Bring On The Light


Kreinik Calling! Exclusive to Mr X Stitch!
As a stitcher and embroider, you use threads as a tool for bringing a design to life. They’re not just for adding color, however. Depending on the kind of thread, they can add a different texture or a special effect, which makes the end design all that much more interesting. Look around you right now: are your surroundings flat, all one texture, totally matte, all one type of surface? No, the world is varied, and pretty darn visually interesting.

In addition to color, metallic threads add light to a design. To get technical for a moment, metallic thread is made from a polyester film that goes through a vacuum process to coat the surface. The materials used for this film can be aluminum, silver, gold, holographic, transparent, iridescent, etc. These threads are literally created to shine.

Chartreuse Kreinik metallic threads
Chartreuse colors of Kreinik metallic threads: Japan Thread (in front), followed by Braid, Filament, Ribbon, and Fine Braid.

Why would you want this in a design? Well, basically, to make it more visually interesting. Why do you wear silver earrings, or a gold necklace? Why do we wear metallic nail polish or lip gloss? Why are fish naturally attracted to shiny things? The light reflection of something metallic gets our attention, jazzes things up a bit, or communicates stimuli of some sort. That’s just science (or nature).

I want to showcase the beautiful work of Sam Packer, of Workshop On The Web, to illustrate the idea of adding light to designs through choice of thread. Sam is a mixed media artist who also writes for that quarterly textile e-publication. (Note: You can get a “taster issue” of Workshop on the Web from their website.)

Sam used a variety of stitches in a combination of hand and machine embroidery using metallic threads on silk paper. Kreinik Fashion Twist is used for the machine stitching, while various sizes (thicknesses) of Kreinik Braids are used for the hand embroidery.
Sam used a variety of stitches in a combination of hand and machine embroidery with metallic threads on silk paper. Kreinik Fashion Twist is used for the machine stitching, while various sizes (thicknesses) of Kreinik Braids are used for the hand embroidery.
Use white metallic threads on white fabric creates eye-catching detail and a sense of dimension.
Materials/techniques: freezer paper stencil, cotton fabric, screen printing, Kreinik Fine Twist for machine embroidery, Kreinik Braids for hand embroidery. “You can catch the light with it,” Sam comments about the metallic pearl-colored Braid used on the white fabric. She went with the same color family for the machine stitched background too, but used metallic thread to create detail. “I used the Kreinik machine sewing thread that has flecks of silver, so even though it is white-on-white, the thread catches the light.”

Take a slow look at these photos to study how metallic threads add the element of light on a contrasting backdrop. Then consider how you can use metallics to add light to your next project. It doesn’t matter if you are a cross stitcher or a mixed media embroiderer, a costume designer or a paper crafter, a needlepointer or a jewelry maker; the end result of mixing up your thread types is going to be so much more stimulating….dare I say, dazzling, dahling. Go for it.

The stitches give the body, but the metallic threads give the light.
The stitches give the body, but the metallic threads give the light. Materials: Cotton sheeting, stencils, dimensional paste, Kreinik Fine Twist (three colors: yellow, white gold, dark gold for shading). Technique: free-motion machine embroidery.
Close up of Sam Packer's feather design showing the metallic machine sewing threads (Kreinik brand).
Close up of Sam Packer’s feather design showing the beautiful, subtle shimmer from the metallic machine sewing threads (Kreinik brand). She sketched the basics of the design on her Ipad, then worked it on her sewing machine. She used a zig-zag stitch for the main stem of each feather.

 


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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