Who stitches with ribbons?

In your year of becoming a Kreinik thread expert, we've been studying Kreinik A To Z. This week's
lesson is: R Is For Ribbons. They may not be as well known as Kreinik Braids, but Kreinik's metallic ribbons are staples to many needle artists and growing in popularity among younger stitchers. Why; who stitches with ribbons? Let's find out.

Embroidery

A few decades ago, ribbon embroidery on denim was hot. Kreinik and Leisure Arts published a "how to use metallic ribbon in embroidery" booklet that was popular. Fast forward to today, and embroidery on clothing is back, albeit in an updated style and on different fabrics. Embroidered costumes—like the ones by Michele Carragher in Game of Thrones—are in demand. The more embroidery in general grows in popularity, the more stitchers seek out a variety of threads to make their designs dimensional and interesting. Kreinik 1/4" Ribbon, for instance, was created by request from Japanese embroiderers who wanted a wider size. It is now used in general embroidery for specialty stitches like woven spider web roses and other flower stitches. 

Kreinik metallic ribbons are soft, lovely, and ideal for ribbon embroidery stitches.

Needlepoint 

Use Kreinik 1/16" Ribbon in tent stitch on 18-count needlepoint canvasThe draw of stitching with a ribbon is the flat texture. When used in needlepoint, a metallic ribbon gives you maximum light reflection. Needlepointers have found that Kreinik 1/16" Ribbon gives great coverage in tent stitch on 18-mesh canvas, while Kreinik 1/8" Ribbon is good on larger mesh. Couching techniques use the wider 1/8" Ribbon for layered stitches. The way we make the ribbons—a woven braid, if you will—means they are flexible and move easily into any specialty stitch. 

Plastic Canvas

The flat ribbons have been used to stitch plastic canvas projects for years because they cover so beautifully and give a smooth look. Young stitchers are picking up this medium as an alternative to cross stitch fabric, and finding the need for fibers that cover the edges.  Both 1/8" Ribbon and 1/4" Ribbon work perfectly on plastic canvas.

Cross Stitch

Yes, you can cross stitch with a flat ribbon like 1/16" or 1/8" Ribbon, even on the traditional 14-count Aida (just use a larger needle). It makes an interesting border when worked in giant "X" formation. Also, as people are looking for more unusual items to stitch on, such as screens, pegboard, chairs, etc, the larger size such as 1/4" Ribbon covers nicely. The pop of color from the metallic, and the flat surface from the ribbon combines to make a stand-out design or stand out area in a cross stitch design.

Add a stitch of flat Kreinik ribbon in cross stitch for dimension

Fiber Art

As people expand their creative passions into felting, sculpture, weaving, machine embroidery, and other fiber arts, they are mixing materials to make things more interesting. There are no rules to this kind of creativity, which is exciting. They depend on a variety of textures, finding flat ribbons to be ideal companions to round yarns, stiff real metals, round hardware parts and such. It all works together to make any fiber art more dimensional. 

Use Kreinik 1/16" and 1/8" Ribbon for bodies and wings in fly tying and fly fishingFly Fishing

If you're mate's a fly fishing fan, you may have noticed them stealing some of your metallic threads for their lures. Fish love the sparkly stuff. The ribbons are used for wrapping, bodies, and wings. Shred the ends a bit to make the thread ravel (use this technique in needlework too, for interesting stitches and fuzzy texture). 

Wrap colorful Kreinik 1/4" Ribbon on your suitcase handle for an easy identifierAnd more

There are so many other uses for flat metallic ribbons, the options are truly endless. They are great in tassels, as bookmarks, as decorations in hair styles, wrapped around bouquets, luggage identifiers, and ornament hangers. The sparkle adds elegance when anywhere. They offer color, shine, a flat texture, and a 3-D touch. 

Try ribbons for your next creation, or keep some on hand for decorating emergencies. For more information:



Use Kreinik metallic ribbons in needlework and fiber art designs

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Needlework shops in Houston

As with many of you, we have been thinking and worrying about our friends and family in Houston, Texas, and surrounding areas since Hurricane Harvey began late last week. Our hopes, prayers and wishes, like yours, are for everyone to be safe, and for relief from the floodwaters to come quickly. 

The needlework industry is one big family. Stitchers, shops, designers, and teachers in the devastated area, reach out to us and your needlework friends. Our hearts break for your beautiful city, its people and pets. "It absolutely is worse than it seems," says stitcher Tara on Kreinik's Facebook page. 

