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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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!
Decide whether you want lots of bling, some sparkle or the occasional teasing glint, and then stitch accordingly.
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.
Metallic threads are not as robust as natural fibres, so there are some things to take into account when stitching with them.
Kreinik Blending Filament is composed of a polyester metallic-looking thread wrapped around a nylon core. Through use, these can easily separate.
To counter this, Kreinik recommends stitching with short floss lengths, or knotting the thread to the needle using a modification of the loop start.
After stitching you just need to snip off the knot from your needle.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
My thanks to the Kreinik Manufacturing Co pages for much of the source material used in this article:
There are many different ways of hand dyeing embroidery floss. Broadly speaking these techniques fall into two categories:
Vat Dyeing – the skeins or hanks of floss are immersed or dipped into a container of liquid dye
Space Dyeing – where coloured dyes are placed along different parts of the floss skein or hank.
Vat Dyeing is where you make up a liquid solution of pigment or dye, and then you dip part or all if your floss into it, or when you drop your floss into it, giving it a bath. You can tie loose knots in your floss so that the dye penetrates some areas more than others. This is the easiest range of methods for mottled threads or subtle dye variations.
Space Dyeing is where coloured dyes are deliberately added to specific sections of the floss skein or hank. Usually the dye solution is added to the floss. Space Dyeing methods are mainly used to create colourful rainbow threads.
There are many different types of dyes and pigments used to dye floss. Some are powders that must be mixed into water or oil, some are already liquid, some are derived from plant materials, or squished insects, others are made in a laboratory. Some require a “mordant” to hold the colour to the floss, others do not. Often different dye processes are used on synthetic fabrics such as rayon and nylon to those processes used for cotton, silk, cashmere, wool etc.
Every different dyer uses their own type of dying process and dyes or pigments. This is why some hand dyed threads are colourfast and others are not. Read the label carefully if you are planning on stitching a large design or a small travel piece, as the threads may not be washable at the end.
If you do need to clean an item that has non-colourfast threads on it, here’s how to do it.
Turn on the tap over your basin or sink.
Use tepid or cold water.
Do not put the plug in.
Rinse your fabric under the water, thoroughly wetting it.
If any colours run, this is usually excess dye leaching from the thread. Leave your stitching under the running water until the water runs clear.
If you put the plug in or swirl this fabric through a basin of standing water then that excess dye lands on your fabric and stains it. If you leave the water running without a plug then the water carries the free dye down the drain before it can land and stain.
Photographing floss and Colour Vision
The same issues we discussed in the Hand Dyed Fabrics article apply here. There is no possible way for either monitors or printers to accurately reflect the full range of colours that our eyes can see. However, you can often get a good idea of the range and variation in the shading.
Hand Dyed Means Unique
Again as discussed in the Hand Dyed Fabrics article, there are just some variables in the hand dying process that you can never plan for: The minerals in the water used in the dye bath, the temperature of the water versus the temperature of the ambient air on the day, the humidity levels or how the floss was dried. All of these factors can these can subtly change the characteristics of the final piece.
If you are buying variegated threads for a specific project, ALWAYS BUY THE WHOLE AMOUNT OF FLOSS AT THE SAME TIME . Wherever possible, ask that the skeins are supplied from the SAME DYELOT.
This is particularly important if you are planing to stitch a large piece in hand dyed floss, By requesting skeins from the same dyelot, you will know both the shade and patterning will be consistent throughout your piece.
How do you stitch with hand dyed threads
The way you stitch with hand dyed threads makes a significant difference to the finished effect. To show this, I have stitched a sampler to illustrated some of the more common stitching styles. I have used a skein of Carrie’s Jelly Fish as there are many colour changes.
Left block and first long strip were stitched:
\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ then ///////////////// (yes I was taught by a left-hander)
In both the block and the row, some of the colours are barely seen because they are used on the bottom \\\\ and others are shown more because they are solely used as the top ////, This can create an unusual look for your piece. I do like the interplay of colours with the yellow over pink add the purple over green.
