KreinikGirl

Dimensional Needlepoint

by KreinikGirl on 13 April 2015

Kreinik Calling! Exclusive to Mr X Stitch!

Isn’t the world of needlework fabulous right now? You can stitch anything, on anything, with anything. With the internet, you can share what you make, discover what others are making, shop for supplies or learn a new technique 24/7. As they say, this ain’t your grandma’s needlework world, but we think she’d admire the creativity anyway.

Needlepoint is an embroidery technique that has evolved fabulously. No more flat-paneled nature scenes stitched in fuzzy wool and mounted in plain wood frames, or pillows that are just for show, or dining room chair covers you aren’t allowed to sit on. Needlepoint projects today are often finished as objects to use: shoes, belts, keychains, purses, wallets, and grown-up toys. No, no…I don’t mean that, I mean stuffed animals, stand-up characters, and other 3-dimensional designs.

You know you love crochet or knit amigurumi, so take a look at these images of needlepointed “toys.” They are all designs and models from Sew Much Fun, a Canadian needlepoint company known for 3-D animals, characters and bean-bag creatures. They use lots of sparkly Kreinik threads in their models, which adds to the fun, color, texture, and dimension of each design. I bet you can spot the Kreinik metallic threads in the photos.

Scotty the Dog is a needlepoint canvas by Randi Gelman of Sew Much Fun. Stitch this painted canvas in fun fibers, like Kreinik metallic threads.

Scotty the Dog is a needlepoint canvas by Randi Gelman of Sew Much Fun. Randi’s sister is also in the needlework biz: she owns Cindy’s Needle Art store, http://www.cindysneedleart.com/

The creative team behind Sew Much Fun is designer Randi Gelman and her sister Cindy Saltzman, who owns the needlework shop Cindy’s Needle Art. Cindy opened the store in Canada more than 18 years ago. She sells Randi’s needlepoint canvases, plus threads, other designs, giftware and more online and in the Richmond Hill (Ontario) location. The partnership has resulted in some of the most creative, dimensional needlepoint designs on the market.

A design company like Sew Much Fun paints the pattern onto needlepoint canvas. It's almost like getting a painting, a work of art, which is why painted canvases can be so expensive. This Sew Much Fun pattern is called Mikey Monkey.

This Sew Much Fun pattern is called Mikey Monkey. A design company like Sew Much Fun paints the pattern onto needlepoint canvas. It’s almost like getting a painting, an original work of art, which is why painted canvases can be more expensive than computer-generated designs.

Side note: Randi and many other talented needlepoint designers paint their images onto an open-hole canvas. This kind of needlepoint doesn’t have a chart to follow (you can find gorgeous counted needlepoint designs on the market as well). This type of needlepoint is good to stitch when you don’t feel like counting or traveling with charts. If you loved coloring books as a child, you’ll like these. With painted-canvas needlepoint designs, the image is already on the fabric (canvas), and you just fill in with the fun stuff (colored threads and textural stitches).

Don't you love the ribbon mane on this design? It's a painted canvas needlepoint pattern from Sew Much Fun, called "Lion King."

Don’t you love the ribbon mane on this design? It’s a painted canvas needlepoint pattern from Sew Much Fun, called “Lion King.” The color scheme is bright and cheerful. Also note the variety of stitches used on his legs, face and belly, which adds playful visual interest.

“My idea was to introduce needlepoint to the women of Toronto, and breakdown the stereotype that needlepoint was just for grandmas,” Cindy says. From Toronto to The National Needlework Association tradeshows and the world wide web, Cindy’s Needle Art and Sew Much Fun have reached stitchers internationally. “I am so happy to see how excited everyone gets from learning a new stitch, or using a new thread, and seeing their work finished,” Cindy adds.

These creative carolers are part of the Christmas ornament series from needlepoint painted canvas design company Sew Much Fun.

These creative carolers are part of the Christmas ornament series from needlepoint painted canvas design company Sew Much Fun. Find more designs here: http://www.cindysneedleart.com/ornaments.html

This little Lady Bug needlepoint is part of Sew Much Fun's Christmas ornament line.

This little Lady Bug needlepoint is part of Sew Much Fun’s Christmas ornament line. The stitch and thread selection is creative and colorful, but the bead arms and legs are quick and fun embellishments.

And, my goodness, is it about the finishing…This is a tricky step, since it can often be the most expensive or architectural part of a painted-canvas needlepoint project. If you don’t have the sewing expertiseand most of us don’t—the key is to find a good finisher. Many needlework shops offer finishing services, or you can search online for needlework finishing companies. Cindy’s Needle Art offers finishing services, which is perfect for the animals and characters in the Sew Much Fun line.

Petie Puppy is the name of this painted canvas design from Sew Much Fun. He is part of the 3-D Baby Animals line.

Petie Puppy is the name of this painted canvas design from Sew Much Fun. He is part of the 3-D Baby Animals line, shown here: http://www.cindysneedleart.com/babyanimals.html

Penelope Poodle is a made by stitching various needlepoint painted canvases and having them finished as a stuffed animal (with movable legs!).

Penelope Poodle is a made by stitching various needlepoint painted canvas sections and having them finished as a stuffed animal (with movable legs!). It can be expensive for the painted canvas, threads, and finishing…but wouldn’t it look perfect in your Paris apartment…someday….

I hope you enjoyed this little view into the colorful, creative, and contemporary dimensional needlepoint designs of Sew Much Fun. For more information on the designs shown here, visit http://www.cindysneedleart.com/Sewmuchfun.html

Pretty in purple, this daisy stands out for...well, standing out. It's called "3-D Daisy" and is from the design company Sew Much Fun. Can you spot the Kreinik metallics?

Pretty in purple, this daisy stands out for…well, standing out. It’s called “3-D Daisy” and is from the design company Sew Much Fun. Can you spot the Kreinik metallics?

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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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