We are in Countdown to Halloween mode, and it seems like everyone is buying or making decorations and costumes. I have been getting many questions about glow-in-the-dark thread lately, as stitchers look to add that fun element to designs and projects. So I thought I’d answer the five most common questions here. These threads are so much fun that I want you to run to your nearest thread shop (store or online source) and get some. Don’t fear the fluorescent. Fluorescents are your fiber friends.
1. Will it lose its glow if it’s washed?
This question came from a knitter who is using glow-in-the-dark Blending Filament as a carry-along fiber in knitting some socks. Washing does not affect the glow at all…light affects the glow (you “charge” the colors in natural or artificial light). It is not recommended that you bleach or iron glow-in-the-dark threads.
2. Does it come in different colors?
It is available in a variety of colors—most often pink, yellow, green, orange, white—but they all pretty much glow a level of green. That is the nature of the fluorescent material. You can still have fun with the colors in daylight, though. My favorite is Kreinik’s 052F, an off-white color, because it is a neutral that blends into just about anything. I also like 053F Lime Green because it’s a fun chartreuse color, and 051F Tangerine because it’s a strong orange. Kreinik’s color 054F Lemon-Lime is that great citron yellow we’ve been seeing in fashion (looks fabulous with grays).
3. How long will it glow?
They will glow for about 15 minutes after being exposed to light, and longer if in backlight (you can find blacklight bulbs at hardware stores like Home Depot and Lowes). To reactivate, expose them to light again.
4. Is it just for hand embroidery?
Glow-in-the-dark threads come in all kinds of weights (sizes, types), so you can use them in just about any fiber art technique. You can use them in cross stitch to needlepoint, embroidery, weaving, knitting, crochet, quilting and paper crafting, just to name a few. I’ve seen thicker ones, like Kreinik Heavy #32 Braid, used as shoestrings and hoodie strings. Most hand embroidery threads aren’t strong enough to be used in a sewing machine, however you can use them in the bobbin for that unique type of reverse work.
5. Is it hard to work with?
No, not at all — it’s just different from cotton floss. It is not as soft and pliable as cotton or silk floss, so just stitch a little more carefully and slowly. Use a needle with an eye large enough to accommodate the thread comfortably (if you’re squishing the thread through the eye, it’s too small), which will reduce fraying and shredding. I often “relax” my threads by stroking them with my fingers or a slightly damp cosmetic sponge, and that technique works well with glow-in-the-dark threads, too. And remember: if you use any thread at a length longer than about 18 inches, you’re going to get tangling and knotting, so stick with 15 to 18 inches.
Have some fun with glow-in-the-dark threads this time of year, or in any project. If you have any questions or want to share what you’ve made with them, post a comment here, or connect with me on Twitter (@Kreinikgirl). Here are a few additional resources to explore:
• Kreinik glow-in-the-dark threads come in a variety of sizes, with Blending Filament, #4 Braid and #8 Braid being most popular for cross stitch. Look for color numbers that carry an “F” for “fluorescent” here.
• Ask your favorite retailer for glow-in-the-dark threads. You can also find many sources online, such as the fabulous Sublime Stitching, who carries a pack of glow-in-the-dark threads for hand embroidery here.
• For project ideas and photo inspiration, visit this glow-in-the-dark album on Flickr.