Make It Easier To See Your Stitching

Reviewing the Beam N Read®

It's no secret that, ahem, some of us have aging eyes. We may need to stitch on larger counts of fabric or canvas, or give up stitching altogether. And for the younger stitchers, it's not always easy stitching by the light of Netflix or in dimly lit rooms. You may have to limit what you can stitch to what's most visible. Well, here's a possible solution to these problems: the Beam N Read® from ASF Lighttware Solutions.

We met Bob from ASF at a needlework tradeshow as we were demonstrating stitching on silk gauze. "I have something to make that easier," he said—and we were interested, especially since Kreinik silk gauze comes in canvas counts as high as 90 holes per inch. As he showed us the Beam N Read, other vendors, needlework designers and shop owners passed by and said, "Oh I love that!" Those who had used the Beam N Read were 100% positive in their reviews.

We got one to try in a few stitching scenarios: stitching on black fabric, working on 40-count silk gauze, needlepointing in a hotel room, crocheting while watching Game of Thrones. The results, plain and simple: it worked. It really helped, and it wasn't cumbersome or in the way. It's good for reading too, so you can use it for more than stitching.

There are several Beam N Read® devices you can purchase, but the model we tested is the BNR LED 6-3. Hang it around your neck and adjust the strap to a comfortable length. With a choice of "bright" (3 LEDs) or "brighter" (6 LEDs), you have some control over the illumination. Set the switch to the desired light, then flip up the end to turn it on. There are three possible angles, so you can experiment or change the angle as you sit, move, or stitch.

The version we tested has two clip-on filters: red "for maintaining night vision" and orange "for softer light." We didn't test the filters, but they seem like a good idea, at least nice options to have. A Beam N Read® fan told us the filters are more relaxing to the eyes if reading or stitching in bed. "If you sew or read in bed at night, try the filters for a few days and then try no filter. You will be surprised at how much more relaxing the filtered light is when working or reading in bed. My wife reads in bed using the orange filter. I read in bed using the red filter as I find it even more relaxing," he said. The package also has a clip-on magnifier, which will help if you are stitching on silk gauze.

The Beam N Read® is available through needlework stores and online resources. You will need 4 AA batteries, and that stitching project you've always put aside because you can't see it well enough. Now, let your light shine.

Beam N Read® LED6 Deluxe Hands Free Light, ASF Lightware Solutions of Merrick, New York:


String Art: The Next Generation

The next generation of stitchers—those under 20—call thread "string" and hold a needle like a touchscreen stylus. They like making things but don't like rules. They value freedom and self expression as daily life presents boredom, school, homework, and growing-up pressures. And they love the new String Art kits from Kreinik.

You remember string art, don't you? Wrapping colorful yarn around nails hammered into wooden boards to create pictures like animals and spirotot shapes. Today's string art style has advanced with modern tastes and trends: it uses metallic threads on different surfaces and in modern patterns.

Kreinikgirl (@Kreinikgirl on Twitter) shows the new way to do string art, with metallic threads on "floating" canvas, in this blog post for the popular stitch-and-embroidery website Click here for the article:

The designs and ideas are available in new and coming-soon kits from Kreinik. Look for the Kreinik String Art On Canvas series. Each kit includes design outlines, thread (the string, some of which glows in the dark), needle, Polysil™ canvas, and reusable embroidery hoop. You even get double-sided tape to attach your string art to anything, such as a notebook, cosmetic bag, sleep mask, or anything your heart desires.

String Art isn't just for the young, mind you. Anyone wanting a quick, low-stress, colorful thread project will love these string art kits. You get self-expression and creativity without charts, order, rules and critique. Anyone who fears doing something "the wrong way" needs to make a Kreinik String Art On Canvas project. There is no wrong way to stitch one. Mental health note: once you learn to let go, you relax, and the creative freedom feels wonderful.

So no matter your age, your mission is to explore the exciting world of String Art On Canvas, to seek out free-form creativity, to boldly stitch on something you may not have tried before. Stitch long and prosper.