I’ve only see one pattern that deliberately asked to be stitched that way; “Is it my Eyes” by Susan Saltzgiver. Most of these blocks have the bottom \ in a different floss to the /, Usually light over dark but sometimes dark over light.
Middle block and middle strip are stitched one full stitch at a time, so \ then / then \ then / The rows are stitched:
Although it doesn’t look much different in the block, the row shows how this can lead to a stripey stitched effect. This method best reflects the real patterning in the hand dyed thread. One such as this:
Right Block and third strip were stitched via my way. I’ve developed a habit of stitching two stitches, then going to the next row and stitching the same two stitches, and then back up to the previous row and stitching another two stitches, then down to the next row and stitching two stitches etc. So the block was stitched like this:
This produces more of a mottled effect instead of stripes:
Or you can throw all of that out the window and cut your hand dyed threads so that you choose where each section of colour goes. In this case, I stitched the left project using my usual two stitches method. On the right, I cut the thread so that the colours went where I wanted them to.
Hand dyed thread will always produce an effect that is guaranteed to be unique. No two stitchers will create exactly the same outcome and often this variation creates some truly beautiful finishes. Ultimately, you can stitch with your hand dyed threads any which way you please. It all depends on the effect you want for each project.
Places to Buy
These are threads that are available in most cross stitch stores:
Anchor Multicolours. Anchor Embroidery Floss is spun from the world’s finest 100% Egyptian cotton. Anchor offers you 24 multicolours that are completely washable and offer outstanding colorfastness.
Caron Waterlilies Hand-dyed 12 ply spun silk. 6 yard skeins. Easily divided, use two plies for cross stitch over two threads on 28 count fabric.
Caron Wildflowers A single strand hand-dyed cotton in variegated colors. It has more of a matte finish when stitched. 36 yard skein.
Classic Colorworks (formerly Crescent Colours) A hand dyed floss that begins with 100% cotton DMC six strand floss and gentle fabric dyes designed specifically for cotton. Available in a variety of beautiful colors that work well with cross stitch. 5 yard skeins.
Dinky Dyes Now based in the United States, Dinky Dyes started in Western Australia. Luxurious hand-dyed 6 strand spun silk sold in 8 meter skeins.
DMC Color Variations These give you the look of hand dyed floss with the added quality and reassurance that they are made by DMC. Twenty-four beautiful multi-color and tone on tone shades that are colorfast.
Thread Gatherer Silk N Colors 100% silk, 12-ply, 6 yard skeins. Silk N Colors initially separates into 3 groups of 4-ply. Before stitching, separate and put together the desired ply. Cross-stitching: we recommend 1-ply on 30 count or finer, 2-ply on 28 count linen.
Threadworx Overdyed Floss A premium quality, six-strand embroidery floss made from the finest long-staple, 100% Egyptian Giza cotton. Sold in 20 yard skeins.
Valdani Superb Hand-Overdyed colors in Cotton Floss for the “matte” look. Embroidery Floss Skeins in 6-ply cotton for cross-stitch
Weeks Dye Works Hand Over-Dyed Floss. 5 yard skeins. The colors are variegated enough to be noticeable, yet subtle enough to blend naturally. Because it is pliable, this fiber is perfect for cross stitch and needlepoint on many counts of fabric and canvas.
Colour Streams Colour Streams hand dyed embroidery silk threads are available in 50 glorious overdyed colours.
Cottage Garden Threads Our passion is to produce hand dyed threads inspired by the diversity of colour among the flowers and foliage of a cottage garden.
Primke Threads are hand dyed cotton threads from Australia, they come in 72 colours.
Stitches and Spice is Australia’s only floss hand dyer. There are 56 colours in Naomi’s range and they complement her fabric colours. 5 metre skeins of Hand-dyed 6 stranded 100% cotton.
Annick Abrial creates beautiful hand dyed floss colours. 100% cotton, 6 strands stranded, hand-painted, which are capable of steam ironing. The colors are guaranteed in time and are 8 metre skeins.
Rainbow Fingers I’m a fiber artist living in France that has a passion for dyeing also.