We have seen many Facebook enquiries about the status of needlework shops, whether they are ok, and open. Thank you to the stitchers who have posted updates. Judy's Stitchery Nook in Harlingen was spared the worst. Chaparral plans on opening Wednesday August 30. ABC Stitch Therapy seems to be fine, but they can't get in yet (as of August 29). Past Times Needlepoint is heavily damaged. While we haven't heard from all shops, we encourage you to contact each store before venturing out—and of course don't venture out unless it is safe to do so (and keep in mind there are many road closures). These include: 

As of this posting, JoAnn's (fabric and craft stores) have notified us that the following are temporarily closed due to Hurricane Harvey:
  • 1032 - CORPUS CHRISTI, TX
  • 1102 - BEAUMONT, TX
  • 1268 - BRYAN, TX
  • 1283 - HUMBLE, TX
  • 1402 - HOUSTON, TX
  • 1418 - HOUSTON, TX
  • 1433 - HOUSTON, TX
  • 2152 - WEBSTER, TX
  • 2206 - SUGAR LAND, TX
  • 2226 - KATY, TX
  • 2292 - SPRING, TX
  • 2387 - NEW BRAUNFELS, TX
  • 2415 - HOUSTON, TX

Needlework designers

For all of our designer and teacher friends in the areas, you are in our thoughts and hearts. Check in when you are able. Kreinik will be a vendor at the upcoming Destination Dallas needlepoint market (wholesale only). We hope to see you—and hug you!—there.

Post updated 10 p.m. August 29, 2017

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How do you iron metallic threads?

Use a press cloth when ironing Kreinik metallic threadsYou finished your cross stitch or embroidery project and it looks fabulous! Except for the ring indentations left by the embroidery hoop, or creases still visible from the folded fabric. Now what? 

We want our needlework to look absolutely stunning, right? When all is stitched and done, how you treat your stitching will make a difference in how long it lasts and how good it looks. So this is an important step in any cross stitch or embroidery project. Let's take a look at the potential problems that can happen when you finish stitching, and solve one of the most frequently asked questions: how do you iron metallic threads? 

Step 1: Washing metallic threads

Kreinik metallic threads are hand and machine washableWe hope you've kept your hands clean as you stitched, and away from dust, spills and similar. Barring any spot clean-up you may have to do, you may want to wash that project any way. Unseen oil on skin, for instance, will show up in the fabric over time. The good news about your favorite metallic threads: you can hand and machine wash Kreinik metallic Braids and Ribbons. Hang to dry or tumble dry on low. 

The potential problem in washing: bleeding colors. There are some colors like red that are notoriously not colorfast. In the Kreinik thread line, colors 003L and 006HL may bleed. Stitch a test swatch and check colors in water (that applies to cotton floss too) just to make sure. 

Step 2: Ironing metallic threads

Yes, you can iron Kreinik metallic threads, BUT use a press cloth. Do not place the hot iron directly onto the metallic, as the thread will melt or shrink. Most metallic threads are synthetic, made of polyester and/or nylon, and they don't like high heat. 

What is a press cloth? 
  • a piece of muslin, cotton, or similar uncolored fabric
  • a sheet of nonstick press cloth (Kreinik carries this here)

Kreinik carries a press cloth for use with their metallic threadsPlace your needlework on the ironing surface, cover it with the press cloth, then press with your iron (large home iron or craft size iron). Reposition the cloth as needed to press your project. Do not use steam on the metallic area.

If using fabric as your press cloth, wash it first to remove any sizing, and make sure it is white, not colored. If needed and desired, dampen the fabric slightly instead of using the steam setting on your iron. The benefit of a nonstick press cloth over fabric: it will last longer and be easier to clean. Also, it's ideal for ironing other items like fusible appliques, interfacing, hem tape, etc as it will keep the adhesive from gumming up your iron.

Side note: should you place your needlework face down on your ironing surface, or face up? Basic cross stitch designs can be ironed face up (with your press cloth on top). If using dimensional stitches like French knots, however, put your needlework face down onto a towel or padded surface, cover with your press cloth (metallics are on the back of your work, too!), and press; this will keep your iron from flattening the stitches.

Get a press cloth and keep it with your cross stitch and embroidery supplies. You will always be ready to finish your beautiful project the safe way, to keep it looking fabulous for years to come. This go-betweener will protect your embroidery and threads—regardless of their content—from potential damage from an iron. 

