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

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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: http://www.kreinik.com/shops/Kid-Leather-Skins/

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?

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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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Trend Alert: silk threads and smocking

If there was a Time magazine issue for textiles, we're calling it now: Silk is going to be the Thread Of The Year. It is durable, strong, and takes dyes on a deeper cellular level than any other fiber (that means you get really rich, gorgeous colors). While silk has been used in needlework for centuries, tastes come and go…and right now silk is on the scene. We are seeing it used more in everything from fly fishing to knitting, needlepoint, cross stitch, weaving, and smocking.

Remember smocking? It's making a comeback too. Did you see the cute little smocked jumper England's Prince George was wearing on his visit to Australia? Smocked sundresses are a staple in little girls' fashion, but fashion-forward children aren't the only ones wearing the style. Vintage-inspired embroiderers are embracing smocking for everything from wedding dresses to home decor and handbags. "I am on a campaign to get the word out that smocking is so much more than children's clothing," says teacher Barbara Meger.

From the Middle Ages onward, smocking has been an embroidery technique with pretty but practical virtues. It may look like simple elastic-like pleating, but the sculpting effects, embroidery stitches and eye-catching patterns make smocking extraordinary. The most popular threads in smocking are cotton and silk, but you can use other threads as well. In her store, Barbara sells Threadworx overydyed floss and Kreinik metallic threads, for instance.

The photos shown here are designs from Barbara's company, Classic Creations. This smocking and bead embroidery bag is created with Kreinik Silk Bella, a 100% pure very thin, fine silk thread. The design is called "Beaded Van Dyke Reticule."  Barbara will be teaching it at the Smocking Arts Guild Convention of America (SAGA) Convention in Orlando in September.

As you peruse Pinterest, Flickr, Google, blogs, magazines, and stores this summer, keep your eyes open for smocking. It's another beautiful embroidery technique where silk threads shine.

For more information:

Side note: Kreinik's production facility and offices are closed this week for summer holiday. We will be back July 7.

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Registration is now open for the Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival

Fiber artist Barbara Grossman, Founder of the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival, is teaming up with her sister Ann Szilagyi on a new endeavor: The first-ever Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival. The fiber fest takes place at the Four Points by Sheraton in Mars, PA, Aug. 22-23. It will feature classes, workshops, lectures, interactive demos and a marketplace focusing on a variety of creative arts. Doug Kreinik will be there, teaching classes and doing demonstrations. Kreinik threads and kits can be purchased through a shop in the marketplace.

The website, www.pghcreativearts.com, is open for registration for admission and classes.   Visitors can also sign up for a free enewsletter at the site.

In addition to Doug Kreinik's class on making trims, other classes are: Transforming a Garment with Barbara Assejew. Metal Embossing, Hand Painting a Silk Scarf with Evi Slaby (an exercise in letting go), Book Arts Boot Camp with Kitty Spangler, Wire Wrapped Bracelet with Elaine Smith, Color and Your Emotions with Donna Bogosto Kearns. You get the idea; the festival will have something for everyone, from Embroidery to Basketry, Calligraphy, Paper Marbling, Collage Painting, Soapmaking, Quilting, Fabric and Paper Design and more.

“Some artists work in a variety of media, and others choose to stick mainly with one medium, such as fiber,” Grossman says. “The Creative Arts Festival will appeal to an even wider audience, as well as hopefully bring back some of our fiber fans to explore the incorporation of fiber with other media like beads, fabric, paper, surface design and more."

The event will feature a kick-off reception with a sneak preview of the marketplace on Friday evening, August 22nd, 2014 that will include demonstrations, mini classes, music and the open marketplace.   Classes, demos and marketplace will be open all day on Saturday, August 23rd , 2014.  Visit the show's website for registration and updates: http://pghcreativearts.com/

This is a great opportunity to meet Doug Kreinik and ask him all of your Kreinik-related or thread-related questions. Click here to sign up for Doug's class: http://pghcreativearts.com/classes/saturday-august-23-2014/afternoon-classes/make-creative-trims-doug-kreinik/



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Kreinik Summer Events

Take a little vacation, visit some quilting and fiber festivals, do some stitching and crafting, get things lined up for the busy Christmas "making" season…If that sounds like your summer to-do list, it's ours too! Here's the Kreinik Summer 2014 Event schedule. Hope to see you while we are on the road — Doug Kreinik is known for stopping in needlework, knitting, and fiber art shops along his travels — or at one of the fiber festivals listed below.

