Ghost in the embroidery machine


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Do you believe in ghosts? What about stitching ghosts? (Not ghosts who stitch, which is actually kind of a nice thought, but rather stitching ghost designs.). Here in the USA, Halloween is big business, including big needlepoint and cross stitch business. Halloween needlework, quilting, and embroidery designs are as plentiful as candy this time of year, so I can’t help but be inspired to write about spooktacular (ugh, sorry) ideas for stitching ghosts.

Take design inspiration from how the designers slipped a ghost motif into this Halloween-y owl project. It's a needlepoint painted canvas by Sew Much Fun.
Take design inspiration from how the designers slipped a ghost motif into this Halloween-y owl project. It’s a needlepoint painted canvas by Sew Much Fun. Another idea: stitch the ghost in a glow-in-the-dark orange, so it blends into the background…until the lights go out!

The number one most important piece of advice I can give you in regard to stitching ghosts is: use a glow-in-the-dark thread. Those ghosts need to appear when you least expect it, and especially as a hazy, nebulous image. They love doing that kind of thing (I think).

It's easy to make a stitched ghost glow: use a glow-in-the-dark thread.
You can have so much fun with a glow-in-the-dark thread in cross stitch, as seen in this ghost cutie. Pick your level of glow: Blending Filament is super thin, so it will give you light coverage. Kreinik Braid is heavier, so your motif will really stand out.

I can offer a few tips on stitching with a glow-in-the-dark thread if you are intimidated. Due to the fluorescent material, glow-in-the-dark threads can be a bit stiffer than cotton embroidery floss, but that’s ok; just use a thread conditioner like Thread Heaven or stitch with shorter lengths (about 15 inches). The effects are worth it. Make sure you are using a needle large enough to accommodate the thread, as a needle that is too small will shred a thread. Kreinik makes glow-in-the-dark thread in several Braid sizes, with #4 Braid and #8 Braid being perfect sizes for cross stitch, and #12 Braid or #16 Braid being perfect for needlepoint. These colors carry an “F” after the color number, as in 052F Grapefruit, meaning “fluorescent.” No need to separate, ply or unskein these babies, just unwind from the spool and go. (Personal note: I’ve stitched with many types of non-cotton-floss threads, and these really are the easiest to use.)

Here's an interesting idea for cross stitching a ghost: work a half-cross stitch for the nebulous vapor-y effect.
Here’s an interesting idea for cross stitching a ghost: work a half-cross stitch for the nebulous vapor-y effect. This ghost is done in Fine #8 Braid color 052F Grapefruit, a glow-in-the-dark thread. (Side note: this pattern is a free download)

I recently learned that paper crafting and card making is more popular than cross stitching in the UK. I had an amateur elementary-school art career making paper ghosts, but the mixed media going on in paper crafting now is truly remarkable. You can make fantastic dimensional, artistic ghosts with paper, die cuts, embellishments and ephemera at your fingertips today. Kreinik even has glow-in-the-dark iron-on threads that can be added to paper projects. I especially like these for outlining ghost motifs, as they are easy, quick, with no sewing involved, and they add a fun dimension.

Glow-in-the-dark iron-on thread by Kreinik, used as embellishment on this paper crafting project.
This ghost on this papercraft design is made with iron-on 1/8″ Ribbon in a glow-in-the-dark “grapefruit” color. This thread has heat-activated adhesive in it, which means you can iron it onto many surfaces. It will glow a soft white-green when the lights go out.
Halloween shades of Kreinik iron-on threads.
Love these Halloween colors of iron-on thread. In this range, the green, white and orange spools near the middle are the glow-in-the-dark shades.
Use iron-on glow-in-the-dark thread to make a quick Halloween costume.
When a friend needed a last-minute Halloween costume, we knew it had to be cheap and quick. Found this black vest at a thrift store, and simply ironed glow-in-the-dark thread in ghost patterns all over the front and back. (Kreinik 1/8″ Ribbon)

Don’t forget to give your ghost some eye definition. Use beads, French knots, or even a black metallic thread to make them stand out a little bit. If you are stitching on black or dark fabric, keep the ghosts eyeless…don’t stitch in the eye areas and you will truly give your stitched ghost a blank stare. Creepy. In a fun way, I mean.

Glow-in-the-dark iron-on threads embellish a paper ghost.
Iron-on 1/8″ Ribbon in a glow-in-the-dark white is used to outline this die-cut paper ghost. Iron-on #16 Braid in a glow-in-the-dark orange is used on his/her banner. Intrigued about iron-on threads? Boomark Bookmark How to use an iron on thread web page to read later.

Here at Kreinik, our factory is an old renovated church building, and some of our thread-making machines are over a hundred years old. I’m not implying that’s enough time-lapsing to make ghosts possible, but I will say we get a bit spirited sometimes. (Excited about threads, that is). We make many threads that are perfect for stitching, knitting, crocheting, quilting, or papercrafting Halloween designs, all created for you to have a little fun with your needlework.

Kreinik glow-in-the-dark threads
Kreinik makes five glow-in-the-dark thread colors, which can be purchased on spools or cones (by special order). Expose them to light, and they will glow for about 15 minutes. To reactivate, expose them to light again. Visit http://www.kreinik.com/shops/Glow-In-The-Dark.html for more info.

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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