Easy and delicious Swiss Chard and Kale Soup

Doug Kreinik shares delicious kale recipe

I belong to a CSA, and at certain times of the year I get a lot of Swiss Chard and Kale. So much, in fact, that I have begun trying soup recipes to use it up faster. This is a quick soup that is quite delicious and easy. It takes about 10 minutes to make.

Easy and delicious Swiss chard and kale soup

  • 1 cup prechopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas
  • 4 cups prechopped kale and/or Swiss Chard
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • add lentils if desired to the mix, and ginger
  • Cracked black pepper (optional)

1. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add onion and garlic to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until tender.

2. While onions cook, pour broth into a microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH for 3 minutes. Add hot broth and chickpeas to pan; bring to a boil.  Stir in kale and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; cook over medium heat 6 minutes. Sprinkle with cracked pepper, if desired.

Side note: I like to grind up the ingredients a little, but it is fine without grinding.


Practice Safe Storage

 Preserve jewelry, photos, textiles with Acid-Free Tissue Paper

Whether you've found brittle lace or discolored quilts in antique stores or your grandmother's attic, you know the value of protecting stored textiles. The pang of lost chances hits you as you think, "Oh why didn't they take better care of this?" So this year, this generation, as you store stitched ornaments or put away unfinished needlework until you can get them framed, take the right steps to preserve the keepsakes.

Over the years, we have worked with many museums and galleries on textile restoration and conservation, and one of the most important ways to protect anything of value starts with the material in which it's wrapped. Instead of harmful plastic bags, old pillow cases, or open-air exposure, store needlework with a protective layer of Acid-Free Tissue Paper. It's the same material used by conservationists, and it can preserve your valuables too.

Why acid-free? Isn't all tissue paper acid-free? Actually, it's not, so put aside that dollar-store bargain stack of tissue. Acid in normal tissue paper can transfer to textiles over time and cause them to become discolored, brittle, or tarnished. The specially made Acid-Free Tissue Paper, however, is neutral, unbuffered, and therefore the safest way to store textiles including cotton, wool, silk, linen and even real metal threads. It's safe for your jewelry, photos, and other heirlooms as well.

After all of the time and love you put into each handmade creation, make sure they don't become brittle or stained over the years. A protective layer of Acid-Free Tissue Paper can make all the difference in the world.

How to order Kreinik Acid-Free Tissue Paper: Look for it in needlework shops, quilt stores, Keepsake Quilting catalog, or online stores.  Or order from Kreinik.com:


How to do beads without the mess

Recently a stitcher asked, "What are Kreinik Facets™ and how do you use them?" We actually get this question a lot when someone sees the thread in person; they can't quite tell what is wrapped around the black Kreinik spool, because it looks like beads, but it's not…

The answer: Kreinik Facets™ are bead-like threads that you couch on the surface of your design. These metallic threads have a "faceted" surface that looks kind of like a cut gem—imagine the flat surfaces on each side of a cut gem. Facets™ appear to be beads strung together, but they don't roll all over the place. Pretty great, huh? They give you the look of beads without the mess. You can use Facets™ in cross stitch, needlepoint, crazy quilting, art quilting, cording, home decor, and surface embroidery.

5 Facts about Facets:

1. You couch this thread, as in: lay it on the surface and secure it in place using tacking stitches. This can be done by hand or by machine. 
2. You can couch it with a variety of fibers depending on the look you want:
• a matching color of Kreinik Cord or Blending Filament
• a clear thread
• a contrasting thread (metallic, silk, cotton, rayon)
3. It comes in two sizes: regular Facets™ and Petite Facets™ (which are half the size). The smaller version makes clever "jewelry" on dollhouse miniatures or needlepoint figures.
4. It comes in a wired version, so it will keep its shape and form while you couch it onto your project.
5. It is hand and machine washable.

Want to know more?
1. See the Facets color line here: http://www.kreinik.com/shops/Facets.html
2. Here is an article that talks about couching, and shows the Facets™: http://www.mrxstitch.com/fun-new-stitch/
3. You can also make cording with it, as shown here: https://www.kreinik.com/shops/Festive-Facet-Napkin-Rings.html
4. Here is a link to more information: http://kreinikthread.blogspot.com/2013/07/new-wired-facets.html
5. There are also many pictures in our photostream on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kreinikgirl/

Experiment with Kreinik Facets™ in your next project. It is a fun thread!