How to store needlework the safest way possible

For more information:


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3 embroidery scissors you shouldn't live without

We have 45 years of experience with scissors here at Kreinik. We cut a lot of thread daily. Just like you, we lament when our scissors go missing, complain about dull cheap scissors, and we collect them. When it comes to cutting thread, fabric, paper or anything, the right scissor makes the job better and easier. Everyone deserves better, easier, and happier stitching. 

Early in the company, Jerry and Estelle Kreinik sold their favorite scissors alongside their metallic threads. They carried several brands over the years, more recently with Doug Kreinik bringing in the Premax line. Why this line? Well, we do love all things Italian (they are made in Premana, Northern Italy), but they are also just really really good scissors. Like, really good quality. 

We carry scissors that are most beneficial to needleworkers—needlepoint, cross stitch, knitting, crochet, weaving, quilting—and fiber artists. You can see the full range here. Among these, three stand out as if-you've-never-seen-these-you-are-going-to-love-them scissors. They are consistently the most asked-for and highest rated among needlework shops and stitchers. So check out our top three scissors you shouldn't live without:

Ring-lock Embroidery Scissors

That round circle does more than resemble a cute little bird's eye; it means that the scissors won't get loose like scissors with a screw. So technically yes, they are superior scissors, but they are also charming and unlike any other scissor out there. A sort of wavy svelte profile offering a lifetime of cutting greatness—yes, please!

10 tips to know about Premax Ring-Lock 

  1. Modern look
  2. Mirror-polished stainless steel
  3. Made in Premana, Italy
  4. Very sharp
  5. The patented "ring lock" replaces the screw, "guaranteeing smoother, more accurate cutting and longer life expectancy for the blade" (from Premax)
  6. Comes in 3 3/4" size with a short blade (Kreinik X301)
  7. Or choose 3 3/4" size available with a short, curved blade (Kreinik X302C and X304C)
  8. Or get 4 1/4" size with a longer blade (Kreinik X401, X402)
  9. Available with serrated blades* (Kreinik X401S, X402S, X301S, X302CS, X304CS)
  10. Will elicit "Where did you get these?" from your stitching friends

Double Curved Scissors

The benefit of a curved blade is simple but huge: it gets you in tight or angled places. Double curved (the blade is curved, the handle is curved) means it just helps you maneuver into your cutting spot that much more. If you've encountered an odd angle and need to cut, these are the scissors for you. They work for all kinds of stitch techniques: 
  • If you do machine sewing, a double curved scissor will help you cut close to the foot
  • If you do quilt applique, they help you get closer to your edge
  • If you do needlepoint, use them for cutting the loops in turkey work or cutting around 3-D and embellished areas
  • For Hardanger and other cutwork, they will help you cut closer and ease those odd angles
  • If you cross stitch, they make it easier to cut threads inside an embroidery hoop

5 facts about the Premax double-curved scissors

  1. Shiny; made of carbon steel, nickel plated
  2. Made in the Premana region of Northern Italy
  3. Available in large 6" size with longer blades (Kreinik X621C)
  4. Available in "embroidery" size 4 1/4" with very sharp short blades (Kreinik X423C)
  5. Also available with serrated blades (Kreinik X423CS)


Purple Haze Embroidery Scissors

This is a sharp little work-horse scissor that will meet all of your cutting needs as you sit and stitch at home or in class. The best part, however: purple handles! The regal color is as pretty as a flower and just lifts your mood. It's a classic color that will never go out of style.

6 highlights of this Premax beauty

  1. 3 1/2" very sharp scissor
  2. Handles are double coated to permit the decorative pattern, but that makes them feel soft and smooth
  3. Nickel plated carbon steel
  4. Made in Premana, Italy
  5. Available with serrated (Kreinik X308S) or non-serrated blades (X308)
  6. Will definitely cause envy in all of your friends (makes a nice gift for your closest pals)


* About serrated blades
Some recommend that you use a serrated blade for cutting metallic threads. This blade, as opposed to knife-edge, has "teeth" that hold the thread in place as you cut. Serrated blades are often used in sewing for cutting slippery fabrics; the "teeth" help grip the material during the cut. Serrated scissors from Kreinik/Premax will have an S in the item number.


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The surprising way sequins elevate your stitchery

If you're idea of sequins is more "Las Vegas" than "History Museum," we want to introduce you to Paillettes. These real-metal orbs will add elegance, classy detail, and a touch of history to your needlework designs. Far from flashy, these embellishments are about as sophisticated as you can get. Even better: they aren't expensive, and they are easy to use (easier than beads! they don't roll around!). Let's talk about paillettes, part of the Kreinik embellishment line since the 1980s.



