KreinikGirl

Kreinik Calling! Exclusive to Mr X Stitch!

Hello! It’s Monday, June 8: Happy World Oceans Day! What, you didn’t know? I didn’t either, I’m embarrassed to say, until yesterday.

Have you been to a beach, let waves splash over your feet, dreamt about or set sail on the seas? Ever visit an aquarium, did you watch “Gilligan’s Island” or “seaQuest DSV”, or maybe read “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea”? Do you remember learning about oceans in school, and can you still name earth’s five oceans? Our lives our connected to the world’s oceans in thousands of ways, every day, whether we realize it or not. “How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is quite clearly Ocean.”—Arthur Clarke

Needlepoint painted canvas by Cheryl Schaeffer Designs

“The waves of the sea help me get back to me.” – Jill Davis. Needlepoint design by Cheryl Schaeffer, http://www.cherylschaeffer.com/. Metallic threads by Kreinik, http://www.kreinik.com/

I’ve lived near two oceans, waded in their waves, gathered their seashells, read about them (favorites: Gift From The Sea, A Little Old Man, and The Captain’s Verses), and watched them star in films (Jaws, Splash, The Abyss, Waterworld, The Hunt For Red October, The Perfect Storm, Titanic, Life of Pi, The Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo, Free Willy, Castaway, Master and Commander, Bounty, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou…). I once worked for a boating newspaper where I met people who sailed around the world or dedicated their lives to working on or protecting the waters.

World Oceans Day, held every June 8th, is the United Nations-recognized day of ocean celebration and action, according to www.worldoceansday.org. Events around the world are held to raise awareness about the health of our oceans, celebrate their beauty, and recognize that the world’s oceans ultimately connect us all. Three quarters of the earth’s surface is covered by water. Homes to billions of creatures, oceans regulate our climate and generate most of the oxygen in our atmosphere. Water is vital to every single person on earth. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t realize World Oceans Day is today; you have until next June 8 to consider celebrations, or you can check the World Oceans Day calendar to see if there’s something in your neighborhood now. You can also celebrate the oceans every day in another way: in your needlework.

Centuries of embroiderers have stitched about the ocean, its creatures and its allure, mysteries, and metaphors. If you ever have a chance to see the famous, absolutely amazing and glorious crocheted Coral Reef exhibit, don’t miss it (http://crochetcoralreef.org/). Love mermaids? Then look for Nora Corbett’s cross stitch, beaded and shimmery, dreamy pattern series (http://www.mirabilia.com/category/mermaids/). Needlepoint a beach-themed pillow while listening to songs about the ocean (http://www.playlistresearch.com/themes/nature/ocean.htm). If you can’t be near the water, at least you can embroider it.

Today we have all kinds of threads, stitches, embellishments, designs and patterns to help bring ocean themes to stitched life. Let’s go with this metaphor for a moment: stitching is a chance to leave the shore of comfort and boredom, to experiment, play, ride the waves of imagination, and rinse off your burdens. It can be as relaxing as being near water, and as creative as nature itself. Here are a few photos and ideas for bringing some of the magic, color, and vibrant energy of the ocean world to your embroidery projects.

Glow in the dark threads add a little more fun to the clown fish in this cross stitch scene.

This design hangs on the wall at the Kreinik thread factory. The mix of cotton floss and metallic threads make the design more visually interesting, catching the eyes as people pass by. But the real fun is in the clown fish near the top: they are stitched in Kreinik glow-in-the-dark threads.

1. Embrace the blues. The most popular color in the world is blue. It’s associated with qualities like calmness, peace, openness, infinity, depth and wisdom. It relaxes and inspires people. If you are stressed, perhaps that’s a good time to stitch an ocean or water-themed project. Respond to the color, use it to inspire you or help your mood.

Kreinik metallic threads in shades of blue

The thread company Kreinik has over 60 shades of blue in their metallic and silk thread lines. There’s a hue for you—and every design. Visit the Threads section on http://www.kreinik.com/ to see which blues come in which thread sizes.

