with a stitched square

I found this plain ornament at a Dollar Store, then attached a piece of stitchery with double-sided tape. Threads are Kreinik Braids, perforated paper is from Wichelt Imports. Link to the free pattern instructions here.

Metallic and reflective thread in sparkling straight stitches on a perforated paper tree shape.

Kreinik metallic threads (green, red) and Kreinik Reflective Yarn (the gray) in simple straight stitches worked on a Tokens & Trifles® Trinkets™ shape (perforated paper for stitching). Link to the free pattern here. Link to the perforated paper shapes here.

Kreinik Iron-on Metallic Threads make easy no-sew embellishments on a felt shape.

Kreinik Iron-on Metallic Threads make easy no-sew embellishments on a felt shape. Iron-on thread how-to here.

P.S. This week I will be stitching some of my gift embellishments and sharing the patterns. They will be available as free projects on the Kreinik 25 Days of Free Christmas Projects. Look for this annual calendar of freebies on www.kreinik.com the week of November 24.

Kreinik Iron-on Thread for quick, no-sew, faux embroidery

When you really don’t have time to stitch, but want the embroidered effect, go to Kreinik iron-on threads. They are so simple, there’s no right or wrong side, and you can use them on paper or fabric. Use a craft iron or home iron.

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Kreinik Calling! Exclusive to Mr X Stitch!

I type, text, email, click, tweet, post, Instagram, snap, chat, google, and post all day, using some kind of electronic device. Yet I covet those hotel pens left on the nightstand (for years, those were my young niece’s “present” when I returned from a trip). I paid $12 for a disposable “Indy 500″ pen at the Indianapolis airport, and probably way more than that for a “Van Gogh paint tube” pen at the Amsterdam airport. Tradeshow booths giving away company pens, doctor’s offices with logo pens on the counter, and those custom print companies who send incorrect versions of what they think you want to promote (“Kreinik Dena of Manufacturing, West Virginia”)—these places feed my pen hunger with their offerings.

Boring pens

Yes, they are pens, and most were probably free…but they are kind of boring.

I need another pen like I need another tote bag (so many fun designs!), except, actually, we all need pens. Chances are that at some point, someone in your day was looking for a pen. And let’s be honest: have you ever hesitated to loan someone your “good pen” for fear of never getting it back? We need pens, most of us love using a pretty or souvenir pen, and we are protective of our pens.

In celebration of the pen, I present a gallery of stitched models. Wait, “how do you stitch a pen?” you ask. Well you can’t stitch the ink (hmm, idea for Doug Kreinik: thread that’s ink! turns into ink? ok maybe not), but you can stitch something and put it around the pen part. Then you can look at some pretty stitches while writing, or make a high-end-looking gift for someone (they don’t need to know it took so little time and money to make).

Stitched pens make classy gifts.

Simple stitches, worked in beautiful threads, in a customizable pen = great idea (classy gift idea too). These are Kreinik Stitch-A-Pen kits.

Shameless plug: At Kreinik, we’ve made stitching pens easy with the aptly-named Stitch-A-Pen series. You can get pen kits with various designs, or blank pens to stitch your own. They take the embroidery techniques we love and put it in a daily-use form. I have stitched so many of these because they are quick, fun, and different. Writing with something made of colorful fibers and interesting stitches really does transform you mood, even when writing checks and paying bills.

In addition to Stitch-A-Pens—which are full kits featuring threads, perforated paper, chart/instructions and the pen—you can also buy the pen itself and create your own designs.

In addition to Stitch-A-Pens—which are full kits featuring threads, perforated paper, chart/instructions and the pen—you can also buy the pen itself and create your own designs.

Pick any stitch out of your repertoire (or a needlework book) and work it in colorful or glow-in-the-dark threads.

Pick any stitch out of your repertoire (or a needlework book) and work it in colorful or glow-in-the-dark threads (choose Kreinik threads, of course, for sparkle and special effects). Pick colors from school, sports teams, holidays or special occasions.

For these, I crocheted tiny shells and circles out of Kreinik Tapestry #12 Braid and Japan #5 thread (both good weights for small motifs). I added some photos for the backdrop, and glued them all into the Kreinik Make-A-Pen.

For these, I crocheted tiny shells and circles out of Kreinik Tapestry #12 Braid and Japan #7 thread (both good weights for small motifs). I added some photos for the backdrop, and glued them all into the Kreinik Make-A-Pen.

"Winter Stitches" is a Kreinik Stitch-A-Pen kit featuring snowy colors of Kreinik metallic threads stitched on black perforated paper.