What are these magical orbs?

Paillettes are like gold or silver sequins, but the opposite of plastic versions you're seeing in pop culture right now, such as mermaid-style pillows, glitzy wardrobes, and gypsy inspired makeup. Paillettes (pronounced "pie yetts") like these are:
  • made of real gold and real silver
  • firm, strong rather than bendable
  • flat (not cupped or bowl-like shaped)
  • found in history museums on samplers, couture fashions, textiles of the nobility and more
  • used by needleworkers today in samplers, needlepoint, stumpwork, crazy quilting, embroidery, and costume design

Why use real metal sequins in your needlework?

The point of these paillettes is that they are real metal. Use them in place of synthetics (plastic) to elevate a design, adding a level of elegance. They will add a unique texture, a visual element, and a regal look. In needlework today, stitchers use them in many ways such as:

  • borders
  • background dots
  • sampler bands
  • goldwork and real metal designs
  • to replicate things like fish scales and stars in a night sky
  • as round elements on geometric designs
  • embellish a regal themed design
  • as eyes, berries, apples or other round objects

How to attach a paillette:


  • Use your needle to pick up a paillette through its center hole
  • Use a few straight stitches or a decorative stitch to 'tack" it down: bring the needle and thread up in the center of the paillette, and back down on the outside edge of the paillette
  • Use a clear thread, a matching metallic thread or silk thread, or a contrasting metallic or silk thread, depending on the look you want
  • You can also attach a bead on top, securing the paillette beneath

Where can you get paillettes?

These embellishments come in a variety of sizes, most often in gold or silver. You can buy packages of paillettes for a few dollars. Most are sold by weight, as in 1-gram packages. Note: the larger the paillette, the fewer you will get in a package (larger weighs more), so when you order a size, check to see how many you will get. If you are working on a design, try to count or estimate how many paillettes you will need.


The frequently asked question

Will they tarnish? As with any metal, they can tarnish over time but respond well to polishing. Kreinik's paillettes are ecclesiastical grade, meaning they are treated to prevent tarnishing. Will time ruin embroidery made with paillettes? Not if the textile has been taken care of, ie, not exposed to the elements, not washed (dry clean if necessary), etc. Treat the embroidery like the valuable textile it is, made from your valuable time and creative dreams.

Have no fear about working with them. If you've been wanting to experiment with real metal threads but are intimidated or not sure where to start, start with paillettes. They are easy to use and will get you hooked on the look of real metal embellishments. Can you think of places to use them in a design you're stitching now?


For more information:

• Kreinik's gold and silver paillettes, sizes, packages: http://www.kreinik.com/shops/Paillettes/
• How to attach paillettes, from The Unbroken Thread blog: http://www.theunbrokenthread.com/blog/2011/03/18/how-to-attach-paillettes-and-beads/
• Difference between various sequins, from Janet Perry's blog: http://nuts-about-needlepoint.com/paillettes-and-sequins-whats-the-difference/


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How is Braid Made at Kreinik?



Ever wonder how we make Fine #8 Braid or Very Fine #4 Braid? Now you can get a glimpse of never-before-seen action at the Kreinik thread factory. Enjoy this behind-the-scenes video by Kyle Sams showing how Kreinik Braids are made.


Threads visualize thoughts


Every day, a group of dedicated staffers transform raw materials into your favorite metallic threads, then ship the spools and cones to stores all over the world. Thank you for using Kreinik to make your cross stitch, needlepoint, weaving, knitting, crochet, fly fishing, tatting, Temari, paper crafts, mixed media, fiber art—all techniques!—come to life.

For more information:


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Go Somewhere Between with Kreinik


Right on the heels of the season debut of Game of Thrones, in which Kreinik threads are used by costume designer Michelle Carragher, we're excited to announce that Kreinik is behind another exciting tv venture! Well, sort of... Pardon us while we brag a little bit.

Danielle Kreinik—daughter of company owner Doug Kreinik, granddaughter of founders Jerry and Estelle Kreinik, past part-time helper, and always creative input-er—is co-producer of ABC's new summer series "Somewhere Between." The show premieres this coming Monday night, July 24, 2017; check your local ABC channel for time.

Danielle Kreinik worked as a developer on the new ABC show Somewhere Between


ABC describes the drama/thriller show this way: "Paula Patton stars as Laura Price, a local news producer in San Francisco helping the police to hunt down a serial killer. After the killer strikes close to home, a twist of fate allows a "Groundhog Day"-type reset, and Laura relives the week prior to the string of murders. Unlike "Groundhog Day," she only has one chance. Can she change fate and stop the killer?"