2. Stitch with metallic threads. You’ve probably heard me say that a few times, but tell me the truth: have you ever seen an ocean that didn’t glisten, fish that weren’t shimmery, seafoam that wasn’t misty? Metallic threads are the easiest way to make a motif look wet, to capture the real-life visual dimension of water, its creatures, its life. For cross stitch, I recommend Kreinik Blending Filament (add one strand to floss for a subtle effect), Very Fine #4 Braid, or Fine #8 Braid (both meant to be used solo, not combined). For needlepoint, quilting, or hand embroidery, choose Fine #8 Braid or Tapestry #12 Braid. For machine embroidery, couch any of the Kreinik Ribbons (see the video https://youtu.be/Y5iSf7WYmyU), or use just about anything in the bobbin (see the video https://youtu.be/3FKZeEwxfEk).

Shimmering fish stitched on an ocean of blue canvas in this design by Waterweave

Vibrant fish stand out in this needlepoint painted canvas by designer Ellen Brown of Waterweave, thanks to the vibrant blue background, the mix of stitches, and the use of metallic threads (Kreinik Braids). For more information about Ellen’s ocean-themed needlepoint designs, visit http://blog.waterweave.com/

Use metallic threads to make stitched water look wet and visually interesting.

Water is wet, so why not make your stitched water look wet. Here designer Sally Baer uses several shades of Kreinik metallic Tapestry #12 Braid to give the water some shimmer and sense of motion. The design is a needlepoint painted canvas in her line, BB Needlepoint, http://www.bbneedlepointdesigns.com/

Here's how to make a stitched mermaid look real: metallic threads

One would expect a mermaid to have a shimmery tail, yes? Here’s how you do that in needlework: metallic threads. Design is by Cheryl Schaeffer, http://www.cherylschaeffer.com/index.asp. Variegated green metallic thread is by Kreinik, http://www.kreinik.com/

3. Add embellishments. Your needlework project is about you, perhaps connecting with a memory or expressing a wish.Maybe you’ve collected seashells, beachy jewelry, pirates’ bounty, or nautical buttons…add them to your needlework to make it 3-dimensional and personal.

Designer Larkin Jean Van Horn's quilted wall hanging, A Drop In The Ocean features a large glass piece "sewn" onto the design.

“Every drop in the ocean counts.” —Yoko Ono. Full of shimmer due to Kreinik metallic threads, and movement due to the placement of stitches, this ode to the ocean also features a large cabochon. I don’t know if designer Larkin Jean Van Horn gathered this stone on her many travels, but I do know that it adds an element and dimension that makes this design more visually interesting, and gives meaning to the quilt’s name: “A Drop In The Ocean.” Designer: http://www.larkinart.com/

Sally Baer's sea life needlepoint canvas features beads for texture and dimension

“Into the ocean went a world more fantastic than any imagination could inspire.” – Wyland. This needlepoint painted canvas design features color, texture and dimension to capture some of the vibrancy of the ocean. Metallic threads, a variety of stitches, and beads make the piece so interesting, you want to show it off in your future beach house… About the designer: http://www.bbneedlepointdesigns.com/

4. Escape from reality with fantasy oceanic designs. I’m not saying mermaids aren’t real, but I am saying the ocean has some pretty wild things in it. The artist Wyland describes it as “a world more fantastic than any imagination could inspire.” Let’s run with that kind of creativity: make up your own fantastical creatures, add materials and stitches and LEDs, absolutely feel free to go wild with your embroidery ideas.

Danji Designs mermaid themed needlepoint canvases

Needlepoint painted canvas company Danji Designs has a line of mermaid themed projects that can be finished as needlebooks, scissor fobs, etc. You can have a lot of fun with stitches, embellishments, and metallic threads on these small canvases. See http://www.danjidesigns.com/

Mermaids can come in all mediums, cross stitch or crochet included

What’s your fancy, or fantasy? Cross stitching or crocheting a mermaid? The one on the left is a cross-stitch design by Nora Corbett of Mirabilia, http://www.mirabilia.com/category/mermaids/. The one on the right is a crocheted mermaid ornament, a free project on the Kreinik website, https://www.kreinik.com/shops/Crochet-Mermaid.html

This needlepoint project by Danji Designs brings motion and commotion of the ocean to a fun, stitched level.

