Threads for needlework and embroidery aren’t just for color, they can also be used for special effects. Today, you can stitch with reflective thread or conductive thread, for instance. You can add an extra dimension, another layer of uniqueness, the element of surprise, or maybe just some humor to any project by using threads designed for special effects.
If you don’t want to experiment with LEDs and wires yet, try something old-school: glow-in-the-dark threads. I have seen people from ages 3 to 90-something “ooh” and “aah” over an item that glows in the dark. We have glowsticks, necklaces, bracelets, costumes, nail polish…Amazon even sells glow-in-the-dark toilet paper…not to mention fireflies, ostracods, millipedes, anglerfish, pygmy sharks, and certain squid that naturally luminesce. So it’s just human nature, and nature-nature, to go for the glow.
Here are four ideas for using glow-in-the-dark threads in your embroidery:
1. To replicate items that naturally glow (or reflect light) in real life: the moon, fireflies, stars, a street lamp, candle flame, cat’s eyes, ghost riders, a halo, lights on a robot, lightening, radioactive skeletons, spider web, jelly fish, etc. You get the idea. If it naturally glows and you are stitching a replica of it, you need to use glow-in-the-dark threads.
2. For Halloween. This goes without saying. Can you take a stitched ghost seriously if it doesn’t glow? Is it truly creep-tacular if a stitched bat doesn’t have beaming eyes? How boring if a stitched haunted house doesn’t have glowing orbs or spider webs in the windows. Halloween themes are meant to be fun and creative. This is the most obvious time to glow if there ever was one. You can easily slip an extra layer of fun into Halloween designs by using glow-in-the-dark threads.
3. For a joke. Just think of the fun you can have stitching surprises into designs with a thread that doesn’t show up until it’s dark. (Side note: This is where I recommend Kreinik 052F Grapefruit, a neutral white/yellow/beige that seems to blend into anything. Choose this color in different thread weights—ie, Filament, Fine Braid, Medium Braid, Ribbon—depending on your stitch technique and ground material.) We once heard about a quilt made for a teenager; the design was traditional, but the quilter (her mom) used glow-in-the-dark threads to quilt messages and designs. As you can imagine, it was a hit among all ages. One of my favorite projects is a stitched spider web, with glow-in-the-dark thread (052F) creating a message throughout the labyrinth of lines. One wife spooked her husband when her newly finished cross-stitch moon glowed as he got up in the night. You get the idea; sneak a hidden layer into your designs with the thread.
4. To impress your friends. “Ooh I want to see” has been heard more times that you can imagine at the Kreinik offices. When a glow-in-the-dark project came back from the stitcher, we converged in the darkest room, the bathroom, to await the surprise. Many visitors got to see some pretty cool stuff in that bathroom…well, you know what I mean. Everyone wants to see a glow-in-the-dark project, and then they all want to know “How did you do that?” Your secret is safe with us and the tribe of needleworkers: glow-in-the-dark threads.
So whether you are stitching Halloween projects this month, or working on Christmas ornaments (think stars, moon, streetlamp, candle), work some glow-in-the-dark threads into the mix. They’re just plain fun and you will surprise everyone.
Sources and side notes:
Kreinik glow-in-the-dark thread colors carry an “F” (for fluorescent) next to the color number. So look for 052F, 053F, 054F etc in any of the metallic thread sizes here: http://www.kreinik.com/shops/Metallic-Threads/. Here is a video showing the threads in action: http://www.kreinik.com/shops/VIDEO-Kreinik-Glow-In-The-Dark-Thread.html. Many of these free Halloween cross stitch patterns also use glow-in-the-dark threads: http://www.kreinik.com/shops/Halloween-Cross-Stitch/
Sublime Stitching also carries a selection of glow-in-the-dark threads for embroidery; see http://www.sublimestitching.com/products/glow-in-the-dark-thread with project idea http://www.sublimestitching.com/blogs/news/5770212
Welcome to Manbroidery, a series of interviews with men who stitch. This time we interview Walter Bruno Brix who plays with textile illustration to explore history and identity.
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