After growing up surrounded by threads, textiles, and artists, Danielle earned her degree in Opera from Indiana University, and then moved to Los Angeles. She has worked as an actress, script reviewer, developer and producer. From idea to development and then production, Danielle has been working on this show for some time, so it is exciting to see it come to the screen for everyone to watch. Danielle actually found out that the series was picked up by ABC on the day her son was born. Our Kreinik baby is growing and smiling and charming the world, and the show is finally premiering too.

So pardon our bragging as we invite you to tune in to the show or share with friends who may be interested. For more information:






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How to use Kreinik Ombre™ 


Kreinik Ombre is an 8-ply softtly twisted metallic threadIn your Year of Becoming A Kreinik Thread Expert, it's time to learn about this unique thread: Kreinik Ombre™. You can use it in needlepoint, samplers, weaving, knitting, crochet, embroidery, cord making, Temari and bobbin work, among other techniques. It's a loosely twisted metallic designed to give a loosely woven effect in needlework. The core color range is variegated, going along with the origin of the word, which gives you interesting color effects. 

The word "ombre" in general refers to the gradual blending of one color hue to another. The color effect is popular in hair styles right now, as well as fashion (skirts, shirts, handbags), home decor (pillows, window treatments), and even nail polish.

In needlework, the Kreinik thread Ombre is best used in specialty stitches such as Satin Stitch, Herringbone, and others that show off the loose twist and the variegated color. It was one of the first non-Braid threads Kreinik made back in the company's early days, and was particularly popular when machine knitting was in vogue. Since the unique texture of Ombre became so useful to stitchers for creating various effects, the Kreinik family started making it solid colors as well as variegated. 

Kreinik Ombre is a super soft metallic perfect for adding light to weaving projectsOmbre offers you a unique thread with elegance and texture. Get at least one solid color (we love 3200 Pearl for snow and 2000 Gold or 1000 Silver for Christmas) and one variegated color (1600 Misty Lavender is popular) to start experimenting in your projects. Read on to learn more.


What is Kreinik Ombre?

  • An 8-ply softly twisted metallic thread
  • In nine variegated colors
  • Also in four solid colors (Gold, Silver, Pearl, Copper)
  • Comes on 15-meter spools or larger cones (by special order)
  • Mmost often used in needlepoint, bobbin work, counted thread (samplers), card making, knitting, weaving, embroidery, Temari, cord making
  • For an interesting look in cross stitch, use Ombre for French Knots — they'll be fluffier
  • Iit is meant to be used straight off the spool, as it comes, not separated

Kreinik Ombre's variegated metallic is perfect in digitized embroidery (bobbin work)

Why would you want a loose twist?

  • It creates a stitch that "lifts" off the surface of your canvas/fabric, creating added loft, texture, and dimension.
  • In knitting and crochet, it gives you a metallic look but in a super-soft thread. It is one of the softest metallics you'll ever feel.
  • In needlepoint and counted thread, it gives you a unique, fluffy texture—imagine snow drifts, jacquard fabrics, and other "risen" effects.
Use Kreinik Ombre in 3200 Pearl for snow drifts in needlepoint

Why would you want a metallic?

  • Adds elegance
  • Makes a design look more expensive
  • Adds light reflection
  • Adds a different texture
  • For visual interest
Use Kreinik Ombre as a carry along in knitting for a soft variegated metallic

How to use Ombre:

  • In hand stitchery, use it straight off the reel, with a #22 Tapestry needle or a #18 Chenille needle; longer or decorative stitches are best for showing off the fuzzy texture or variegated color.
  • In crochet and knitting, use it as a carry along to dress up alpaca, cotton, wool, silk or any yarn.
  • In bobbin work, use a coordinated color of #60 or #80 cotton, mono, or rayon thread in the top; makes lovely raised, nubby effects in particular with zig zag and decorative stitches—lengthen stitch length slightly. Lovely in digitized embroidery designs or programmed machine stitches (looks like you have stitched with glitter). 
Kreinik Ombre looks great in programmed machine stitches

For more information:


Free Spring Frost Crochet Scarf pattern using Kreinik Ombre

Share how you use Kreinik Ombre in your projects. We'd love to hear and see!


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We're closed!


