Floss review: Kreinik blending filament

This is the first in a series of discussions about particular floss types and brands and how to use them. Thank you Caroline Wang for suggesting this series of articles.

Kreinik Blending Filament, in package.
Kreinik Blending Filament, in package.

What is it?

Kreinik (pronounced Cry-Nick) Blending Filament is a very thin tinsel-like thread that adds a subtle sparkle to your stitching.  It is composed of a polyester metallic-looking thread wrapped around a nylon core and is sold in 50 metre (55 yard) spools. Blending filament is designed to give a subtle sparkle to your work.

Kreinik Blending filament thread as it comes off the spool.
Kreinik Blending filament thread as it comes off the spool.

Blending filaments come in different styles: Basic, Hi Lustre, Vintage and Holographic.

If you store your spools standing up, you can easily see all the information you need on the end cap.  An aqua label means that is a blending filament.  006 is blue, so 006 – Blue, 006HL – Blue Hi Lustre.

History

This was the first metallic thread available to cross stitch designers.  It was first sold in the 1970s and early 1980s as Balger (pronounced Ball-Zhay). When the Kreinik manufacturing company rebranded under the family name in the 1980s, the floss was renamed Kreinik Blending Thread.

You can sometimes tell the age of a chart because it refers to Balger instead of Kreinik.

Original Balger packaging
Original Balger packaging

How to Use

Kreinik Blending Filament is a blending thread designed to be used with cotton floss to add a random subtle sparkles to your stitching.  Here are a few different ways you can use Kreinik Blending Filament. Please note that I used a much darker Blending Filament than normal.  Usually the BF is the same colour as the floss.  In these examples, I wanted you to see where the filament thread was in comparison to the cotton thread.  Usually you don’t see the BF at all, just the glints.

One cotton thread and one blending filament

One cotton thread, one BF thread
One cotton thread, one BF thread

On the left is a square stitched in straight DMC cotton, one strand.

In the middle is a square stitched with both one strand of cotton and one strand of blending filament in the same needle.  This gives a haphazard look and the sparkles are randomized.

On the right is a square stitched in one thread of cotton.  I have then threaded the needle with the blending filament and stitched over the top stitch again.  Yes, my top stitches go ///  This provides more sparkles, but also a more uniform look.

Two cotton threads and one blending filament

Two cotton threads, one BF thread
Two cotton threads, one BF thread

On the left is our control square of DMC cotton, two strands.

The middle square is stitched with both two strands of cotton and one strand of blending filament in the same needle.  This again, gives a more haphazard, almost messy look, and less sparkles than the above example.  Most of the blending filament that is under the top stitched cotton cannot be seen.

Our right square is stitched with two strands of DMC and then one strand of blending filament has been stitched across the top in the direction of the top stitch.  This gives a uniform effect and much more sparkles than the middle square. The two cottons underneath give a padded look, an extra layer of colour and dimension.

Blending filament only

BF threads only
BF threads only

One the left is one strand of blending filament only. Lots of sparkle, but no depth and the ground fabric can clearly be seen straight through it.

On the right are two threads of blending filament only. This provides the most sparkle that you can get from using blending filament.  However it loses the added depth from the cotton colour.  Use this one when you want BLING!

In conclusion

Decide whether you want lots of bling, some sparkle or the occasional teasing glint, and then stitch accordingly.

How to Open the Spool

As stated on the Kreinik webpage

Both sides of the spool open, so look for the side where the thread end is located. Insert your thumbnail under the cap, and rotate the spool while gently lifting the cap to release the thread (the cap should not pop off). Snap the lid shut to secure the unused portion.

How to open the spool to find the end of the floss
How to open the spool to find the end of the floss

Precautions

Metallic threads are not as robust as natural fibres, so there are some things to take into account when stitching with them.

Separating

Kreinik Blending Filament is composed of a polyester metallic-looking thread wrapped around a nylon core. Through use, these can easily separate.

Kreinik BF Unwrapped
Kreinik BF Unwrapped

To counter this, Kreinik recommends stitching with short floss lengths, or knotting the thread to the needle using a modification of the loop start.

Kreinik BF - Secured by loop

After stitching you just need to snip off the knot from your needle.