“Winter Stitches” is a Kreinik Stitch-A-Pen kit featuring snowy colors of Kreinik metallic threads stitched on black perforated paper. The paper is an ideal size for fitting inside the pen barrel (Aida cloth is too thick).

From simple to sublime, use a variety of stitches and threads on your pen. We recommend perforated paper for the base, and of course Kreinik threads for the sparkle and flair.

From simple to sublime, use a variety of stitches and threads on your pen. Stitchers of all skill levels can make a pen. (Kreinik threads on perforated paper)

With glow-in-the-dark threads, you can have unlimited fun in designs. These Halloween-themed Kreinik Stitch-A-Pen kits all feature easy stitches that glow and look awesome when the lights go out.

With glow-in-the-dark threads, you can have unlimited fun in designs. These Halloween-themed Kreinik Stitch-A-Pen kits all feature easy stitches that glow and look awesome when the lights go out.

Try doing something different with your threads and stitches: finishing as a pen. Better get a few—you know people will want to borrow your stitched pen, so go ahead and make some as gifts. Go here for more info on the Stitch-A-Pen kits.

These pens were made by wrapping fabric scraps and metallic threads around the barrel of the Stitch-A-Pen.

These pens were made by wrapping fabric scraps and metallic threads around the barrel of the customizable pen.

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It began in the late 1800s, peaked during the 1960s and 1970s, and found a resurgence in the 2010s. That’s a nice run for a math lesson involving thread. I’m talking about string art: arranging threads between various points to create geometric patterns, shapes, and designs.

Today, many of us don’t even like math, er, I mean, many of us make string art for the patterns and colors rather than for the geometry. I dabbled in it during my Girl Scout years, then started pinning and following string art Instagrams last year when the home decor magazines brought it back in style. I didn’t really pick it up again, however, until Doug Kreinik showed me his latest creation: metallic thread string art. This was different from any string art I’d seen, and not because of new patterns and designs. It was the thread that made it unique: it was shiny thread not plain yarn. Doug started showing his metallic string art models to designer friends, and they all had the same reaction, “Wow.”

Christmas Tree string art created with Kreinik metallic threads (specifically, Medium #16 Braid).

Christmas Tree string art created with Kreinik metallic threads (Medium #16 Braid and Heavy #32 Braid, www.kreinik.com).

Since then, I’ve spent many evenings stringing my metallic heart away. Metallic thread string art is more vibrant than yarn string art, but not garish. It marries child-like colored lines with a grown-up finish. It somehow encapsulates rudimentary form and modern tech. It’s geeky, retro, yet current. It’s so eye-catching, it surprises you. Can you tell I’m a convert? It slices, it dices, does your taxes and calls your mother. Well, not really, but you get the idea: it’s something fun and different. You are going to have to try it, trust me. It’s one of the freshest trends in thread that I’ve seen in a long time.

Designs from the Monogram and Nature String Art On Canvas kits by Kreinik.

Designs from the Monogram and Nature String Art On Canvas kits by Kreinik using metallic and glow-in-the-dark threads.

Kreinik (the thread company out of Parkersburg, West Virginia) developed a line of String Art On Canvas kits as a result of the growing interest in metallic thread string art. Instead of needing hammer, nails, and wood, not-to-mention carrying that around as a cumbersome embroidery project, these kits are compact and portable. This is free-form embroidery with metallic threads on a gauze-like canvas. The gauze gives stability to the design, plus makes it like a patch that you can attach to any surface.

Designs from three different string art kits from Kreinik Manufacturing Company, using metallic and glow-in-the-dark threads.

Designs from three different string art kits from Kreinik Manufacturing Company, using metallic and glow-in-the-dark threads. The string art is created on a gauze-like canvas, cut out, and attached to surfaces using double-sided tape.

The kits include everything you need to make one design, including outlines, canvas, needle, thread and reusable embroidery hoop. There are no rules, no limits, just color in the outline. I can stitch one in about two hours if I’m really engrossed in the game/show/movie I’m watching. The Kreinik kits include glow-in-the-dark threads, which adds another layer of fun to the project.

Glow-in-the-dark threads add a fun dimension to string art.

Glow-in-the-dark threads add another level to string art creations. This bat design is from the new Halloween set in the Kreinik String Art On Canvas kit series.

I demonstrated metallic thread string art at the Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival last month. Kids and teens LOVED it. I mean, couldn’t stop doing them, begged their parents for them. For some it was the first time they’d held a needle and thread. I’d say two out of five adults had trouble with the “free form” concept (“No charts to follow? I don’t know if I can do that?”), and one parent even told their child, “You’re doing it wrong” (yikes, poor child, and there’s no way to do string art incorrectly). Once they tried it, they embraced the freedom. Funny, how hard it is to let creativity loose once we “grow up.”