But only for a week! The Kreinik factory is closed this week for our annual summer holiday so that staff can spend quality time with family and friends. That means no shipping, thread making, or shopping at the factory outlet store this week. There may even be a delay in responding to emails. Boo...sounds sad! But there's good news...

Back July 10


We'll be back Monday, July 10, 2017.  See you then! Keep stitching and creating. Now is a great time to get organized for holiday stitching, make lists of the Kreinik threads you need, find a needlework store to visit, or simply enjoy making things during the long summer days. We'd love to hear about your summer projects when we get back.

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An embroidery adventure that ends with a wedding


Embroidered dress panel courtesy of Elizabeth Braun
Have you ever been asked—or taken upon yourself, as your own idea—to do an important piece of needlework, one of significance, maybe even historical or memorable importance? As stitchers, we may have a talent unique among our communities, or we have friends who know the value of our handwork and want a memento from us (as someone would want a painting, quilt, or piece of furniture).

What if the embroidery request challenged your skills by encompassing something you've never done? Whether you jump right in or struggle with your confidence as you start, a commission or special project is worth it. Blogger and stitcher Elizabeth Braun (http://sew-in-love.blogspot.com/) worked on such a project, making an embroidered panel for a friend's wedding dress. It's an embroidery adventure full of meaning, love, and embroidery tips to which we can all relate. Read on as we interview Elizabeth about the project.

Beautiful Bride courtesy of Leonard Adjei for Benkowsky Photography, Accra, Ghana

Stitchery on clothing, with a twist


Q: We describe this project as an "embroidery adventure." Have you ever done anything like this before?

Embroidered dress panel courtesy of Elizabeth BraunELIZABETH: No, this was a completely new type of piece for me. I’d made a ring cushion before, but never done anything so much part of an important occasion as this. Also, it was my first piece of what one could call ‘couture embroidery’ as the only stitchery I’ve done on clothes before has been a few basic flowers on baby knitting projects. The other firsts for me were working on fine netting and using water soluble stabilizer. So, yes, ‘an embroidery adventure’ is a good name for it!

Outlining Panel, photo courtesy of Janet Wellock, Halifax, EnglandQ: How did the project come about? Why did the bride want an embroidery panel?

ELIZABETH: My young friend, Lauren had been living in Ghana for a couple of years and was to
marry a local man in December. She bought a beautiful dress, but, in her words “the scoop at the back is too low, especially for Ghanaian culture (a woman’s back is considered XXX in Ghana!!!). So my mum is going to take some netting off the bottom and insert a panel in the top. We have got some silver jewels and cream beads to be sewn sparsely onto the panel in some kind of design to make it match. But it won’t need to be too complex because it’s actually going to be mostly under my hair…. Mainly for if my hair swooshes, everybody doesn’t gasp with shock!” She asked for “just something matching-ish” as the dress proper was fairly heavily embroidered and embellished, and said that “anything is a bonus on bare netting.”

Even though it was never really meant to be seen, I wanted to make it as good as I possibly could, especially as I’d always been fond of Lauren and so loved the idea of doing something like this for her. Also, I’m a bit of a perfectionist and couldn’t really work with the idea of ‘just anything’. Oddly enough, I’d find that harder to achieve than a very precise design brief!

Challenge accepted: metallic threads on netting


Q: Which Kreinik threads did you use? 
Embroidered dress panel courtesy of Elizabeth Braun

ELIZABETH: Japan threads in 001 (silver) matched the embroidery on the dress proper perfectly, especially the #7 thread which I used for most of the silver work – couched down with #1, as were the smaller lengths of #5 that lent themselves well to the detail in the larger flower centres.

Q; What were the challenges—and solutions—to working on netting? 

ELIZABETH: Anyone who is used to working on loosely woven linen will have an idea of the difficulties involved. The netting was just a grid of tiny, cream hexagons and getting any sort of detail on it would have been almost impossible without stabilizer. Of course, unlike with something like linen, I couldn’t just back it with muslin or calico as the whole of that part of the dress was just embroidered net, so I used water soluble film to keep the whole thing straight in the working hoop and to allow enough stitches to be put in to make the shapes solid and stable enough.
Embroidered dress panel courtesy of Elizabeth Braun
Stitching on this film was a little bit like embellishing a thin, plastic raincoat, it was rather an odd texture to work on! Once I had the design traced onto the net, (another challenge – getting enough ink on to the fine filaments of the netting so as to be able to see them clearly enough to work with), I mounted them both into a 10” hoop, keeping the stabilizer film fairly taut, but the net at its natural level of stretch bearing in mind the needs of the ‘end user’. Couching down the silver threads on net posed an extra problem as I needed to be sure to make each couching stitch cross one of the net filaments in order for the silver lines to be properly attached to the net. It would have been all too easy to have them hanging off in places.

