Free knitting projects using Kreinik Reflective Yarn

 Free knitting projects using Kreinik Reflective Yarn

Designed by Lisa M. Barnes, LMB Designs

Oh the weather outside is frightful, at least throughout most of the US, where a cold front is keeping temperatures below freezing. What we all need is a good, warm knitted hat. This one features Kreinik's Reflective Yarn, making it visible at night when caught in car headlights or camera flash (oh the paparazzi!).

The designer, Lisa Barnes, had a little fun with placement of the reflective accents. By day, this hat and matching wristers appear to be a harmless fair isle pattern. But by night, glowing eyes appear, as if by magic! Well, ok, it's the Reflective Yarn worked into the pattern, but how cool is that twist-on-the-usual.

Have fun knitting these warm and cozy projects!

This hat is worked in the round from the brim to the crown, using double-pointed needles, two circular needles, or one long circular needle (for the “magic loop” method). The reflective “eyes” are created using duplicate stitch.

Lisa founded LMB Designs to design knitwear for people and pets. Her creations have included felted purses, wire jewelry, and shrugs and wraps. Her pet designs have included a formal gown for a German Shepherd and a tuxedo for a Chihuahua.


Kreinik Q&A: Japan Threads

5 things to know about this beautiful thread

"I have Kreinik Japan recommended to me for a card weaving project. However, I don't understand how the numbers work; I know it has to do with thread weight, but I don't know if smaller numbers are heavier or lighter. Any instruction you can give me would be helpful." — emailed question

You may have the same question as this stitcher — what do Japan thread numbers mean? Does a larger number mean heavier thread? We answer these questions and more here, in 5 Things To Know About Kreinik Japan Threads. 

1. Basic Kreinik Japan Threads come in three sizes: 
  • Japan #1
  • Japan #5
  • Japan #7
  • Smooth, bright, and shiny, they give the look of stitching with real metals. 
  • Japan #1 comes on spools. Japan #5 and #7 are available on spools or skeins.

2. The smaller the number, the thinner the thread:
  • Kreinik Japan #1 is super fine, very thin, the thinnest.
  • Kreinik Japan #5 is slightly thicker. 
  • Kreinik Japan #7 is thicker than #5.

3. Stitch with one, couch the others:
  • Japan #1 is a passing thread; stitch through fabric as you would a sewing thread. 
  • Japan #5 and #7 are gimps, or wrapped threads, and therefore couched onto the surface rather than sewn in and out of fabric. The metallic foil is wrapped around a core fiber, so if you stitch and and out with Japan #5 and #7, the wrapping may separate or come off.
  • Japan #5 and #7 can be couched singly or multiple strands at a time for unique effects. Couch with a matching color of Japan #1, or a contrasting color of metallic or silk thread depending on the look you want to achieve.

4. Kreinik also makes Japan Threads in Braids and Ribbons:
  • This gives stitchers/weavers/fiber-artists more Japan Thread textures (ie, creative options). A Japan Thread in Kreinik Tapestry #12 Braid, for instance, looks like a checked or serpentine metal thread. 
  • They are thicker, stiffer, and more texturized than the basic Japan Threads.
  • Popular in needlepoint, counted thread, crazy quilting, temari, crochet, and surface embroidery techniques. 
  • Look for a "J" after the color number, as in 002J or 001J.
  • The smaller the Braid number, the smaller the thread. Kreinik Very Fine #4 Braid is the thinnest Braid, for example, and Fine #8 Braid is twice as thick as #4 Braid.

5. Kreinik Japan Threads are easier to care for than their historical counterparts:
  • This generation of Japan Thread is synthetic and thus less expensive and more readily available than real metal threads.
  • They have a percentage of real metal, but are non-tarnishing. 
  • You can dry clean needlework made with Kreinik Japan Threads.

