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.
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 Ceninain Italy.
United Kingdom:SewandSo in Stroud.
United States:123Stitch in Utah.
Stitches n Things in Michigan.
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?
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Last Updated: 10 January 2015