KreinikGirl

Kreinik Calling! Exclusive to Mr X Stitch!

I just returned from the Nashville Needlework Market, which is a trade show for needlework businesses. It was primarily a cross stitch event, with many independent cross stitch shops and cross stitch designers attending the show. This year I was delighted to find several new shops opening soon, and meet many new designers. One of the most frequently asked questions from this Next Generation was, “How do I use metallic threads?”

Metallic threads add light and color to needlework designs. Use them like a spice in cooking—to add interest, a little zip, to keep your design from being bland.

Metallic threads add light and color to needlework designs. Use them like a spice in cooking—to add interest, a little zip, to keep your design from being bland. Spools shown are Kreinik Blending Filament and Very Fine #4 Braid, which come in all kinds of colors, from bright to pastel, jewels, earth tones, and “quiet” colors.

Many have heard good things about Kreinik metallic threads so they came to us for advice. It’s exciting to see stitchers expanding their horizons and experimenting with different threads, different fabrics, and such. Life itself is mixed media, in all its glory. The world around us isn’t flat, boring or plain, so why should our stitchy means of self-expression be one-dimensional? Even printers are going 3D. Any time you add a French Knot to your cross stitch, work in a glow-in-the-dark thread, or stitch on wood, you are standing out, in all of your stitchy glory.

Walk toward the light (metallic pun intended). Metallic threads add color, texture, and light reflection when used next to cotton, silk or wool floss. They can emphasize a certain area of your design, like using a bold font next to a plain one.

Stitch the light fantastic. How? By using metallic threads. They catch the light and make designs "dance."

Stitch the light fantastic. How? By using metallic threads. They catch the light and make designs “dance.” Shown here: Kreinik Blending Filament and Braid in a Kooler Design Studio project.

I want to share my top three suggestions for using these beautiful threads. We must start with this mantra, however: Metallic threads aren’t difficult, they are just different. Say that out loud, then try this:

1. Pick the right thread.

As a Kreinik thread ambassador, my mouth should be washed with soap for saying this, but: Don’t start with the most common metallic thread, Blending Filament. Akin to Christmas tree tinsel, Blending Filament was created by the Kreinik family for a wonderful purpose (add subtle metallic shimmer) to be used via a short-cut (combine it with the cotton floss you’re already using). For beginners though, it can be tricky to combine two different kinds of fibers in one needle. Save Blending Filament for your future projects, when you are more comfortable. You can find all kinds of tips for using this thread here.

Instead, start with a metallic Braid, which is just a fancy word for, basically, a metallic string. Kreinik Fine #8 Braid is the equivalent size of two strands of cotton floss, so it’s perfect for stitching on 14-count Aida (or over two threads on 28-count fabrics). Kreinik also makes Very Fine #4 Braid, which is half the size of #8 Braid, and thus good for stitching on 16-count Aida (or over two threads on 32-count fabrics). Other sizes of Braids are available (see here). With Braids, you just cut about a 15- to 18-inch length, put it in your needle, and go. Don’t use more than one strand in your needle; if you want thicker or thinner coverage, just go to a different sized Braid. These threads are meant to be simple.

Cross stitches of Kreinik Braids and Blending Filament to show the various degrees of metallic effects you can create.

Here you can see the degrees of metallic, based on the different thread weights. From left to right: Kreinik Very Fine #4 Braid, Fine #8 Braid (which is thicker), Blending Filament combined with floss, just floss.

2. Feel the thread.

As Meghan Trainor might say if she stitched, it’s all about that base. Metallics are man-made fibers, which means they can be made of all kinds of things. Some metallics have polyester in them, some nylon, some even have real metal. Reflective threads are usually made of tiny glass beads. Some metallics can be wiry, some stiff, some soft, some fuzzy, some smooth, all depending on what they are made of and what effect they create. Some threads are cheap, and they will feel and act that way. So feel the thread first—staying away from stiffer or cheaper fibers if you are a beginner—just to get a sense of how the thread will behave. You will know to stitch more slowly with a wiry thread, for instance. In the Kreinik metallic thread line, the softest are the basic colors (ie, ones that don’t have HL, V, L, or C after the color number). Side note: if you’d like color recommendations from the Kreinik line, feel free to contact me. Side note #2, Worth Noting: I haven’t used this product, but many stitchers recommend a conditioning product called Thread Heaven on metallic threads.