Embroidered dress panel courtesy of Elizabeth Braun
Once the embroidery was complete, the stabilizer had to be removed. Thankfully, I’d done a couple of samples as part of the design process and had learned how to (and how not to) remove it thoroughly. This part was scary! I needed to snip away the film fairly close to the motifs so as to leave relatively little to get stuck in the silk satin stitches. If you leave any behind, the motifs are really sticky and then dry encrusted - hard and scratchy, so I wanted to minimize the risk of this. I was really scared of snipping one of the net threads and ruining the whole piece! Mercifully, that didn’t happen, but I did need to rinse the panel twice and then flatten it thoroughly as the Japan threads twist a lot when they get wet. (They dry much flatter though.)

Embroidered dress panel courtesy of Elizabeth Braun

Many of us share a similar start to our needlework lives


Q: Where, how, or when did you get started doing embroidery? 

ELIZABETH:  I did some small projects as a child, but got into embroidery as an adult when I was home with CFS back in 2002-2005. I needed something to do that would stop me feeling sorry for myself and, as I gave most of the things I made to friends, it also helped me to reduce the feelings of isolation so common with long-term conditions. A Taiwanese friend had arranged for her cross stitch magazine subscriptions to come via me after she went back, so I looked through some of them and decided to give it a go myself. It all started there and I’ve learned multiple techniques over the 15 years since then.

Q: What projects are you working on now? 

ELIZABETH: Embroidery-wise at the moment I have a large cross stitch picture that I’ll be making up into a sofa scatter cushion/pillow in slow progress and I have another two projects hooped up to start – a rose thread painting and a meadow scene freestyle. Nothing with metallics at the moment, but I do use them in as many project as I can, because I just love the effect they give.

Other than these, I’m busy knitting for the babies that are expected in my group of friends this summer and also making a start on knitting and sewing my own clothes for next winter. I need pretty much all new things and I want clothes that fit and that I actually love, so I’m going to do it myself. One or two will feature embroidery.

Be inspired by this unique, meaningful, endearing project, whether you work on it solo or with a group (the Royal School of Needlework worked on Kate Middleton's dress, and three dozen seamstresses worked on Grace Kelly's wedding dress!). Read more about Elizabeth's adventures in sewing and stitching on her blog: http://sew-in-love.blogspot.com/

Photo credits:
All the photos are copyright to Elizabeth Braun of Sew in Love Stitch Art, except the photo of tracing the panel (called ‘outlining panel’) which is courtesy of Janet Wellock, Halifax, England (i.e. the bride’s mum) and the photo of the beautiful bride one which is courtesy of Leonard Adjei for Benkowsky Photography, Accra, Ghana.  All used by permission.



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How are shoelaces made at Kreinik?

Kyle Sams created this fun video showing behind-the-scenes action at the Kreinik thread factory. Watch how we make shoelaces out of your favorite Kreinik threads.

Why shoelaces?

We make dressy silk shoelaces, plus more casual-but-fun metallic or glow-ine-the-dark shoelaces. The shoelace project came about as a way to raise money for suicide prevention programs. The project has since grown into a fun movement of sharing a spot of color and cheer in every day life – celebrating team or school colors, wearing colors associated with a meaningful cause, and group/community fundraisers. Kreinik's "accessories with purpose" line now includes lanyards, eyeglass strings, and the new Keysters™.

All CAKS products come in a core selection of the most popular colors, including several glow-in-the-dark shades. You can also have custom color combinations created for a team or group. Contact Kreinik for details.

For more information:


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The easiest way to make prettier stitches


The act of stitching is creative and fun, with each project like a textile coloring book. There's one
thing that can get in the way of the gorgeousness you are creating: sloppy stitches. Some stitchers strive for perfection, some don't want that kind of stress on their favorite hobby—but all want their needlework to look good. Let's talk about how to make prettier stitches happen easily.

The easiest way to make prettier stitches is to make sure your threads lie beautifully on your fabric or canvas. Sounds simple, right? That means a few things, such as:
  1. If using stranded floss—ie, more than one strand of a fiber—stitch slowly, intentionally, and stroke your threads to make them lie parallel. This gives a smooth finish.
  2. If doing specialty stitches—like lazy daisy stitch, satin stitch, chain stitch, etc—stitch slowly, intentionally, and position your threads to make sure they don't twist or misbehave as you complete your stitch. 