Marking pens for needlepoint canvases

We have informative discussions on the Kreinik Facebook page with the community of stitchers sharing tips whenever someone has a question. It's a convenient place to share stitching tips, project ideas, and needlework community news as well as a place for announcements about Kreinik thread. Like our Facebook page to you can visit by clicking here

Recently a stitcher who wanted to create her own needlepoint designs asked us: "Is there a pen that can be used on needlepoint canvas that won't bleed?" We posted it on Facebook, and it became one of the most viral topics we've seen in awhile. In case you want to create your own designs, we are posting some of the answers below.

Stitcher-suggested pens for drawing on needlepoint canvases:

  • "I use Pigma or Micron for fine lines and Sharpies, usually in pale colors, for thicker ones." - Marjorie H.
  • " How about griffon…I hate spell check make that frixion pen made by pilot. They are heat sensitive so even if the bleed with a little heat, the ink will disappear." - Mary L.
  • "Zig Markers - been using them for years - Fleur de Paris was the distributor--usually can find them in a good art supply store." - Carolyn T.
  • "People before commented that Micron was the best…" - Ann L.
  • "I asked this question a couple of months ago and the responses were Identpen, Zig fabric and a couple of others. Of course I have not been able to find any locally. Others also said not sharpie on canvas. It was a huge discussion with many posts to blogs etc. Use the search feature of facebook to find lots of info from that post." - Lisa P.
  • "Def Sharpie" - Zarina A.
  • "Sharpie fine point." - Judy C.
  • "I use an IdentiPen extra fine, just for outlining lightly. Micron is fine too." - Carol G. (Note: Carol is one of the designers of needlepoint canvas company Associated Talents)
  • "Sharpie makes a fine-point pen." - Karen C.
  • "A fine Micron pen." - Louise H
Thanks for the suggestions, Facebook friends! Janet Perry also talked about marking pens several times on her blog. Check out the articles here


Stitchers and DIYers are all about personalization these days, stitching specific words, phrases, even texts and Tweets that are meaningful. These finished projects make great gifts since they are so people-specific. The next time you want to create your own needlepoint design on canvas, use these suggestions to outline, then fill in with stitches of colorful Kreinik threads.

Like Kreinik on Facebook:

And we are now on Pinterest! Follow our photo/idea posts at If you post photos of your projects stitched with Kreinik, be sure to add "Kreinik" in the comment section so we can find you.


A Few Of Our Favorite Christmas Needlepoint Canvases

Have you heard? There are 19 more Saturdays until Christmas. Do you have your decorations figured out for this year, gifts lined up, projects ready to go to the finisher? We don't either, but now is a good time to start.

First up on your project list if you are a needlepointer can be the "My Favorite Things" ornaments from Rebecca Wood Designs. We saw the finished models at this summer's TNNA tradeshow, and can attest that they are gorgeous. The colors are classic, the ornament sizes are ideal for standard trees, and the stitched details are fun. The designs are brought to life by Cynthia Thomas, who created stitch guides for the series.

Side note: If you are unfamiliar with "stitch guides," they are printed (or PDF) pages that give you suggested fibers, stitches, and stitch diagrams to make a design. If you've ever stared at a blank canvas wondering how to go beyond basic tent and continental stitches, stitch guides will be helpful. Cynthia is one of the top stitch guide writers in the needlearts community who works with just about all of the needlepoint canvas companies. We adore her not just because she loves Kreinik threads and is super nice and fabulous, but she's got a great mind for interpreting needlepoint through stitches and fibers. So you are in good hands if you have a Cynthia Thomas stitch guide.

But back to this ornament line… The designs include raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles, warm woolen mittens and all the references mentioned in the song "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music musical/movie. They would make an heirloom addition to your holiday tree, or a gift for a new bride and groom, grandchild, or anyone else who will have their own trees to decorate each holiday. The theme is so classic, it will never go out of style*.

Take a look at the photos below, and visit our Flickr page for more. To get the canvases and stitch guides, contact your local needlepoint shop or favorite online needlepoint source.

Anyone else now hungry for some crisp apple strudel or schnitzel with noodles?