Metallic Braids add light and color to designs, and are meant to be used next to, or in place of, embroidery floss.

Metallic Braids add light and color to designs, and are meant to be used next to, or in place of, embroidery floss. Here I am stitching on 18-count perforated paper, so I am using Kreinik Very Fine #4 Braid, which provides perfect stitch coverage.

3. Calm down.

Let it go, let it be, shake it off, be happy, take your time, do it right. I can’t sing it any more clearly: Realize a metallic is going to be different from cotton floss, and you may need to stitch more deliberately. Don’t try to use a meter of thread (stick with 15 to 18-inch lengths), and don’t try to speed stitch. Meditate, stay in the moment of the thread, watching the color and effect brighten your project and make the final result visually stunning. That’s what it’s all about.

Metallic Braids give bolder coverage than metallic filament, which is a thinner and more subtle shimmer.

Metallic Braids give bolder coverage than metallic filament, which is a thinner and more subtle shimmer. This sample shows Kreinik Fine #8 Braid in cross stitch on 14-count Aida.

The bonus tip today is to “Pick the right needle.” You would be amazed at how many thread problems are caused by the needle. A too-small needle will cause a thread to fray and shred, for instance. A too-small eye will cause you to curse when you are trying to thread it, and a rusty needle is just bad. Some people find coated needles work well with metallic thread, and many swear by the Kreinik Needle which was developed for better stitching with metallic threads. I find many problems resolve if you use a good, clean needle.

Hopefully these simple tips help you in your wonderful, colorful thread journey. I’d love to hear your thoughts, questions, tips, or tricks, too. Leave a comment or reach me via Twitter, the Kreinik Facebook page, or Flickr. Happy—or happier—stitching!

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Kreinik Calling! Exclusive to Mr X Stitch!

Stitching for the holidays is one of the top ten motivators for needleworkers. Whether we are making decorations for our home or making gifts for friends and family, holidays give us themes (and deadlines) for our creative expression. In the arts and crafts industries, holidays are big business, as you can always count on good sales from Halloween and Christmas designs, for instance.

But Valentine’s Day as a holiday creeps up on us. Sure, when we were younger we had time to craft a paper mache flower, color a page of hearts, or decorate a card for our mom and/or grade-school crush, because Christmas was over (nothing new going on) and we were stuck inside in the middle of winter (yawn, boredom). Older and much busier, however, we are swamped at work, still cleaning up from the holidays, organizing papers for our taxes, not-to-mention recovering from get-togethers (and the flu). Before you know it, Valentine’s Day arrives and the thought of making a little love token for your love turns into the reality of just buying them candy.

So I say forget the February 14 deadline, and celebrate the themes of Valentine’s Day all year long. Love never goes out of style, and you can get miles of stitching and crafting ideas from it. Stitch hearts (lifted up, broken, or blessed), or stitch song lyrics and love icons. Stitch a memento of past loves (grandparents, old flames) or new ones (babies, crushes). We all know that stitching is good therapy; stitch your true feelings in a sampler of self-expression. Take all that Valentine’s Day represents—the good, the bad, the ugly and the lovely—and carry it through your stitching projects all year. We can all use a little love, any time.

“Here is the deepest secret nobody knows,” wrote EE Cummings, “I carry your heart (i carry it in my heart).” In honor of this age-old theme, and Valentine’s Day this week, I am sharing photos of some of my favorite stitched pieces of love and hearts, just a few design ideas to inspire you. Enjoy, stitch, share your heart and your love through your craft. The world needs it.

Sweet and soft metallic threads worked in basic backstitches add elegance to this dollar-store tea towel.

1. Sweet and soft metallic threads worked in basic backstitches add elegance to this dollar-store tea towel. It’s a quick, inexpensive, mood-lifter of a project that stitchers of all ages can make. Threads are Kreinik Braid, instructions from https://www.kreinik.com/shops/Embroidery-101-Hand-Towel.html

Celebrating a special couple with an silk thread embroidery project.