Sample from the Kreinik String Art On Canvas kits. Trace an outline onto the canvas, then make random stitches with metallic threads.

Sample from the Kreinik String Art On Canvas kits. Trace an outline onto the canvas, then make random stitches with metallic threads. The gauze provides a stabilizing background for the stitches but also creates the sense of a “floating” design.

Your mission is to explore the exciting world of metallic thread string art: to seek out free-form creativity with random stitches, to boldly stitch on something you may not have tried before. You can go here for more information on Kreinik’s starter kits. Stitch long and prosper.

P.S. It’s so much fun to be on this stitch-and-embroidery voyage together. Happy 6th birthday www.mrxstitch.com.

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Kreinik Calling! Exclusive to Mr X Stitch!

Using a variety of threads in a needlework design is like using spices in cooking: all one flavor and texture can be rather bland, whereas a blend of different ingredients can make the final result fabulous.

I’ve often thought of quilting as a recipe, with multiple ingredients cut, mixed, combined, and blended together to make a whole. Like cooking or baking, the process and end use can be utilitarian, celebratory, decorative, or therapeutic, while the creative process is nourishing for the mind, hands, and soul.

Take a look at Eleanor Levie’s beautiful quilt, Pomegranates, to see how her recipe came together. On the whole, it is a lovely blend of colors and patterns. Take a look at the individual ingredients, and you will see threads, stitches, fabrics,  and other embellishments that add “flavor” and visual interest. For the thread embellishments, she used Kreinik metallics: Very Fine #4 Braid, Medium #16 Braid, Heavy #32 Braid, 1/8″ Ribbon, Facets, and Fine Twist.

By Eleanor Levie

Designed and stitched by Eleanor Levie using a variety of fabrics and Kreinik metallic threads.

Detail of Eleanor Levie's Pomegranates quilt

A close-up look at Eleanor Levie’s quilt shows how she machine stitched with metallic threads and couched Kreinik Braids (with a zig-zag stitch) to add a touch of light to the outlines.

Eleanor used Kreinik Twist, a high-speed machine embroidery metallic thread.

Eleanor used Kreinik Fine Twist, a metallic thread designed for high-speed machine embroidery (it works on sergers, long-arms, embroidery machines, and basic home sewing machines). The black and gold blend of the thread adds light, color, texture (= visual interest).

Kreinik Facets couched on Eleanor Levie's quilt

Kreinik Facets are a bead-like yarn used for surface embroidery embellishment. Here, Eleanor couched red Kreinik Facets with a zig-zag stitch. The thread has a candy-like gloss, so it adds color depth as well as texture.

Beautiful blend of scraps (just like life...) in this Eleanor Levie quilt.

Beautiful blend of scraps (just like life…) in this Eleanor Levie quilt.

Stitch variety in Eleanor Levie's Pomegranates quilt

Your project doesn’t have to be an official crazy quilt to have a mix of stitches. Find a stitch dictionary or library online and see how you can alter or play with threads by using them in different stitches. You are telling a story through your selection of fabrics, threads, and stitches – so feel free to express your creative thoughts through these choices.

Can we say this is a "delicious" blend of colors in Eleanor Levie's Pomegranates quilt? Fabrics of citrus colors add to the overall "flavor" of the piece.

Can we say this is a “delicious” blend of colors in Eleanor Levie’s Pomegranates quilt? Fabrics in citrus-fruity-vegetable colors add to the overall “flavor” of the piece.

These photos show some fun ways to edge your quilt applique, using various stitches and threads. (Kreinik metallics)

These photos show some creative ways to edge your quilt applique, using various stitches and threads. (Kreinik Cord, Kreinik 1/8″ Ribbon in Easter Grass, and Kreinik 1/8″ Ribbon in red)

Close up look at the beautiful blend of fabrics, patterns, stitches, and threads in Eleanor's Pomegranates quilt.

Close up look at the beautiful blend of fabrics, patterns, stitches, and threads in Eleanor Levie’s Pomegranates quilt.

The famous chef Julia Child once said, “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” I think it is the same with needlework, quilting, crafts…anything creative. Take a cue from Eleanor and Julia: use good quality ingredients and time-tested techniques, add your own spin, a dash of what-the-hell, and your creation will be a masterpiece.

QUILT BY ELEANOR LEVIE. To see more of Eleanor’s work, click here.

METALLIC THREADS BY KREINIK. To see the range of Kreinik threads, click here.

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