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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June class at the Kreinik Factory Outlet

Feel like you're in a rut, like you need to jump-start your creativity? Or maybe you just want to stretch your imagination, zone out from daily stresses, and make something colorful with your hands? Perhaps you're looking for a summer Saturday activity for friends, mom-and-me, a club or community group. If so, we have great news!

We are adding creative, fun classes to our First Saturdays at the Kreinik Factory Outlet Store in Parkersburg, West Virginia. The store is open from 10 am to 2 pm the first Saturday of every month (unless noted, like here). Now you can add playtime to the day, have a chance to experiment with Kreinik threads, try new materials, and make something useful or give as a gift. The next class is June 3. Read on for details.

Make a magnetic fabric embellished frame with crystals, threads and moreNext class: Magnetic Fabric Embellished Frames

Create magnetic photo frames using fabric, tape, iron-on thread and other embellishments. A variety of fabrics and embellishments will be available to create your own unique frames—one-of-a-kind, just like you. Class is limited to 10 students. Sign up to reserve your spot.

You will learn how to apply iron-on threads and hot-fix crystals. You will also learn how to use Treasure Tape and glass beads to create a unique look.

Also coming to the Kreinik Factory Outlet Store

Kreinik is a stop on the fun 2017 Collective Stitch Shop Hop adventure
Are you up for a Cross Stitch Adventure? We are a stop on this year's Collective Stitch Shop Hop! It is a cross stitch project combined with a shop-hop, treasure hunt, and mystery stitch along. Participating shops will each have a chart designed by a different designer. Visit the shops, collect the charts, and stitch them all together to create an amazing, unique project. Kreinik's special design is by Angela Pullen Atherton and features Kreinik silk and metallic threads (of course!). The shop hop runs June 1 through August 31, 2017. So make your shopping lists, gather your friends, and get ready to visit some terrific needlework stores. 

Details on the shop hop here.

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Why ironing is the best thing since sliced bread

Kreinik Iron On Metallic Threads can be used on paper, wood, fabric.With today's resurgence in Home Arts—thanks to magical books about tidying up plus entertaining new decorating shows on tv—it's time to start ironing again! Oh, don't groan. This kind of ironing is fun, doesn't require standing, and there's no steam involved. Just use that lonely iron for good, for creativity, for all that is good in the world: to embellish gifts, decor, anything really, with iron-on metallic threads.

We know you like to make things, so these threads may be an exciting new fiber to play with when you're doodling, coloring, looking up projects on Pinterest and such. They are so easy to use, and you can use them anywhere (even on your coloring books). Here are all the details.

What are iron-on metallic threads?

  • A thread line made by Kreinik in West Virginia
  • The fiber contains heat-activated adhesive—not sticky to the touch, but will stick to a surface when ironed
  • Available in Kreinik Medium #16 Braid (a round thread) and 1/8" Ribbon (a flat thread).
  • Available in metallic and glow-in-the-dark colors. See the choices here: http://www.kreinik.com/shops/Iron-On-Threads/

Kreinik metallic iron-on threads are perfect for decorating paper projects
Use Kreinik iron-on metallic threads on fabric and quilts

What's so great about them?

  • No skill required
  • No sewing, stitching, counting, charting required
  • As long as you're old enough to use a hot iron, you can use these threads (great for kids' summer crafts)
  • Decorate scrapbooks, cards, signs, coloring books, tags, mail, mixed media, any paper (they make store-bought cards look high end)
  • Embellish quilts, graduation caps, jeans, pillows, costumes, fiber art, any fabric (perfect for putting names on Christmas stockings)
  • Make it look like you embroidered on birdhouses, ornaments, chalkboards, picture frames, or any wooden/hard surface (Get ready to hear, "How did you do that?")
  • There's no right or wrong side to them, no "front" or "back" (twist, turn to your heart's desire)

Kreinik iron-on metallic threads are easy to use and pretty on paper 

Kreinik Adhesive Press Cloth makes your craft iron non-stick (keep it clean!)

What else do you need to know?

  • You can finally use that mini craft iron you bought years ago! 
  • If your home iron or craft iron doesn't have a non-stick plate, put one of these on it: Kreinik's Adhesive Press Cloth. It will keep your iron clean. See how it works: http://www.kreinik.com/shops/VIDEO-Adhesive-Press-Cloth.html
  • You can wash clothes decorated with iron-on threads (by hand preferred, or on Gentle) but after a few washings they may pop off. To secure, just couch them down. 


How to get started?



Personalizing your home and gifts is more popular than ever. No one wants to look exactly the same as everyone else. These iron-on threads offer a quick and clever way to leave your mark—a sparkling, metallic or glow-in-the-dark mark—to brighten your corner of the world. 


Kreinik iron-on metallic threads can embellish any hard surface
Kreinik metallic iron-on threads are ideal for quilts and wall hangings

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Sale this week at the Kreinik Factory Outlet Store

We know it's not your usual hot destination spot—Parkersburg, West Virginia, that is—but it is home to the Kreinik thread factory. Find it on the map and make your way to 1708 Gihon Road tomorrow through Saturday, May 10-13, for "wild and wonderful" outlet store sale. 

We have metallic thread, silk thread, even some cotton thread, plus fabrics, accessories, and all kinds of fun, creative supplies. It's a big Kreinik yard sale, meaning you get great deals on materials you can use in any creative technique.

As a special bonus, bring a copy of this coupon (spend $100 and get a free color card). This offer applies in person only; no online, mail order or phone-in orders.

Hours this week at 1708 Gihon Road, Parkersburg, West Virginia 26101 USA:
  • May 10, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • May 11, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • May 12, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • May 13, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

What about the rest of 2017?

This week we open our parking lot to visitors from everywhere for one of two big sales events this year. Our store is generally open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the first Saturday of each month. Open times may vary due to circumstances, however, so it's always best to call ahead: 1-800-537-2166 or email info@kreinik.com
  • JUNE: Open Saturday, June 3, plus our normal weekday hours
  • JULY: Closed July 1-8 for summer break. Open the remainder of the month during our normal weekday hours
  • AUGUST: Open Saturday, August 5, plus our normal weekday hours
  • SEPTEMBER: Closed Saturday, September 2 and Monday, September 4 for Labor Day holiday. Open the remainder of the month during our normal weekday hours
  • OCTOBER: Open for special tent sale event October 4 - 7, and the remainder of the month during our normal weekday hours
  • NOVEMBER: Open Saturday November 4, plus our normal weekday hours. Closed November 23 and 24 for Thanksgiving holiday.
  • DECEMBER: Open Saturday, December 2, plus our normal week day hours. Closed December 25-January 1 for holiday break.

Collective Stitch Shop Hop June 1-August 31


The Kreinik Factory Outlet Store is one of the stops on the 2017 Collective Stitch Cross Stitch Event, a shop hop running June 1 through August 31. For all the fun details, visit www.facebook.com/collectivestitch.

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