* Did you know: "My Favorite Things" has been recorded by a range of artists including Julie Andrews, The Supremes, Carrie Underwood, Barbra Streisand, the cast of Glee, John Coltrane, Andy Williams, Kelly Clarkson, Tony Bennett, Kenny Rogers, Outkast, and Mary J. Blige among others.

Source information:


New Cross Stitch Christmas Book

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas here at Kreinik, as we are getting advance copies of new holiday publications featuring Kreinik threads. We "ooh" and "ahh" and get excited when we see our designer friends' names in print, and immediately want to tell you what's coming this fall for your stitching inspiration. Get your lists ready...

New from Bayview Publishing (Craftways Corporation) in Plover, Wisconsin: "A Cross-Stitch Christmas  2014" hardcover book. With 128-pages of full color photos and charts, there is something for everyone to stitch in this book. Bayview has been publishing a Christmas cross-stitch book every year for as long as we can remember, and every year they manage to be original and fresh—and come up with more projects we want to stitch.

A few of the things we like about the book:

  • They cover all color options for Christmas decorating, not just the usual red and green. You will find designs in purple and gold (very elegant), green and brown (perfect for rustic decor), and bright blue and red (retro love!).
  • The charts-with-symbols are in color, which makes them so much easier to read and follow than black-and-white charts. (This is helpful for anyone stitching Christmas gifts after midnight.)
  • Stitch diagrams are included. If you are a cross-stitch beginner who may not know how to do an Algerian Star, there's a detailed diagram for that.
  • Design quality is terrific. Some of the top designers in the industry created patterns for the book: Joan Elliott, Ursula Michael, Tracy Horner, Debbie Rowley, Lois Winston, Janelle Giese, Erik Shipley, Linda Bird, Erin Dekker Raatjes, Amy Bruecken, Ada Haydon, Julia Lucas, Barbara Sestok, Cathy Bussi, Barbara Ana and more, just to name a few. Many of the gorgeous designs use Kreinik threads for that must-have holiday sparkle.
If you look forward to giving handmade presents to your loved ones for Christmas, take a look at this book. It should be in stores soon.

A CROSS-STITCH CHRISTMAS, Bayview Publishing, Craftways Corporation, PO Box 157, Plover WI 54467, 1-866-321-9550, suggested retail price $39.95 US, $44.95 Canada


How To Use Leather on Needlepoint

What are you wearing? Any leather? Not to pry, but we're guessing you have probably worn this material at one time or another: leather gloves, leather jacket, leather boots, maybe even leather pants. Or perhaps you've been on a leather saddle or sofa, or read a leather-bound book.

Leather is not only a decorative fashion staple year after year, but it appears in daily life in some form or another as a durable, all-purpose material. It covers people in harsh weather and protects motorcyclists from flying rocks and road rash. It is also used in works of art, clothing, accessories, and home decor for its unique texture. Synthetic alternatives have even been developed for those who do not want to use any kind of leather.

In needlework, leather offers the possibility of replicating real life in your design — that is, for making realistic stitchery. Stitching a Santa design, for example? Make his boots black leather. A saddle can be an appliqued piece of brown leather. For needlepointers and quilters, Kreinik offers kid leather in a variety of colors, from the common black and brown to copper, gold, silver, even red. Kreinik distributes leather from another manufacturer, so stock can vary. Check the Kreinik website for the latest color options:

Two common ways to attach kid leather to needlework:

  1. Tack with a glover's needle (a sharp needle with a triangular point). In the photo at right, Beth Robertson and Suzanne Howren, authors of the
    Stitches for Effect books and many other guides, attached a kid leather
    shoe on a Mile High Princess needlepoint canvas (now discontinued) using Kreinik silk thread and a glover's needle. The technique is from their
    book, "New Twists on Needlework Embellishment."
  2. Use heavy-duty, double-sided tape (like Kreinik's Treasure Tape, which is archive quality).

Soft, pliable kid leather is available from Kreinik in a variety of sizes. We also have a grab bag of mixed colors and sizes called Hold O'Hides (part of the Bag O'Bits and Sack O'Silks line). As you start your next project, think about ways you can add leather elements. It adds another texture and visual element that can make your project more exciting and fun.