What to stitch on silk gauze

We get a lot of inquiries about silk gauze, a fine needlepoint canvas made of pure silk. It looks intriguing…it has been used in needlework for centuries…but what can you do with it? Many charted designs for needlepoint and cross stitch can be stitched on silk gauze with minor adjustments in thread size or stitches depending on gauze size. But let's start with a simpler plan…

If you are a beginner to needlepoint, start with a very basic, simple pattern, like the rose in the Kreinik Silk Gauze Rose kit, available at Kreinik.com.

If you already know how to do needlepoint — if you are an intermediate to advanced stitcher — then the easiest way to learn silk gauze embroidery is with a class. If your local needlework store doesn't offer a class, the American Needlepoint Guild (ANG) has something for you at this year's seminar. Designer and teacher Orna Willis, who creates stunning silk gauze designs, will be teaching "The Village I Built" on silk gauze. Here is a link to the seminar page where you can become a member of ANG* and sign up for the class here.

"I have used silk gauze a lot these past two years.  I love it!" said Orna, who shared these photos of some other designs using silk gauze. "There is another piece that is probably one of my favorite designs of all times, it's a modern sampler. The others are very small pieces that are meant to be placed in lockets that I provide." To see more of Orna's patterns, visit her web site here and her Etsy shop here.

(*Not a member of ANG? If you are a needlepointed, consider it…classes from amazing designers, access to expert knowledge and camaraderie with people who share your passion will inspire you all year long. See www.needlepoint.org for details.)


How to embellish a quilt

Most people think of a quilt simply as the piecework part, but actually the fabric base is just the beginning of what makes a quilt so eye-catching. A quilt tells a story, and without all the creative layers that story is incomplete—or at the very least, dull.

Take a look at the beautiful new Bullas Bunnies quilt pattern by Nan Baker to see one fun story come to life. Nan collaborated with Will Bullas to adapt his artwork to fabric, and the result is a "hare-em" of storybook rabbits ready to bring spring cheer to your home, a baby's room, a hospital corridor, or any place in need of smile. You can buy the pattern through www.purrfectspots.com.

Nan chose spring-colored Hoffman fabrics with neutral patterns so that the bunnies would take the focus. The cobalt blue squares add a vibrant pop of color while giving a perfect contrast to the white bunnies. Appliqued carrots are popping up throughout, just like in a real garden. But the best part, the mischievous, curious, charming, and sweet personalities of each appliqued rabbit or chick, is created with the thread embellishment. Nan used Kreinik metallic embroidery threads and iron-on threads to create the details on each face. They are used in simple embroidery stitches, but the effect completes the story to top off the fun theme. The soft metallic thread gives the sparkle in the eye that makes you see personality behind each bunny and chick. The threads complete the story, and it's all so cute and fun.

To get the pattern for Nan Baker's Bullas Bunnies quilt, go to www.purrfectspots.com. The pattern is also available through The Pattern Peddlers and www.QuiltWoman.com. To get the threads, go to www.kreinik.com.

Here is what you will need:
  • Kreinik Very Fine #4 Braid in colors 154V, 032, 005
  • Kreinik Fine #8 Braid in colors 193, 021HL, 024
  • Kreinik Blending Filament in color 100
  • Kreinik Tapestry #12 Braid in color 003
  • Kreinik 1/8" Iron-on Ribbon in colors 6210, 6100, 6010, 6350, 6200
  • Kreinik Medium #16 Iron-on Braid in color 6090
  • Kreinik Small Adhesive Press Cloth (use with a mini craft iron to adhere the iron-on threads
To see detailed images of the bunnies, go to www.flickr.com/photos/kreinikgirl/


Everlasting Cupcakes

New from West End Embroidery: four deliciously colorful stitched cupcake designs. They fall under the category of Counted Needlepoint, or Charted Needlepoint—which means needlepointers will love them, and cross stitchers bored with basic cross stitching can do them. West End Embroidery designer Yvonne Close is a teacher as well as designer, so rest assured her instructions are easy to read and thorough.