2. If you have an example of true love in your life, a couple that shows you what love is meant to be, honor them in an embroidery project. This project features hearts stitched in silk thread on a scrap of linen, with metallic thread accents, and attached to a burlap heart. A photo personalizes it even more. Threads by Kreinik (Silk Mori, Very Fine #4 Braid), project from https://www.kreinik.com/shops/Stitched-memory-heart.html

A charted needlepoint design from West End Embroidery featuring Kreinik threads.

3. This charted needlepoint design is a pattern available from West End Embroidery. Designer Yvonne Close blended a variety of threads and stitches to recreate something we all love: cupcakes! Visit http://www.westendembroidery.com/acatalog/Cup_Cakes.html for design information.

The Queen, a needlepoint design by Sandra Vargas, thread and stitch guide by Sandra Arthur, and distributed by Ruth Schmuff.

4. The fabulous needlepoint designer Ruth Schmuff has terrific senses of color, humor, and style. She also owns a needlework shop in Baltimore, Maryland. Get thee to the shop, and shop for this design: The Queen needlepoint canvas by Sandra Vargas. With a variety of stitches, threads, and embellishments picked out by designer Sandra Arthur, it’s a needlework wonder-land. See http://www.tistheseason.org/The-Queen/ for details.

This design is a simple word painted on needlepoint canvas, but it is brought to textile life through a variety of threads and stitches. Design by Lani Silver of Lani's Needlepoint.

5. This design is a simple word painted on needlepoint canvas, but it is brought to textile life through a variety of threads and stitches. Designed by Lani Silver, who also owns a needlepoint and knitting store in California. Visit http://www.lanisneedlepoint.com/ for information.

Designer Pam Kellogg created this cross-stitched bookmark using Kreinik silk and metallic threads on a piece of Zweigart band fabric. It's such a sweet design, reminiscent of old-fashioned stitched tokens, like the bookmarks you find in antique books.

6. Designer Pam Kellogg created this cross-stitched bookmark using Kreinik silk and metallic threads on a piece of Zweigart band fabric. It’s such a sweet design, reminiscent of old-fashioned stitched tokens, like the bookmarks you find in thrift stores and tucked into vintage books.

Kreinik silk and metallic threads make a sweet and simple cross-stitched heart.

7. Sometimes simpler is sweeter. This design features a pink background stitched in Kreinik Silk Mori, metallic x’s and o’s stitched in Kreinik Very Fine #4 Braid, and Kreinik Hot-Wire wired metallic braid to make the word…all done on a Tokens & Trifles brand perforated paper heart shape. It is attached to a greeting card.

Love is how you earn your wings, needlepoint design by Zecca

8. Here is a colorful design with a message of heart, hope, peace, and love. It’s by Zecca, a needlepoint canvas design company, and features a variety of threads and stitches. For more information on the design, visit http://zecca.net/needlepoint/

Cross stitched heart from a Breast Cancer Awareness design by Brooke Nolan for Kreinik Manufacturing Company.

9. Brooke Nolan created this cross stitch design for Breast Cancer Awareness, using Kreinik silk and metallic threads. It will be available on the Kreinik website later this year, but the heart is a simple motif you can stitch now, and add to any project.

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Kreinik Calling! Exclusive to Mr X Stitch!

Knock knock, Kreinik Calling! Happy new year, happy new projects, maybe happy new techniques to learn, new threads to use, new creative ideas to try this year. Somehow the turn of the calendar makes us all look forward with a little more energy, organization, and optimism.

My new year at Kreinik starts with a trip to The National Needlearts Association trade show in Phoenix, Arizona. This is a wholesale, business-only convention of sorts, where professionals in the needlepoint, knitting, crochet, spinning, weaving, cross stitch and counted thread embroidery areas come together to debut and order new products or restock on favorites. I look forward to seeing friends in the industry: shop owners, designers, and teachers who keep us all supplied with products and projects that feed our stitching hobbies.

One of the hot items of discussion right now is the Pantone® 2015 Color Of The Year: Marsala. Kreinik will be bringing threads to match this delicious wine color, and I will be interested to see if needlework designers and yarn companies will be showing shades of Marsala. I’m pretty excited about it (and Pantone® fave’d me!!!).

