Dena Lenham, aka KreinikGirl, is Creative Director at Kreinik Manufacturing…
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.
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).
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.