Kreinik Blending Filament - Loop at needles eye
Kreinik Blending Filament – Loop at needle’s eye

You can also carefully strip away the nylon core and deliberately stitch with only the polyester fibre.  This is much weaker than the original, so you need to use extra care or the metallic will stretch and break.

Slipping

Stitching with both cotton and metallic filament in the same needle is can be a little tricky.  As the blending filament is quite slippery, it is difficult to keep up an even tension.

Slippage between cotton threads and blending filament
Slippage between cotton threads and blending filament

Kreinik recommends slightly dampening the cotton and blending filaments together so they will slightly stick.

Unless you deliberately want a haphazard look, I recommend  to stitch the areas twice, once with cotton and then again over the top stitch with the blending floss.  For me it is quicker and easier than trying to maintain tension when stitching together.

Needles

metallic threads can hard on needles, burring the inside of the eye.  after you have stitched with a metallic, keep that needle for only other metallic threads.  The burring on the inside of the eye can shred cottons and soft silks.

My Experience

Julie Dollery – “When I began using Balger blending filaments in the late 80s they were very much the only choice available. Although they provided a hint of sparkle, their tendency to flay and separate from their carrying thread made their use a challenge for a beginner.

Kreinik Blending Thread Photo and Stitching courtesy of Julie Dollery.
Kreinik Blending Thread
Photo and Stitching courtesy of Julie Dollery.
Kreinik Blending Thread Photo and Stitching courtesy of Julie Dollery.
Kreinik Blending Thread
Photo and Stitching courtesy of Julie Dollery.

Michele Anderson

Kreinik Blending Thread Photo and Stitching courtesy of Michele Anderson.
Kreinik Blending Thread
Photo and Stitching courtesy of Michele Anderson.

Acknowledgements:

My thanks to the Kreinik Manufacturing Co pages for much of the source material used in this article:

About Balger

Kreinik Blending Filament Threading Technique

 Secrets of Blending Filament revealed!

Uses and Care For Kreinik Blending Filament

Places to Buy

Kreinik Blending Filament has been around under various names since the 1970s.  It should be available in most Local Needlework Shops.  It is definitely available is those listed below.

Australia:

Colours Down Under, in Perth WA.

Colour Cascade Fabrics Tammy offers a 15% discount for readers of this site. Code is: CSReview. Offer ends 27 February 2015.

Europe:

Casa Cenina in Italy.

United Kingdom:

SewandSo in Stroud.

United States:

123Stitch in Utah.

Stitches n Things in Michigan.

Discussion

What are your thoughts on Kreinik Blending Filament? Have you ever used it? Is it your preferred metallic? What would you like my next article to be about?

If you liked the review, please share it with your friends.

Last Updated: 10 January 2015

For Amelia by Dimples Designs

For today’s Throwback Thursday, I thought I would revisit another of my favourite designers, Terrence Nolan of Dimples Designs.

Dimples - For Amelia

What is it?

Dimples Designs is long gone now, but a few of Terrence’s fabulous charts are still available, including For Amelia, Wherever she may go. This design is a pair of butterflies inside a glass Faberge-style egg. The egg is stitched normally, but the but the butterflies are stitched in silk in tiny 1 over 1 stitches.

Why this chart?

Under both of his business names Pangea and Dimples Designs, Terrence released  many series of charts and a number of beautiful pieces. Many of his designs are incredibly detailed and amazing in their use of colour and texture. So many designs of insects, birds and sea shells.  My favourite three series are:

  • Russian Imperial Eggs
  • Professor Fizzby’s Wonderous Strange Collection of Wee Beasties
  • The Secret Life of Snow

Google them or view this blog page for pictures of these long out of date and hard to find charts. As so many of his designs are hard to find and incredibly coveted, I’m featuring For Amelia as today’s review because it is one of the few you can still easily buy.

Due to the varieties of silk and metallic floss, beads, combination of over one and over two stitching and speciality stitches, I would recommend this design for an intermediate to advanced stitcher. Terrence uses three different thicknesses of Kreinik metallics in this design.  But like all projects, if you have the enthusiasm and passion for this chart, you will stitch it regardless of your experience levels.

For Amelia, Wherever She May Go was first published in 2000 and is still in print. Dimples Designs were only ever released in print or kit form.