There’s so much to see in this design of the sea: mixed stitches, beads, metallic threads, a stitched necklace, a crazy octopus, hair, and an itsy bitsy teeny weeny mermaid bikini. Needlepoint painted canvas by Danji Designs, http://www.danjidesigns.com/

5. Stitch. Ok, this suggestion may seem vague, but I want you to know how important it is that you are stitching: to your life, to your circle of people, to your culture, to the tapestry of life that depicts our world and covers our centuries. Mother Teresa once said, “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” You matter, creativity matters, the stitches you create on fabric or canvas or paper or fences matter. Keep stitching.

And let’s all save the oceans too.

Octopus's Garden quilt by Andrea Stern

Machine pieced, hand and machine quilted. Machine appliqué. Machine embroidery and machine embroidered appliquéd motifs. “I wanted to explore the wonders of a coral reef in this piece and pulled out all the stops with the details. Metallic Kreinik machine threads add sparkle and texture.” – Andrea Stern. See the whole quilt here: http://www.embellishmentcafe.com/embroidery/Octopusgarden.htm

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Kreinik Calling! Exclusive to Mr X Stitch!

Have you ever walked up to a painting in a museum, a quilt in an exhibit, or a relief on a building, and thought: “Wow, how did they do that?” I responded that way when I saw needlepoint designer Gay Ann Rogers’ newest project, The Young Catherine. An artist’s vision, technique, ability, and the finished art itself inspires and touches us as humans regardless of the medium. You and I are stitchers—all ages and skill levels—connected by common stitches and shared passion, so I know you will enjoy this behind-the-scenes look at the design and designer. She adds layers to our favorite stitches, mixes in beautiful fibers, and teaches us that it’s ok to reach for the stars in our projects.

Take a read through this interview with Gay Ann Rogers, a wonderful lady and designer I’ve known for many years. The Young Catherine is extraordinary (“exemplary & bloody amazing” says one stitcher on Instagram who is “currently #losingmysh!% over it!”), yet not out of reach; Gay Ann offers complete instructions/chart/diagrams in a kit, and will be teaching the project via the Shining Needle Society, an online needlework group.

The Young Catherine needlepoint by Gay Ann Rogers

Gay Ann Rogers’ newest needlepoint design is of The Young Catherine. The project combines history and a classic medium with modern fibers and the hot layering-stitch trend in textile art. For more information on The Young Catherine or Gay Ann Rogers, visit http://www.gayannrogers.com/

Q: What inspired you to create this design?

Gay Ann: About five years ago I designed and stitched a portrait of Elizabeth 1. You can find it on my Gay Ann Rogers website, I think. It was a very successful project for me back then and my followers wanted me to do another big one. They wanted me to do Henry Vlll but I wanted to do another powerful woman. My husband suggested Catherine the Great. The style of the two portraits is so different, having to do in part with the evolution of painting in the 200 years between the two.

Q: How long did it take to design The Young Catherine?

Gay Ann: From first stroke of pencil on a drawing pad to last stitch on the piece it took me just about 6 weeks. I stitched her last summer.

Q: Why did you choose Congress Cloth for this piece instead of linen or canvas?

Gay Ann: Congress cloth is usually my ground of choice, although I sometimes work on 18-mesh canvas, and occasionally (very occasionally) on linen. I am essentially a needlepoint person who tinkers with some counted thread techniques and some surface techniques as well.

Q: The face is extraordinary; how did you achieve such detail, shading, and expression?

Gay Ann: Thanks! When I did Elizabeth’s face, I noticed in studying the portraits that there wasn’t much shading. By the time of Catherine’s age, it was dominant. I had been on a personal study course of Cezanne years ago and I had evolved from him a way of shading very unlike traditional shading. I used the techniques to do Catherine’s face. They are essentially blocks of color. I don’t like traditional shading in needlepoint, it ends up looking too splotchy to me. I wrote all about it on my website. here’s the link to my lessons: http://www.gayannrogers.com/6-painterly.html

As far as the face goes, I have tinkered with figure drawing and faces the whole of the time I’ve designed needlepoint. I am a great believer in trial and error — I sit with all kinds of threads in a horseshoe shape around me and then try and rip, try and rip until I get the effect I’m looking for. For Catherine’s face I stitched it partially three times on doodles and then once fully on the doode. I stitched it twice ‘for real’. My followers are lucky — they don’t have to go through my trials and errors as the face is fully graphed for them.