The Silk Mill Our silk is 100% pure Chinese monofilament silk thread. The thread comes in skeins of six strands of 6.5 metres long, with a total skein length of 39 metres. There are 700 shades of silk to choose from.
Nina’s Threads 100% stranded cotton threads, hand dyed with professional dyes, for embroidery and cross stitch. 8 meters / skein. Rinsed in neutral scent after dye.
Chameleon Threads are individually hand-dyed in South Africa using cotton, rayon and pure silk.
House of Embroidery Un-dyed cotton threads are imported from Europe and un-dyed silk is imported from Japan. Our threads are dyed in South Africa, using European dyes.
Crafty Kitten These threads are dyed to match our fabric colour range. Each skein is 5m in length. These threads have been hand-dyed on high quality DMC white stranded embroidery cotton.
Jodyri Designs Hand dyed cotton threads priced at 99p per 8m skein. These cannot be guaranteed to be colourfast
Polstitches Dragon Floss has some wonderful thread names. 6 strand cotton, 8 metre skeins.
Rainbow Girl Each item is unique, and cannot be reproduced. I use a low water immersion technique with procion dyes. Every item is thoroughly rinsed and washed in Synthrapol, after dyeing, but I cannot guarantee that they are colourfast.
Sparklies All my threads are full skeins of DMC, hand dyed to an overdyed finish. Currently these are mostly two-tone, but I hope to expand the range to include multi-tone colours in the future.
Fiberactive Organics Our Shop Specializes in hand-dyed organic cotton products. We use low impact Fiber-Reactive Dyes to achieve the most vivid and fade resistant colors for all your project’s needs.
Fiberlicious is a Facebook only dyer. Cotton floss is 6 strands and 10 yards long (approx).Silk has 50 single strands of 1.2m long which is 60 m in total. They are dyed with variation of colors (not colorfast). My silk is Pure silk (Flat Silk, 2 plies), not processed silk with polyester so it’s pretty soft and delicate.
Hand Dyed Fibers by Vicki Clayton. Silk floss comes in two sizes. Regular silk floss is about the same size as DMC. Premium floss is much thicker and has single strand coverage over 2 on 28 ct. – 32 ct. You can use the drop down box to choose which type of floss you would like. Vicki is swamped with orders and has taken down her floss pages for a couple of weeks.
Mo’s Sale a Facebook supplier that now has her own website. Often releases new colours in themes such as MockingJay and Harry Potter.
Rumple Beary Rumors On Facebook and Etsy. My skeins are hand measured and dyed/painted, so each will vary. 10 yards each of 6 strand cotton embroidery floss Most times you will get a bit more than 10 yards. My threads are hand painted/dyed on a DMC base white thread and are variegated.
Did I miss any good dyers? Please comment below and I will add them to the list. Also, what article do you want next weekend?
Did you like this Weekend Spotlight? Did it contain all the expected information? Is there anything you would like added or removed from this? Do you know of a particular chart, designer, stitch along or accessory creator you want to see featured here? If so, please head to the Suggestions page and let me know.
There are rare thefts of floss or small embellishments from bricks and mortar stores, but nothing like the systematic and systemic theft of the designs.
What is Design Theft?
When you buy a design, either a paper chart or a digital download, you are paying for one copy of the chart. Most designers allow you to make a working copy of the chart to enlarge and/or colour in. As you only bought one of the original design, you can only make one working copy (designer permitting). You cannot make copies for your friends. You cannot upload this design to a website or group where other people can make copies. You have paid for only one design and there should only ever be one original and it’s working copy.
If, for any reason, you no longer have the original chart, you must destroy your working copy. You cannot give away the original design and keep any copies. Nor can you accept anything other than the original chart.
Why is this such a big deal?
Generally we choose what cross stitch project we are going to work based on the design. We fall in love with the design and then choose fabric and floss to complement it and we pick up a needle.
A lot of work goes into each design you see. Most of the designs that I have reviewed here, and those in your collection are the results of weeks of artwork design; first the idea, then the sketch, choosing floss, charting the design, deciding whether to add embellishments, then it is stitched, then amendments made and it is stitched some more and eventually, weeks later, correcting the final design, writing the instructions and sending it to the printer (or starting the process of printing and compiling it themselves).