June 30-July 4, 2014: Offices closed. Kreinik manufacturing, customer service, design, and sales departments are closed for summer holiday. Note to shop owners: the last day for shipping will be Friday, June 27.



July 3-5, 2014: Mountain State Art & Craft Fair in Ripley, West Virginia. Doug Kreinik will be there, discussing and demo-ing Kreinik threads, techniques, and other creative ideas. For show info, visit http://msacf.com/



July 26-27, 2014: Maker Faire Detroit in Dearborn, Michigan. Doug Kreinik will be in the needlearts pavilion. Visit http://www.makerfairedetroit.com/

August 22-23, 2014: Pittsburg Creative Arts Festival in Mars, Pennsylvania.
Doug Kreinik and crew will be teaching and demo-ing. Sign up for his classes through www.pghcreativearts.com.


September 7,8, 2014: Destination Dallas Fall Needlework Market in Dallas, Texas. This is a tradeshow, not open to the general public. Kreinik will be a vendor. Shop owners and other needlearts businesses can visit http://www.destinationdallas.net/ to register.



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An intriguing thread: Kreinik's fusible fibers

We take at least one sample of each Kreinik fiber to every show so that visitors can see all the creative options available in thread. The threads guaranteed to catch attention, no matter what the focus of the market, are Kreinik Iron-on Ribbon and Iron-on Braid. Embroiderers can't believe you don't need a needle, paper crafters are fascinated that it's so much easier than glitter, and quilters are surprised that it actually stays in place. Demonstrations and project models show people how easy, fun, and useful the threads are, then they pick up some spools to go home and play.

Quilter/mixed-media artist Catherine Hill was one such person inspired to experiment with Kreinik Iron-on Thread at a a craft and hobby show in England. She took home some of the fusible fibers and later shared her results. You will likely find Catherine's story to be similar to your own: crafting most all her life, always has a project in hand, loves to be challenged by new materials. Here's our interview with quilter Catherine, sharing her thoughts on the iron-on threads, making things, and the influence of handmade gifts.

10 questions with UK quilter Catherine Hill

Q: What type of crafting or stitching do you like?
A: I have been involved with patchwork and quilting for over 20 years (including ten years working & teaching in a patchwork and quilting shop), but I classify myself as a dabbler of many crafts – felting, hand and machine embroidery, braiding, darning, mixed-media. I love stitching into paper, and I am currently learning dressmaking. Unfortunately I am easily distracted and find myself indulging in as many textile crafts as time will allow.  

Q: How long have you been making things? 
A: I come from a long line of crafts people and my childhood was full of textile and ‘make-do-and-mend’ influences. I started sewing as a young child (hand sewing and tapestry) and developed my own direction in later life starting with soft furnishings for the home and a quilt for my first child. From there I developed my machine skills and took classes to feed my interest in all things textile and sewing…I never tire of learning. 

Q: Has your creative life been influenced by a family member, teacher, or friend?  
A: Throughout my childhood my mother told stories about her childhood through World War II and the rationing afterwards. She explained how resources and materials were extremely short – yet every year she and each of her siblings (she was one of 7 children) received a handmade gift made by her Auntie Mary. The gifts included numerous dolls (she particularly remembers a topsy-turvey rag doll), a dolls house & fort (made from painted cardboard and wood) and knitted garments. The notion that my Great Auntie could turn her hand to anything and make something from nothing always fascinated me. I like the idea of recycling or ‘upcycling’ and that the materials used have had a previous life or a story to tell (ie, worn out patches, darned fabric). My family was heavily involved in the Lancashire cotton mills, so I think that textiles must be in my blood.

