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.

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