Side note on couching Japan Threads: A squared-off spool known as a Koma is often used to hold the thicker Japan Threads or other couching threads as you stitch. The Koma won't roll off like round spools, and you can unwind thread as you couch. See our blog "Need Another Pair of Hands?" for more details (and a good couching illustration):

In case you missed it, check out an earlier blog about using Japan Threads with ideas from other stitchers:


Reflections on a Reflective Thread

There's a new kid in town. Kreinik recently introduced Reflective Yarn to the knitting community and the buzz is spreading. It is the #2 top seller on, where it was used in three Christmas and winter-themed projects in December. The fiber will be featured in the Spring 2013 issue of Creative Knitting magazine (on sale February 2013); also see this link Designer Karen Ratto-Whooley is debuting a knitted hat pattern at the February 2013 TNNA Long Beach trade show (so look for it in stores shortly after). It has been tweeted, retweeted, blogged, Flickr'd, and Facebooked. Not a bad start for a little novelty yarn. 

What is it?

Kreinik Reflective Yarn is a carry-along fiber with light-reflecting properties. It's part polyester and part glass beads (which gives it a sort of mesmerizing, holographic effect in addition to making it reflective). In knitting, it is meant to be a carry-along fiber. As a matte-gray color, it blends neutrally into other yarns. However, with a camera flash or car light, the project/design becomes luminously lit. Use it for adding reflective stripes or patterns to dog sweaters, purses, hats, scarves, wrist bands, headbands, and other garments. 

Being thread-centric here at Kreinik, we liked the fiber for the special effect properties, and the fact that it complements so many other threads and yarns. Needleworkers have been combining materials to create unique, custom looks for centuries, so this is just a new high-tech fiber for our generation.

Where can you use a Reflective Yarn? 

So far it has worked beautifully in crochet, knitting and cross stitch. Take a look and download these free projects:

This week we are playing with it in needlepoint. Based on early test stitching (stitches recommended by our fans on, we think there are many possibilities.

For example, we used it in the cross-stitch area of Criss-Cross Hungarian (using Silk Serica and Reflective Yarn). It offered a pretty, subtle look. It would be good for night sky backgrounds on needlepoint canvases.

Then we combined it with one strand of black Silk Mori for French Knots. It looked pretty good. Using it alone in French Knots, there was a bit of fraying along the strand. Stick with using it as a carry-along and you shouldn't have a problem with abrasion from so many twists and turns of a French Knot section. It is not as strong as our Braids, so use it in stitches that don't require a lot of tension.

Algerian eyelets and Smyrna crosses? Very cool! Use it as a carry-along fiber with Kreinik Very Fine #4 Braid on 18-mesh canvas, or with any of the larger Kreinik Braids on the bigger needlepoint canvases. It works beautifully in combination stitches - try the filament Silk Serica on the bottom with Reflective Yarn as top stitches. The luminosity of the Reflective Yarn goes perfectly with the natural luminescence of filament silk. See our swatch for our doodles.

The Kreinik Reflective Yarn is about the size of our Very Fine #4 Braid, so use that as a guide in determining your coverage needs. Be careful carrying the thread in the back of your work - the backside of your stitches may illuminate through the open canvas.

A 25-yard spool will go a long way, so it's perfect for wearable needlepoint projects and accessories. See the list of suggestions below to get started. Use it in designs that are going to see light reflection, like dog collars worn at night, and shoes.

Ideas for using Reflective Yarn in needlepoint:
• dog collars
• belts
• shoes
• handbags
• purse-style wallets
• ornaments
• jewelry

In needlepoint, specialty threads are all about adding color and "special effects" to make designs exciting and life-like. For example:  glow-in-the-dark, holographic, fuzzy, metallic threads all add dimensional dynamics to designs. In the same way, this Reflective Yarn is perfect for creating realism and, well, a "special effect" in particular motifs. Here are some ideas for using it in particular design themes.

Use Reflective Yarn in designs of:
• cat's whiskers
• eyeglasses
• drinking glass
• street lamps
• car, train, bus etc headlights
• joggers
• bicycles
• football players (helmets)
• windows
• celestial themes

We will keep stitching and playing, and hope you will enjoy this fun new novelty yarn in your own creations too. Email us or share photos on our Twitter or Facebook pages.


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News direct from thread maker Kreinik Mfg. Co., Inc., located in Parkersburg, West Virginia. Visit our factory outlet store when you are in the area; call for hours 1-800-537-2166.

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