For Amelia, Wherever She May Go
For Amelia, Wherever She May Go

 Review

Terrence Nolan’s care and detail in creating his artworks also extended to the creation of his chart packs.

The For Amelia chart consists of 14 pages:

  • the front cover page including a pasted on photograph of the completed stitched work
  • three pages of chart for the egg-shell including directions and a marker for where to match up the shell and butterflies, and a complete list of stitching instructions including which parts of the design to stitch in which order and instructions for the speciality stitches
  • two page chart for the butterflies
  • one full-page chart of the egg and base with only the backstitching to be done in one colour
  • one full-page chart of the egg and base with only the backstitching to be done in the next colour
  • four  full-page charts of the butterflies, each only including the backstitch for that individual colour
  • one page of diagrams for the speciality stitches, Rhodes Hearts and Algerian Eyelets
  • Back cover listing the floss needed and the floss key.

I have not seen another designer include that many copies of a chart with just the sections to be stitched or backstitched highlighted.  These are included in the pack in the order in which they are to be stitched.  I wish more designers who use multicoloured backstitching used this approach.

My copy of the chart is printed in off white/light grey paper. The chart symbols are differentiated enough that you can easily see which floss or metallic to use where. I find the chart for stitching the butterflies a touch on the small side, but that may be because I’m used to enlarging all charts on my tablet now.  Also there is no overlap pages between the sheets of the main charts, so count carefully.

 Materials Required

To stitch the chart exactly as designed, you will need:

1 spoon each Kreinik Blending Filaments:  002HL, 003, 006HL, 007HL, 012, 012HL, 024, 024HL, 029, 032, 051HL

1 Spool each Kreinik #4 Very Fine Braid: 001HL, 032, 202HL, 9294

1 Spool each Kreinik #8 Fine Braid: 071, 101

1 skein each Kreinik Silk Mori: 1032, 1033, 1054, 1055, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2024, 2026, 2032, 2063, 2066, 7135

1 packet each Delica Beads 501 and 541 (formerly 502)

Glenshee – 29 count Light Pansy Linen (stitch count 83 x 113). This design can only be stitched on evenweave or linen due to the over sections.

For 28ct evenweave (with 3″ border allowance) fabric size is:
12″ x 14¼″  or  31 x 36cm  or  a fat eighth (13 x 18″).

Approximate cost for Project

Approximate cost to stitch For Amelia, Wherever She May Be using the recommended materials (prices are in $US, at recommended retail and do  not include postage):

Chart: $10.00
Floss:  $ 74.85
Fabric: $9.50

Total: $94.35   ($153.80AUD or €136.60  or  £113.59)

Places to Buy

This chart can be ordered from Hoffmans via your nearest friendly Local Needlework Store or Online Needlework Store.

Australia:

Colours Down Under has all the Kreinik metallic threads in stock and would be happy to order in the chart. Jo offers a 10% discount on the package (chart + floss). Mention this review when ordering.

Colour Cascade Fabrics stocks the Kreinik metallic threads and has a variety of fabrics suitable for this design. Tammy offers a 15% discount for readers of this site. Code is: CSReview. Offer ends 6 December 2014.

Europe:

Casa Cenina in Spain stocks the Kreinik metallic threads, the Myuki Delica Beads and has a variety of fabrics suitable for this design

United Kingdom:

SewandSo can kit up this entire design for you (using alternates for the the beads and fabric).

Chromatic Alchemy  “I love ‘For Amelia’ on Halcyon”.

Sparklies recommends Slightly Scarlet or Slightly Violet from her range of fabrics.

United States:

123Stitch stocks the chart, all metallic and silk floss and  has a variety of fabrics suitable for this design..

Discussion

Did you know of Dimples Designs before today? do you have any of Terrence’s charts or kits languishing in your stash?  After looking through your stash, or image googling, which design appeals to you the most?  Please comment, I’m interested!

Feedback

Did you like this review? Did it contain all the expected information? Is there anything you would like added or removed from the reviews? Do you know of a particular chart or designer you want to see featured here? If so, please head to the Suggestions page and let me know.

Was this read worth a cup of coffee?

 

Last Updated: 13 November 2014