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

9 thoughts on “Floss review: Kreinik blending filament”

  1. This is a fantastic review Mel! I learnt a lot from reading this review, especially the different looks by applying Kreinik differently using the same simple stitches. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge!

  2. Great article Mel – I enjoyed looking at the various applications. I am not a fan of metallics because they are so difficult to work with, and after the last Dimensions kit I completed, I swore I would never use them again. Your article has at least offered some helptful hints should I ever tackle them in the future.

  3. Great review! I’ve been using Kreinik for years (cause I like the bling) but really never thought of stitching first and then going over it with the metallic – that’s brilliant!! And your pictures make it very east to see and understand the examples you gave. Love it, now off to find something I can put bling on…..Cheers

  4. Very helpful – thank you!! As Paula said, I have a couple of horror stories working with metallics in DMC kits, so I’ve shied away from using them again. However, I decided to join the Mira SAL on flosstube this year and I’ve got a couple of unopened Kreniks waiting for me… This post was quite helpful in thinking about how to reduce my frustration with the thread in At the Met.

  5. Great review! I’ve never thought of going over the stitches after with blending filament, but that’s brilliant, and the look is nicer too.

  6. Thanks Caroline Wang for the idea for the series! Thanks ladies for your kind words – I know that metallic threads can be such a pain to work with, but they are really worth it in the end.

  7. My crosstitch calls for one strand DMC and 2 strands blending filament. So I did the cotton first like you recommend and am going over with the Kreinik starburst. I cant’ really tell the cotton is even there. Any suggestions?

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