If you put weeks of effort into a project at work, you would expect to be paid. Cross Stitch Design Theft takes money away from our designers and affects their livelihoods. A mon ami Pierre, Dragon Dreams, and many others have stopped creating new designs because of Design Theft. The Gift of Stitching online magazine closed down because of Design Theft. Jennifer Aikman-Smith of Dragon Dreams wrote about how Design Theft affected her and her family.
Is this really an issue?
Here’s an infographic on the flow-on effects of one design being placed on a website for anyone to copy:
And to put that into perspective, here’s the monthly site visits and downloads for one illegal Cross Stitch sharing website based in China:
That’s 120,000 visitors in the last six months. So you multiply the numbers in the top picture by 120,000 and you can see that this is as huge issue and that’s only one site.
Design Theft occurs via email, websites, Pinterest, Facebook groups, Yahoo groups, and photocopies being passed around.
Why does Design Theft happen?
It’s easy. Most people wouldn’t go into a store and smuggle floss or fabric out under their coat, but running a chart through a photocopier or scanner takes a couple of minutes and can be done in private.
It feels good. Whoever first makes copies of a design available can feel smug and happy that they’re “helping” their community and/or beating the system. Many are competitive about how fast and how many designs they can distribute.
It becomes a hobby. Design Theft usually occurs in groups, so participating in Design Theft enhances your feeling of belonging to a group. As I’ve shown in many of my reviews, the design is usually the cheapest part of a cross stitch project. If they can’t afford the design, then how can they afford to stitch it? For many design thieves it can be more about collecting the designs than it is about stitching them.
Erm, I may have some illegal charts …
OK, now you know what Cross Stitch Design Theft is, where it takes place, and how attractive it can seem, you might find that you have accidentally participated.
I would suggest that you destroy all copies of cross stitch designs that you do not own.. If you are a member of any group that shares copies, I suggest you leave them. Many designers are monitoring sharing sites and tracking participants so it is in your best interest to leave any such sites or groups,
Is there anything else I can do?
You can contact the designers and let them know about any groups and where their designs are being shared. Many designers can be contacted directly through their blogs or Facebook pages or, you can email email@example.com with the same information.
Some sites, such as Pinterest, have a report button and you can report the person for the pin as Cross Stitch Design Theft.
Also remember to contact the designer or email firstname.lastname@example.org so they can investigate. Companies often pay more attention to reports from the designer.
You haven’t mentioned Copyright?
Although there are international standards, every country has their own copyright laws, and these differ, something that is illegal in the United States may not be in Australia. Educational organisations such as libraries have slightly different copyright requirements in some countries. The legal definition for “Fair Use” also differs from country to country.
Regardless of the whys and wherefores of national and international law, we should now all understand that when we buy a design, we have paid for one of that design. Most designers allow us to make a working copy so we have one original and one working copy. Anything other than this hurts our designers financially and harms the future of the cross stitching community as we won’t have those great designs to catch our eye and make us pick up our needle.
With the festive season upon us, some of you may be looking at stitching ornaments. Here are some finishing techniques to help you out. Don’t forget the Pharoah’s Hound and Pharoah’s Pet almost-giveaway at OzStitch; use promo code PET for 50% off. Also have a look at the Late November Sales post as it is changing regularly.
I will freely admit that ornament finishing is not my forte. In fact I have a number of ornaments stitched but have never made them into ornaments. If you are like me, this post is for you. I present some specialists in the field; decide which type of ornament you want to make and follow the link for highly detailed directions and step-by-step images.
Many thanks to Hannah of Totally in Stitches, Les Broderies de Yayie, Meari of Meari’s Musings, Nicki of PlushCat, Tracy Horner of Ink Circles, Vonna Pfeiffer of The Twisted Stitcher and the staff of The Floss Box for sharing their expertise with the rest of us.