Aside from the vibrant colors that instantly cheer you up, plus the tempting subject matter of cupcakes, these designs are a breath of fresh air for other reasons. The finished size is about 5" square, small enough that you can complete them in short time. The stitch variety is do-able but interesting enough that you will have fun stitching. Also, full kits are available (with instructions, threads, beads and a 9" square of 18-count mono canvas); this is helpful if you live far from needlework stores. These designs look like high-end boutique creations, but can be stitched at very reasonable cost.

But let's talk about those colors…Yvonne selected hues in pearl cottons, stranded cottons, Threadworx overdyes, Kreinik Very Fine #4 Braid, Kreinik Fine #8 Braid, and Kreinik Silk Serica. She added beads for extra dimension. Silk Serica is a filament silk that has a rich, beautiful sheen. The Kreinik metallic threads include newer color additions: 4013 Purple Haze, 4011V Adventure Green, 5540 Boysenberry Blue, 5735 Key Lime Pie, and 024L Fiery Fuchsia—all trendy shades in home decor. Your finished cupcakes will amaze and delight everyone. Stitch all four and hang them together in your home—gorgeous!

The four designs are:

Raspberry Ripple Cup Cake

Blueberry Cup Cake

Chocolate Mint Cup Cake

Strawberry Hearts Cup Cake

You can view all of the designs and order the kits here: http://www.westendembroidery.com/Cup_Cakes.html

If you don't want to do mail order, Yvonne will also be selling these designs plus Kreinik threads at these shows in England throughout 2014:

  • March 23, 2014 at the Sewing for Pleasure; Fashion Embroidery & Stitch show, NEC Birmingham in Birmingham, England
  • October 9-12, 2014 at The Knitting and Stitching Show, Alexandra Palace, London
  • November 20-23, 2014 at The Knitting and Stitching Show, International Hall, Harrogate, England

Follow Yvonne and West End Embroidery on Twitter at https://twitter.com/canvasworkUK


Six new Kreinik Metallic Thread Colors

“Deliciously bright” and “gorgeous” describe the six new metallic thread colors from Kreinik that debuted at The National NeedleArts Association trade show last month. The new colors are arriving in needlework stores now in Kreinik Very Fine #4, Fine #8, Tapestry #12, and Medium #16 Braid sizes, which are the most popular metallic threads for cross stitch, hand embroidery, and needlepoint.

   The beautiful bright 9732 Blue Grass and 9132 Lemon Grass have a pearly hue that gives them more color depth than basic metallic threads. These two shades follow in the footsteps of last year’s release, 9032 Easter Grass, which introduced an iridescent thread reminiscent of dichroic glass: the color changes according to the light and neighboring colors. Originally part of Kreinik’s fly fishing line of products, Easter Grass, Lemon Grass, and Blue Grass are summery, youthful and energetic, bringing a pop of color to any design.

   “When I saw the raw material we were using in the fly fishing line, I knew we had to braid them for stitchers,” said Kreinik Creative Director Dena Lenham. “The second I stitched with them I fell in love with the cheerful color and the prismatic depth. It’s not your usual metallic finish,” she adds. “It’s more fun.” Colors 9732 Blue Grass and 9132 Lemon Grass are also available in Kreinik Blending Filament.

   The second group of color additions came out of designer requests for blends of gold, similar to the way Kreinik Pearl was added to the Gourmet color line to make the Candy Colors.

   “Gold is the most popular metallic color,” Dena said. “Here we blended that favorite with spicy red, olive, amber, and plum to create rich, elegant threads. They are inspired by cloisonne of the Byzantine Era, Renaissance period art, and modern world travels.” The romantic, sophisticated colors are 5805 Golden Pimento, 5815 Golden Chardonnay, 5835 Golden Olive, and 5845 Golden Cabernet.

   For more information on the six new Kreinik metallic thread colors, visit needlework shops or www.kreinik.com. Look for the six new shades to be added to Kreinik’s 1/16” Ribbon color line later this year.


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