Q: Layers of embroidery create beautiful details on the clothing. How many different stitches are used in the piece? Do the instructions include stitch diagrams?

Gay Ann: The effect is all layered: there’s a base stitch, often Diagonal Tent Stitch and then layers on the top of it. I tend to use rather basic stitches but layered to achieve the color mixes I like.I don’t know how to count how many stitches because there are so many variations. Yes, the design is fully graphed — to do it, the stitcher just has to count well and follow my instructions. The instructions are 45 pages long; in addition there are 12 Oversize Graphs (11 x 17) and 2 color prints of my finished Catherine. I used to draw the graphs by hand, now I do them all in Illustrator. I once answered a questionnaire from Adobe about my use of Illustrator and I said, minimum 40 hours a week — I stitch with my laptop beside me and build the graphs in Illustrator as I stitch.

Q: Which Kreinik threads are used in the project?

Gay Ann: As I think you know, I love Kreinik braids and ribbons and I can’t remember the last piece that I stitched without them. In Catherine I used one #8 braid and two #4 braids for overstitching on her headdress (Kokoshnki) and costume; in addition I used 1/16″ ribbon and 1/8″ ribbon on her veil.

Q: What is your favorite tip regarding stitching with metallic threads?

Gay Ann: My favorite tip for using metallic threads is paying attention to size. I almost always use lighter weight braid than people think is ‘right’. I am a lover of #4 Kreinik braid on congress cloth and #8 braid on 18 mesh. I think you get amazing sparkle, but the thinner braids make your stitching look more delicate.

Q: Attention to detail in your designs goes beyond the image—do you use test stitchers and/or proof readers?

Gay Ann: Absolutely!! I have the most amazing proof-stitcher! No matter how many of my designs she has done, she catches every little thing — and if I make a mistake in phrasing, she tells me what it should be and exactly where to insert it. Her amazing skill at proofing might just have to do with the fact that she was a lawyer ‘in another life’ (as she puts it). The most incredible part about her involvement with Catherine was this: from first stitch to last, she stitched it in 12 days, IMHO, and inhuman feat. But I know she did it because she sent me a photo of her progress for the day every evening. I will teach the project online at Shining Needle Society and I asked her if she would be a ‘guest commentator’ in the class. I think she will be great at explaining lots of tips. Remember, I never stitched my design from my instructions, but she did.

Gay Ann Rogers knows needlepoint. She has been teaching and designing for many years, and now uses internet resources like cyberclasses and her website to reach new stitchers.

Gay Ann Rogers knows needlepoint. She has been teaching and designing for many years, and now uses internet resources like cyberclasses and her website to reach new stitchers. You will learn something from every Gay Ann Rogers design—and have an amazing piece of textile art when you’re finished.

Q: Are you going on a vacation now that the biggest project to date has been released?

A: No, Kate Gaunt has set up a classroom for me at Shining Needle Society; it’s not a formal class, it’s a Stitchalong Group. I think I’ll be leading it for a year. It will be a fun year, watching a group of Catherines come to life. When I taught my portrait of Elizabeth 1, I posted a bunch of them and it was fascinating how each Elizabeth had a different personality. Stitchers brought a bit of themselves to their pieces and each was a little different — it was super.

Q: Where can stitchers learn more about your designs?

Gay Ann: Probably the best place to learn about my designs is on my website, www.GayAnnRogers.com. I don’t have everything of mine posted up there — I’ve been designing and teaching needlepoint for such a very long time (I used to travel and teach for the Embroiderers’ Guild (EGA) and American Needlepoint Guild (ANG); then I discovered the computer and have been online ever since.

Needlepoint teacher and designer Gay Ann Rogers with Kreinik Creative Director Dena Lenham and thread company owner Doug Kreinik, at a TNNA tradeshow.

Needlepoint teacher and designer Gay Ann Rogers with Kreinik Creative Director Dena Lenham and thread company owner Doug Kreinik, at a TNNA tradeshow.

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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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