So we’ve reached the end of yet another week of Cross Stitch Review, it feels like I started yesterday and like I’ve written forever. Now that we have ticked along a while, I’d like to ask you a question: What one change could I make to keep you reading this blog.
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.
Thanksgiving is a US tradition, but Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday sales are becoming worldwide shopping traditions. As such, here are some late November sales you may be interested in.
You may want to bookmark or subscribe to this post as I will be updating it during the week as more sales are announced.
When: 27 Nov – 1 December 2014 What: 10% of everything (excludes pdfs) How: If you’ve placed an order already or are planning to place one now, please be patient with us! We have ~400 kit orders to process…that means getting supplies (and more supplies) in, sorting, bagging, assembling bead packs, assembling the kits, processing charges and PP invoices, then shipping…so it takes time! We’ll try to get your kit to you as soon as possible. If you “need” your order for a Christmas gift, note that in your instructions. I still can’t guarantee we’ll have it to you in time, but it let’s us know the situation.
When: 29 Nov – 1 December 2014 (midnight to midnight EST, US time) What:
50% off all charts (excludes special services)
15% off all accessories
15% off all materials packs
Note: Download issues are common during sale periods due to sever loads. If you have an issue, don’t panic, we are happy to help to make sure you receive your order. Just send us an email through the “Contact Us” link on the website, and we will assist you as soon as we can. If, for some reason, the contact form won’t work, feel free to email me direct at email@example.com.
When: 28 November – 2 December 2014 (midnight to midnight) What: 25% off all in-stock flosses (except DMC 6-strand floss)!
40% off all patterns & kits!
75% off all remaining punchneedle & quilting patterns!
When: Now – sold out What: All in stock merchandise is on sale at 30% off. How: In order to receive the discounts orders must total $10 or more before discount is applied! The shopping cart WILL NOT show the discount but it will be applied before shipping and you will receive an email telling you what we have and what your discount is. If you pay by PayPal, your invoice will show the discount and the items to be shipped so no extra notification will be made. Please note that PayPal invoices are sent after the order is pulled and shipping charges are determined.
GIFT CERTIFICATE BONUS SPECIAL: Receive a 20% Bonus Gift Certificate with Purchase of any Gift Certificate in $25.00 increments. WHAT??? THAT MEANS …When you Purchase a $25.00 Gift Certificate .. you will receive a FREE $5.00 Gift Certificate!! Purchase a $50.00 Gift Certificate & receive a FREE $10.00 Gift Certificate!!
Purchase a $75.00 Gift Certificate & receive a FREE $15.00 Gift Certificate!!
Purchase a $100.00 Gift Certificate & receive a FREE $20.00 Gift Certificate!!
Purchase GC’s in ANY $25.00 increment and receive a FREE GC valued at 20% of that purchased GC .. the “Free” Gift Certificate is for use effective January 2, 2015!!!
All Gift Certificates are good for one year from date of purchase on anything found at Stitches N Things! And yes, these can be redeemed on-line! We can even SEND YOUR GC VIA E-MAIL to your recipient for you!
20% OFFSTORE WIDE Catalog(excluding anything that is specified as ADVANCE, DMC floss AND Gift Certificates) — Your Catalog Order Will NOT reflect the discount but we WILL apply it for you!
IF YOU have us KIT IT UP** for you .. with fabric, fibers, embellishments, etc ..it will be 25% OFF INSTEAD !!
20% OFF anything listed in theSNT / HOFFMAN MALLCatalog(reminder .. this catalog is NOT the same as our shop catalog .. you will need to enter a password to shop in this catalog .. and then your order placed there will arrive directly in our shop — Your Catalog Order Will NOT reflect the discount but we WILL apply it for you! )
IF YOU have us KIT IT UP** for you .. with fabric, fibers, embellishments, etc ..it will be 25% OFF INSTEAD !!
Take An Additional 20% OFF anything listed on our Sale pages AND our SNT Classics Sale pages— Your Catalog Order Will NOT reflect the discount but we WILL apply it for you!
IF YOU have usKIT IT UP** for you .. with fabric, fibers, embellishments, etc ..it will be 25% OFF INSTEAD !!