What is a Japan Thread?

We recently introduced four fabulous new colors in Kreinik Japan #7 thread. That prompted a few questions, such as: What is a Japan Thread, and how do you use it?

A Japan Thread is a gimp, meaning a wrapped thread. Historically, Japan Threads began with gold, silver and copper pounded down to a thin leaf, then wrapped around a core fiber and couched on fabric for surface embroidery embellishment. Today Kreinik makes Japan Threads that have a percentage of real metal in them, but are primarily synthetic so that they are long-lasting, non-tarnishing, inexpensive, and easy to use. They have a beautiful, bold, bright finish that resembles real metal.

How do you use a Japan Thread? Since it is a wrapped thread, needleworkers couch it onto a fabric or canvas rather than stitch in and out of the ground material. Couch with a coordinating color of very thin Cord, filament, or Japan #1 size. For interest, couch with a contrasting color of silk thread; just think of the beautiful patterns you can create.

You can also use Japan Threads for other techniques as well, such as cord making, tassel making, crochet and knitting (as a carry along thread), temari, Japanese embroidery, and crazy quilting. We asked our friends on the Kreinik Facebook page what they would do with Japan thread, and here are their creative ideas:

  • Barbara V: I love adding Japan thread to my crochet yarn for that subtle sparkle. Though other times I do a surface crocheted slip stitch to add some glitz when the piece is almost finished.
  • Beth V: I love these colors for my canvas work!
  • Suzanne W: I think these would be awesome in a halloween needlepoint!
  • Cindy W: Love adding color and sparkle to my cross stitch pieces.
  • Carleen M: They would make spring flowers sparkle in an embroidery project!
  • DeAnn C: Ribbon Candy Stripes!!!!
  • Heather S: use it for sparkle in my fantasy cross stitch of my dragon
  • Erica K: I've got a Japanese kimono needlepoint canvas that is just dying for a fibre like that.....
  • Terri P: Definitely would use in a modern-styled personal sampler -- to add both drama and light to the story of my life!
  • Robin B: accents in crazy quilting embroidery!
  • Julie O: I'd like to use it as an accent in both my crochet and cross stitch. It would be gorgeous used to accent a pair of my daughter's capri's too!
  • Linda K: Beautiful colors...look delicious, would use in canvas embroidery. Am designing my own these days and would love to try them in my newest floral design.
  • Jane W: I would use some of the colors in a border. Wouldn't that be a marvelous finishing touch?
  • Carol Y: I've got an abstract needlepoint canvas awaiting just this type of thread! Love them! Want to stitch with them!
  • Lynn M: I would use it to enhance my stitching
  • Alessandra D: I would use it to illuminate my embroidery
  • Doris D: I would blend floss and/or replace floss with Japan Threads to make my stitching projects stand out!!
  • Connie T: I would use it with my cross stitching to give the piece some dazzel.
  • Cheryl S: I would use these threads on my Christmas ornaments that I needlepoint to give them that extra pizzazz. I have in fact already used the Kreinik Japan Gold in several of my ornaments and would really enjoy using other Kreinik Japan's bright colors in my needle pointing.
  • Bev F: My family calls my using Kreinik threads in all my cross stitch -- "bev-ing it" --Cause I like sparkle and shine.
  • Laura B: I would couch these threads to show off their true beauty, simply anchor them down in an ornate monogram for gifts to family and friends.
  • Dee C: I would highlight my stitches enhancing my project! I love using Kreinik!!!!!!!
We love the word "illuminate" to describe why you would use a metallic like Japan Thread in needlework; the beautiful color and metallic sheen adds so much interest to a project. Have fun and experiment with these threads.

To buy Japan Threads, visit your local needlework store, your favorite online store, or www.kreinikmall.com. Join us on Facebook to share ideas, photos, thread give-aways, and behind-the-scenes news from Kreinik. Click here to friend us on Facebook.

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