Dena Lenham, aka KreinikGirl, is Creative Director at Kreinik Manufacturing…
Are you an adventurous stitcher who loves to combine threads and stitches in projects? Or are you a conservative stitcher who sticks to one-thread-type, one-stitch-type designs? I love you both, the thrill-seeker and the earnest-essential. But I do want to encourage the latter: there’s a magical world you’re missing when you ignore the amazing threads and stitches available at your fingertips. Even adding one “specialty fiber” like a glow-in-the-dark thread adds another dimension. Even adding an Algerian Eyelet stitch next to a cross stitch creates dynamic texture. What you’re stitching doesn’t matter—a gaming motif for a keychain, a wall hanging for your office, or a gift for your best friend—every design deserves to look its best, and you deserve to have fun.
Why is playing with threads and stitches fun?
Because your design will look fabulous, your mind will be expanding its’ creative options, your fingers won’t get bored, and everyone will say “Wow!” Even when you choose a simple colourway, just the combination of fibers brings contrast and texture that lifts a design. What happens when you combine different stitches and thread types (like metallics and cotton, or metallics and silk) is that your design is more eye-catching, dimensional, visually exciting.
To show you the extreme possibilities of what happens when you combine different threads and stitches, take a look at these photos from Karen Dudzinski’s latest design, “Dawn To Dusk.” She is a counted canvas designer, a charted needlepoint creator, which means her designs (under the name Textured Treasures) come in chart form, and you stitch them like you would a counted cross stitch design (as opposed to painted canvas needlepoint). This makes her design line ideal for cross stitchers looking to expand their creative repertoire.
Don’t worry if you look at these and say “I can’t do that!” Just take your own baby steps to start adding interesting fibers and stitches to your next project. If you look at these and say “I want to do that!“, connect with Karen online to see more of her fabulous designs.
4 quick questions with Karen Dudzinski, needlepoint designer
QUESTION: Tell us about your newest design.
KAREN: Dawn to Dusk is a design to celebrate 20 years of Textured Treasures [her design company]. My first design was Twilight, later followed by Dawn, Midnight, and Midday pieces, all of which were single designs stitched on Quaker cloth. Over the years, many customers have mentioned that the designs might look nice all as one piece; and others mentioned that they might translate well to canvas. To have some fun, I did both of these things and then I think I lost my mind….I had so much fun restitching the four designs into one canvas, I decided to stitch another colourway, and then another, and another and soon I’ll be on the fifth colourway – Clean and Crisp (black, white and silvers).
It’s all about passion
QUESTION: When and where did you learn to do needlework?
KAREN: I think I learned the basics of embroidery in either Brownies or Guides – I recall doing a tea-towel at some point. In home-economics I embroidered a denim carry bag, and through high school and university kept busy with various needlepoint and small stitch projects. As a junior I was introduced to “Mary Maxim” an full-service in store or mail order crafty supply company and ordered a “loot bag” of goodies: plastic canvas, painted fabric and cross stitch all entered my repertoire and kept me busy until grad school, at which point I discovered the Creative Sewing and Needlework Festival in Toronto (now the Creative Festival). After completing a counted canvas design by Susan Portra, I discovered my passion and started playing with fabrics and fibres of all sorts. Our local needlework shop proprietor – Renata of the Needlegnome in Acton, Ontario – saw what I was working on and said “If you publish that, I will carry it in my shop.” Bless her – Textured Treasures was created and launched within 6 months.
A particular kind of needlepoint
QUESTION: Why did you choose “charted or counted canvas work”?
KAREN: Although I love painted canvas and the opportunities it offers for a range of stitchers – i.e. one can simply decide to tent stitch the entire design and end up with a beautiful piece of art for the wall, or make use of a range of counted needlepoint stitches to fill various areas; as I am drawn to geometrics and patterns and things like Celtic knots – these tend to lend themselves more to counted work – and then I get the added bonus of letting the beautiful range of fabric and canvas colours be seen through the design as well.
QUESTION: How can stitchers find your designs?
KAREN: I am a bit of a social media junkie so we have Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/TexturedTreasuresStitch), Twitter (@DudzinskiKaren), Instagram (texturedtreasures), and my website is in development (ttreasures2000.wixsite.com/texturedtreasures). There are several shops internationally that sell my designs – so it’s best to contact your LNS [local needlework shop] first. 🙂
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.