There are several "Marsala" families in the Kreinik thread lines, both silk and metallic threads for hand and machine embroidery. Look for metallic colors 031L and 080HL, or silk colors 1098, 1107, 1119.

There are several “Marsala” families in the Kreinik thread lines, both silk and metallic threads for hand and machine embroidery. Start with metallic colors 031L and 080HL, or silk colors 1098, 1107, 1119.

In the design world, Pantone®  is the standard-bearer for color, the most famous color celebrity, the authority on color who influences many, many, let me say many, industries: home decor, fashion, paint, plastics, flowers. “Why are we seeing so much lime green this year?” you may have said at one point. The answer is that Pantone® probably declared it The Color. So when Pantone® talks, a lot of people listen.

Gushing about Pantone's color of the year, Marsala, leaves me gushing that they fave'd me! Pantone is the authority on color in the design community, and announces the Color Of The Year via their website, social media, and press releases.

Gushing about Pantone’s color of the year, Marsala, leaves me gushing that they fave’d me! Pantone is the authority on color in the design community, and announces the Color Of The Year via their website, social media, and press releases.

Pantone® describes Marsala as “a naturally robust and earthly wine red.” At a glance, it’s a rich, chocolate-wine-berry shade — which sounds downright yummy. You can’t go wrong with that combination. In the Kreinik metallic thread lines (Blending Filament, Braids, Ribbons), the colors 031L Berry Red and 080HL Garnet Hi Lustre fall into the Marsala matches. In the Kreinik silk thread line (Silk Mori, Silk Serica, Silk Bella), choose 1098 Wood Rose, 1107 Very Dark Mauve, or 1119 Garnet, depending on the amount of red or pink you want in your Marsala. Tip: to see these colors, put their numbers into the Kreinik Color Selector here.

You can go light or dark with your Marsala preferences, or go red or blue in the hues. Pick a shade that speaks to your passion, design, and emotion. (Kreinik color 031L on the left, and 080HL on the right.)

You can go light or dark with your Marsala preferences, or go red or blue in the hues. Pick a shade that speaks to your passion, design, and emotion. (Kreinik color 031L on the left, and 080HL on the right.)

I think Marsala is a great color, used singly or in combination with many other colors (so I like its versatility). Will you be using it in your home, your outfits, or your stitching this year? Let me know what you think of it. Here are a few design ideas featuring Marsala shades to inspire you.

The design on the left is a sampler by Barbara Rakosnik using Kreinik silk threads. The design on the right is a free pattern on the Kreinik website (http://www.kreinik.com/shops/Floral-Medallion.html)

The design on the left is a sampler by Barbara Rakosnik using Kreinik silk threads. The design on the right is a free pattern on the Kreinik website.

The brooch at top right was created by Gwen Blakely Kinsler with Kreinik silk threads. The shawl at the bottom is by Nazanin Fard using Kreinik Twist.

The brooch at top right was created by Gwen Blakely Kinsler with Kreinik silk threads. The shawl at the bottom is by Nazanin Fard using Kreinik Twist.

Zinnia is one of the Pixie Blossom designs in Mirabilia's cross stitch pattern line. Shades of wine in the dress stand out beautifully next to blue shades of cotton and Kreinik metallic threads (plus Wichelt Import beads).

Zinnia is one of the Pixie Blossom designs in Mirabilia’s cross stitch pattern line. Shades of wine in the dress stand out beautifully next to blue shades of cotton and Kreinik metallic threads (plus Wichelt Import beads).

The design on the left is a beautiful needlepoint canvas by Art Needlepoint using Kreinik silk threads. The design on the right is a Tree Jewel ornament kit from Kreinik using metallic threads.

The design on the left is a beautiful needlepoint canvas by Art Needlepoint using Kreinik silk threads. The design on the right is a Tree Jewel ornament kit from Kreinik using metallic threads.

Crazy quilts by Cindy Gorder and Pat Winter showcase wine-colored fabric swatches. Notice the complementary fabric choices, beads, and thread colors which work so well. Silk and metallic hreads by Kreinik.

Crazy quilts by Cindy Gorder and Pat Winter showcase wine-colored fabric swatches. Notice the complementary fabric choices, beads, and thread colors which work so well. Silk and metallic threads by Kreinik.

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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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Mr X