Want to know more?


On Becoming An Explorer

Mission Accomplished!
Vacations are supposed to be a removal from what you do day to day. This year, after reading all of the literature, my wife, Myla, and I decided to take an adventure around the northern shore of Lake Superior known as the Circle Tour of Lake Superior: "beautiful vistas, water falls, islands, historic sites, lighthouses, smoked fish, moose, elk, bear and the Northern Lights." Wow, what could be better? What the literature did not say was that if one was into kayaking, canoeing, motor cycling, hiking or cross country bicycling, the experience would be fantastic. Myla and I are not outdoor people, so our adventure into the wilderness only accomplished one goal, and that was to see a moose.

The landscape was beautiful when viewable; but the fog was heavy. The waterfalls were magnificent, along with the mosquitoes. The days were cold, and we wore three layers of jackets all-the-while wishing we had not forgotten our toboggans. The food was just okay with no real local lake food available.  We had expected to spend two days in Thunder Bay, but the rain and forecast of more rain pushed us onward to Minnesota.

Crossing the border, we ventured southward towards Duluth, MN. We drove into a small town not knowing what to expect, and found a gem of an artist colony in Grand Marais, MN.  We discovered great food, Bed and Breakfast inns, beautiful vistas and lots to do. It was amazing, but still cold.  Met a nice yarn shop owner and learned of a fantastic pizza hangout in town. We were told that there were still small icebergs on the lake, making natural air conditioning on high. The waves crashed along the shore line, the winds blew and people stayed indoors, but it was beautiful.

Split Rock Lighthouse
On the route to Duluth, we stopped at Split Rock Lighthouse.  The light’s lens was made in France in the late 1800’s as were those of other lighthouses throughout the US. It is able to magnify light up to 20 miles away. Lighthouses are monuments to the past and are normally no longer in use because of GPS.

To say we vacationed in Duluth, is strange, but we had great fun in this charming city.  It is hilly like Seattle and San Francisco.  Driving up the hills was challenging, and winters must be really interesting.  There are gourmet quality restaurants, tours and shopping available.  On the Duluth harbor tour, it was explained that along the ocean coasts there are sea gulls, but in the bay outside Duluth, they have only “bay-gulls” (ha,ha,ha). 

Flood waters were high on our way down to St. Paul/Minneapolis.  Our son just moved there, so we were excited to see what brought him to this town.  Great restaurants, shopping, parks, buildings and museums were abundant. We visited the St. Paul History Museum where a retrospective exhibit on popular toys from the 50’s through the 80’s was on view.  I saw toys I had played with in the 50’s and 60’s:  Block City (the precursor of Lego), Hop-a-long Cassidy paraphernalia, Erector Sets and Lincoln Logs.  Charles, my son, was amazed and commented, “No electronics?”

The rest of the trip home was along the flooded Mississippi River on the Wisconsin side. We drove by religious grottos, monuments to French explorers and a lot of wineries. We stopped through Galena, IL where President Grant entered politics, and we had a great time looking through shops.  Onward to Normal, Illinois where we met “Normal” people. We shot through Indiana to Springfield OH, the original home of 4H.

Once back in Parkersburg, we napped for two hours, then went to the factory and picked up my market display. We drove south to the Mountaineer Arts and Crafts Fair in Ripley, WV where Kreinik was a prize sponsor for the annual Quilt show.    spent three fun displaying my goodies, all the while making friendship bracelets, talking to quilters, knitters, cross stitchers, needle pointers, spinners and weavers.  People were pleased to see my little display of art quilting, dolls and product ideas.

Mountaineer Arts and Crafts Fair in Ripley, WV
Custom Corder Friendship Bracelets in Ripley, WV

Doug on Vacay

Vacation was a 3500-mile trek filled with interesting challenges, adventures and surprises.  Myla told me that next time we will visit Mackinaw Island rather than driving by it and seek out a moose with antlers.  We will see about that.

by Doug Kreinik


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