It's all about position and stroking

There are two ideal ways to 'stroke' your thread, which encourages the material to straighten out, lay flat, and give maximum light exposure or even texture for more beautiful stitches. Both ways can also be used to help "position" your stitches. It takes seconds to do, and will become second nature to you with practice. The habit is worth developing.
  1. Use a laying tool—details below, but in a nutshell, they work in tandem with your stitching hand to lay the threads right where, when, and how you want them.
  2. Use your finger or your needle—a laying tool is going to be more precise, but in a pinch use your finger or your stitching needle to keep the fibers in good shape as you complete each stitch

Basic, inexpensive laying tools to try

Needleworkers have used laying tools for centuries. Just as a good pair of scissors makes cutting the best it can be, a laying tool makes laying your stitches the best it can be. It may take practice to get used to using one, but you will love the results. Try these popular and inexpensive laying tool options to get started:
  • Bent Weaver's Needle: While commonly used for weaving, this large. blunt-point needle with a bent end is super helpful for stroking threads, fits easily in your needle case, and is cheap ($0.99!). 
  • Two-Eye Bodkin: This age-old tool us primarily used for drawing cording through things like hems, or even as a hair pin for fastening 'dos. Needleworkers find the edge useful for stroking threads. At only $0.99 get one for your needle case and one for your clothes closet (helpful for pulling cords that have retreated back into those hoodies or sweatpants). 
  • Trolley Needle: This medieval-looking, Edward Needlehands kind of appendage fits right on your finger so that your laying tool is always nearby, ready to tackle wayward stitches. It's a few dollars more than the previous two suggestions, but very convenient. Once you start using one, you'll love it. Trolley needles are very popular among stitchers.

For more information



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Finding The Best Cross Stitch Scissors

For you today we've got a post from Lord Libidan talking about embroidery scissors:

Last month I attended a conference in London and met up with a few cross stitching friends. As always we spoke about who had the newest Kreinik threads, and the newest tools. However as I sat there I realised, time after time, no one ever got their scissors out. Now whilst there isn't any new scissor technology out there, when I started asking about my friend's they all complained of painful handles, hard to use, or going blunt. However, with a wealth of cross stitch and embroidery scissor types out there, there is no reason to have that old worn out blunt pair in your kit. Today, we're going to talk about scissors.

 

Gold Stork Embroidery Scissors

No embroidery scissors post would be complete without at least mentioning the gold stork. These are the most likely to be in your kit, however their shape isn't actually meant to for use. Back in the 16th century scissors in England were classed as decorative items, and those who owned golden stalk scissors would NEVER pick them up. AS a result, they aren't that good to stitch in.

 

Premax Carnival Embroidery Scissors

You may also have a pair of straight, non decorative scissors in your kit. However these Premax painted embroidery scissors combine both worlds, giving you a very usable pair that's also super decorative.


 

Ringlock Embroidery Scissors

But like many pairs of scissors, sometimes the average just isn't working for you. These scissors however try to address all the issues you might have. Stainless steel construct means they don't go blunt, the large finger holes mean they're easy to grip, and their ringlock system means you never have to tighten them.

 

Weaver's Scissors

The most common problem though, by far is getting to grip with the scissors themselves. No finger holes ever seem to work correctly, and don't get me started with left and right pairs. Weaver's scissors were the modern alternative. In reality these were the style of the first scissors, easy to grip on the sides, with a small sharp edge, which can be easily changed if required. Whilst they're great to hold however, they can be a little hard to control, meaning you might chop something you didn't mean to.

 

Curved Clamp Embroidery Scissors

So Premax came up with an alternative. A slightly thinner, lighter pair work by using negative force. They also contain a curved blade to allow better control. They're made from stainless steel too, so won't go blunt, and due to their design won't need tightening. Of every pair I tried in the course of making this post, these definitely seemed like the most advanced, clearly crafted just for this purpose.
I thought this post would end there, however a friend of mine heard about what I was doing and sent me a pair of these:


 

Double Curved Sewing Machine Scissors

At first I didn't really get it, why would a pair specifically made for sewing machines help me? But then I tried them. They allow you to snip threads in a cross stitch frame like a dream, and they just work so well with the curved blades. Sure, they'll need tightening, and they aren't the easiest pair to get your head around initially, but maybe sometimes you should try something a little out of the box, because these scissors are a dream.

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