Pretty fly for a 3-D sculpture

fiber flies
Fiber flies

There’s a handwork technique embraced by men and women all over the world that is flying high right now. Using needlework threads and craft supplies to make minuscule sculptures, it’s as popular as I’ve ever seen. I’m talking about fly fishing lures. You may think they are simply sporting goods, but they are so much more: tiny, 3-D sculptures.

I don't know the name of this lure (share with a fly fishing friend, I bet they'll know), but I love the mixed media involved in making it. Can you spot the feathers?
I don’t know the name of this lure (share with a fly fishing friend, I bet they’ll know), but I love the mixed media involved in making it. Can you spot the feathers?

Fly tyers, as they are known, have two things in mind: 1. Design for realism (extra flair is ok). 2. Design to catch the eye regardless of lighting conditions. To meet these tasks, nature is their muse and metallic threads are their secret. They create hand sculpted bugs, worms, eggs, tiny reptiles, miniature fish and other species known to be irresistible to hungry fish of all kinds. Kreinik metallic threads are a fly fishing staple, including the primary ingredient of the hot Kreelex lure, created by Chuck Kraft. I haven’t learned to tie flies yet, and I’m not terribly outdoorsy (“Are you watching your line?” my husband used to say to me when I went fishing with him…”Uh-huh,” I’d reply with my nose in a book…). However I love talking to fly tyers and seeing what they make with the same threads I use for cross stitch, needlepoint, and quilting.

This fly fishing lure is called a Wooly Bugger, with a Ribbon Variant. The body base is Kreinik metallic color 085—popular in needlepoint and cross stitch for night scenes, water scenes, and fantasy themes. A bit of Kreinik Blending Filament in blue gives light (shows up when the lure moves underwater) to the tail.
This fly fishing lure is called a Wooly Bugger, with a Ribbon Variant. The body base is Kreinik metallic color 085—popular in needlepoint and cross stitch for night scenes, water scenes, and fantasy themes. A bit of Kreinik Blending Filament in blue gives light (shows up when the lure moves underwater) to the tail.

A thread runs through it

It may seem strange to spotlight fly fishing on an embroidery blog, but fly tyers are similar to stitchers in many ways. Tyers shop for supplies at craft and needlework stores (many tyers “borrow” materials from their stitching spouses). They follow published patterns for specific designs, mimic actual real-life samples, or use their own imagination. Using a base material (hook), the makers weave, wrap, stitch or otherwise attach fibers. The process of creating is as important as the end use. Many find time spent sitting at their table, organizing or using their supplies—yes, playing with the colors, mixing up combinations, experimenting, creating—to be as relaxing as meditation.

This fly fishing lure is called a Kiwi Fleetle, and it's a cross between a fly and a beetle. The green back is Kreinik 1/8" Ribbon. Watch Harrison Steeves make one here: https://youtu.be/RFve_6EF3LY
This fly fishing lure is called a Kiwi Fleetle, and it’s a cross between a fly and a beetle. It’s made of thread, straw, and other fibers like green Kreinik 1/8″ Ribbon. Watch Harrison Steeves make one here: https://youtu.be/RFve_6EF3LY

With beads for eyes, silk dubbing for bodies, feathers and metallic threads for tails, for instance, a fly fishing lure is a mixed media, 3-D work of art. Explore the world of these mini marvels and appreciate the creativity, artistry, and passion behind them. I’ve shared links at the end to help you explore more (go adhead, dive in to #flyfishing on Instagram — wow! — It’s like viewing an art show).

I love this lure and I don't even know its name. The colors are classy. Maybe good for earrings? The metallics are Kreinik (Blending Filament to a fly tyer is called Flash).
I love this lure and I don’t even know its name. The colors are classy. Maybe good for earrings? The metallics are from Kreinik (Blending Filament to a fly tyer is called Flash).
This lure has so much expression in his eyes, I'm ready to write a book about him. He's a Disco Bass Bug, made with foam discs from a craft store to help it float (good for topwater bass fishing).
This lure has so much expression in his eyes, I’m ready to write a book about him. He’s a Disco Bass Bug, made with foam discs from a craft store to help it float (good for topwater bass fishing).
For more information
This fly fishing lure looks alien to me, but I bet it's irresistible to fish. The body is wrapped with metallic threads, then covered with a clear epoxy, which lets some of the shimmer come through. Creative mix of materials.
This fly fishing lure looks alien to me, but I bet it’s irresistible to fish. The body is wrapped with metallic threads, then covered with a clear epoxy, which lets some of the shimmer come through. Creative mix of materials.
My co-worker Jim, an avid fly fisherman, shared these with me. I played with them like they were dolls in a dollhouse. Ah, but their purpose is more series than that: catch fish.
My co-worker Jim, an avid fly fisherman, shared these with me. I played with them like they were dolls in a dollhouse. Ah, but their purpose is more series than that: catch fish.

Kreinik Calling! Exclusive to Mr X Stitch!

KreinikGirl
Dena Lenham, aka KreinikGirl, is Creative Director at Kreinik Manufacturing Company, a family-owned, USA-based business that manufactures high-quality yarns and threads made of metallics, silks and real metals from their West Virginia factory. Dena’s monthly column, Kreinik Calling, sheds light on the fascinating fibres that we all use and love.
KreinikGirl

@kreinikgirl

Official thread news, tips, ideas and answers from Dena Lenham, Creative Director at thread company Kreinik Mfg. Co., Inc.
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