Q: What influences your design ideas?
A: Part of my work revolves around photos of my children and the summer holidays we all shared on the beaches in Brittany, France or Portland, England – bright colours and free motion embroidery. There is another side of me that is heavily influenced by family stories of Lancashire, rural dialect and the expanse of green misty Moors. I have always been interested in Lancashire textiles and the heritage of the Cotton industry, but recently I inherited bags and bags of textiles, linens and haberdashery from an old gentleman who’s family had worked in Lancashire for generations – he was called Arnold and I inherited the textiles from his Attic (this was the starting point of my website and blog 'Arnold’s Attic’). The textiles and garments in the bags date back to before 1900. Some garments are hand stitched from simple yet effective designs, and there is one bundle of fabric, wrapped in brown paper and string labelled ‘For a quilt’. Every stitch, darn and mended garment tells a story of its construction and working life.        
 
Q: Which Kreinik threads have you used, and how have you used them? 
A: I was so happy to meet Dena [Kreinik's Creative Director] at a tradeshow in England. I was drawn to the iron-on threads; took them home, very excited, and made a Stained Glass Window Mini-Quilt from linen, a Celtic knot bookmark on silk and a decorated wooden love heart. The threads/braids, were so easy to use. I have made stained glass quilts many times using iron-on or even hand stitched bias, but the fusible thread from Kreinik is the fastest, easiest and most effective method I have used and it is so fine…. fusible bias tape is rarely available this narrow.

Q: How do you see decorative threads enhancing projects (patchwork, mixed media, felting, cording, etc)? 
A: I like the idea of creating fine cords and couching them down, incorporating silk or metallic threads into wet/nuno felting or needle felting a surface and machine embroidering on top, free-motion machine quilting or layering mixed media materials and machine/hand stitching into them. The beauty of Kreinik threads is that whichever thread is used – metallic or silk or even wider braids – it will create a different feel and finish to the piece making it unique.

Q: Where do you find or buy your materials?
A: Whilst working in the Patchwork and Quilting shop, all I ever used were modern prints – Moda, Alexandra Henry, Lecien – but since leaving to study for a teaching qualification,  I have turned into a bit of a charity (thrift) store queen. All my modern fabrics have been moved into the attic, and I now only ever use recycled and reclaimed fabrics….They tend to be softer to hand embroider. My only weakness for modern fabric is Liberty prints which of course I have to buy from Liberty of London (which is a very good excuse for a day out in Oxford Street and Soho, London!). Threads I buy at festivals or from shops (I like to see the lustre and feel the texture of the threads).

Q: What technique are you really excited about right now? 
A: I recently made a nuno felted scarf and am busy sorting my Blue-Face Leicester and Wensleydale fleece rovings and silk caps to make another, meanwhile I am part-way through a machine-embroidered picture using recycled fabric….And I am altering a vintage French shirt ready to over dye and hand stitch into….Oh and of course there is my rust dyed fabric (very satisfying) that is waiting to be embroidered.

Q: Do you have a blog, website, Flickr, Pinterest etc that you want to share? 
A: I am on Facebook, Blogger, Tumbler, Twitter and of course the very addictive Pinterest.   https://www.facebook.com/ArnoldsAttic  ;  http://www.arnolds-attic.co.uk/ ; http://arnolds-attic.tumblr.com/https://twitter.com/ArnoldsAttic ; http://www.pinterest.com/catherine0161/ 
 
Q: Do you have any unusual talents, or strange or interesting jobs, you can share with us? 
A: I am a Mathematics Tutor by day and stitcher by night. I love the beauty of number and pattern which often works its way into my work. I was also a founding partner of the British based, Quilts4London London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Inspire Project which inspired 17,000 pennants to be made using all forms of textile medium (embroidery, tatting, lace, patchwork, crochet, felting, plus many, many  more), which were given as gifts to each of the athletes of the Olympic & Paralympic 2012 Games, and to the athletes of the Special Olympics in 2013. Lots of hard work for 4 years, but worth it… pennants were made by all ages, all abilities and all textile forms. They arrived from all over the globe. My favourite was the email from a lady in a town called East London in South Africa who was very excited to be making a gift in East London, South Africa for an athlete who would receive it in East London, England.

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