A Biscornu for You

As we approach a busy holiday week, part of a busy holiday month, we want to say thank you to every stitcher, crafter, designer, teacher, retailer, manufacturer, distributor and more — all of the wonderful people we have met and worked with this year. You inspire us with your ideas and creations, and we love making threads for you.

The Kreinik thread factory will be closed from December 22 to January 1 so that our family and staff can enjoy time with their friends and family. We will reopen January 2. In the meantime, enjoy this free Angel Biscornu patter, courtesy of the design team at Praiseworthy Stitches (http://www.praiseworthystitches.com). We haven't had time to stitch the model yet - perhaps we can get a little stitching done during our holiday break. 

Enjoy!

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Designer Profile: Meg Chobanian

One of the benefits of being a thread maker is that we get to meet creative people every day. To see what a designer, teacher, stitcher, or retailer creates out of our thread and their chosen medium…well, it excites, inspires and motivates us here at the Kreinik thread factory. 

We recently met fiber artist Meg Chobanian through a mutual friend, Pamela Armas. Pamela is an amazing, creative person herself, running a doll pattern and fabric business, Treasures of the Gypsy. The Gypsy Doll Challenge is a main, annual exhibit at International Quilt Market, and we have been a sponsor for many years. We love working with Pamela's doll artists and exhibit many of their creations in our booths. When Pamela put us in contact with Meg Chobanian, we immediately wanted to tell you about this unique fiber artist.

First, take a look at the photo galleries on the web site: http://qexpeditions.com/photo_gallery.htm where you will see playful imagination combining color with dimension. One of Meg's themes is to create designs that speak to some childlike part of each viewer, and you can see that wonder and delight in many of her creations.

“I began making doll clothes as soon as I could cut fabric and hold a needle," Meg says. Her grandmother was a turn-of-the-century couturier and her mother was an expert dressmaker. Clearly, she was bound for a creative, textile life.

"I was off and running when I found my first book about quilting. And that has led to art quilts, surface design experiments, teaching, designing and a thread oriented way of life," she adds. Currently she is focusing on using fabric and fibers to create tactile art "somewhere between painting and sculpture." That sounds exciting, and we can't wait to see what Meg creates next. 

Meg distributes her line of patterns through her web site, www.qexpeditions.com, and one of her Internet shops. She also teaches. “I get inspiration from teaching," Meg notes. "It’s rewarding to start a new quilter with the basics and see them so thrilled and caught up in this thing I can share with them.”

We are excited to show photos of these unique dimensional ornaments Meg created for our exhibit at Fall International Quilt Market. They feature Kreinik Iron-on Threads and fabric as a sculptural ornament, rather than a flat, pieced piece. Imagine the creations twirling on your Christmas tree, twinkling in reflection of the holiday lights, fun, playful, child-like. You can almost sense a blend of ages: a child's wonderment with a fiber artist's craftsmanship. 

“I believe there is an almost mystical quality in things created by hand.," Meg says in her Artist's Bio.  "A part of the maker’s spirit must remain in something that takes so many hours of work.  I want each one of my pieces to become someone’s heirloom, to continue the thread of creativity through the generations.  Art is food for the soul of humanity and from the soul of humanity.  Given scraps or hardship we can all still create beauty and goodness with what we have, and each of us can enrich our own corner of the infinite universe by the simple things we can share.”

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Conductive Thread Tips

Thread you may already have at home can make plain gloves technology ready

After 40 years of making threads, we are still learning. Just a few weeks ago, we were so excited about a new specialty item we could bring to you, Conductive Fingertip Yarn. We posted a project online, wrote a blog, shared it on Facebook and Twitter, and started using it ourselves, excitedly making our own gloves conductive. Then a smart stitcher showed us that our normal line of Kreinik Metallic Threads can actually be conductive. No need for a specialty thread - just look in your stash! No need for a drab gray fiber - pick coordinating colors! 

We started testing, and it's true. You can make gloves conductive by adding a "pad" of stitches on the fingertips using Kreinik Metallic Threads. So far in our testing, there are some colors that don't work. However, a bunch of them DO work. Now we are addicted to making gloves conductive using MATCHING thread. With 300+ colors of Kreinik Braids, there is a color to match or complement every glove design. You can be technology ready and fashionable.

Kreinik thread colors that work:
025
024L
018
001L
4205
002
001V
015L
202HL
005L
003
003L
003HL
061
031L
001J

In our testing, the holographic colors worked really well (these carry an "L" after the color number). The pearls and gourmet colors didn't work. We suggest you do some testing with your desired color first, before stitching your project. We like the Fine #8 Braid or Tapestry #12 Braid size for stitching on gloves. 

If you are crocheting/knitting gloves, we suggest overstitching the finger area to create a pad of solid surface. That connects well with the smartphone/tablet surface. If you want to use the metallic as a carry-along, work a double strand into the fingertip area, and make sure the thread appears in as much of a dense, solid surface as possible.

Here's how we made this pair of $1 gloves conductive using Kreinik Metallic Threads:
1. Insert a "darner" or object like a Sharpie pen into the finger to create a sturdy filler.
2. Using Fine #8 Braid and a #24 Tapestry needle, or Tapestry #12 Braid and a #22 Tapestry needle, knot one end of the thread. Put your needle at a starting point, and pull the knot through to the inside (you may need to wiggle the glove fibers a little bit to get the knot to the inside). Begin stitching a pad of straight stitches on the fingertip area. Use satin stitch or straight stitch. 
3. When stitching is finished, stitch a little knot and pull the thread to the inside of the glove. Trim off.

We want to emphasize the fun part here: we have so many colors in our Braids, you can match the conductive fiber to your gloves, or coordinate with your favorite knitting and crochet yarns. We are so excited about this new use of Kreinik metallics. We've just fallen in love with our threads all over again. 

P.S. We are also excited about our new Reflective Yarn, which reflects light from camera flashes and headlights The 25 Days of Free Christmas Projects calendar features a knitted hat and wresters project using the yarn. Click here to check it out.

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The beginning is near

Needlework friends quickly become like family. I can't explain it, but perhaps you know it too. There are many common threads that bind us together.  In my 16+ years working with needlework designers through Kreinik, I can honestly say each one stands out as creative, unique, fabulous, and fun, leaving their own stitch on the tapestry of this world. When one such friend from my early days with Kreinik called recently about a new project for 2013, I was instantly excited — because I knew her; I knew it would be creative, fun and fabulous.

Nan Baker of Purrfect Spots is a cross stitch designer who created one of my favorite all-time designs: Cat Burglar (you can find the pattern on her web site www.purrfectspots.com). I am a cat person, so I loved the humor of the design. It also used Kreinik thread and it became one of the best-selling reasons for a stitcher to buy thread. As most creative people do, Nan expanded her talents to designing needlepoint as well. It was always exciting to see the newest Purrfect Spots By Nan design release.

As most needlework designers do, Nan had a non-needlework-related full-time job.  She was an animal advocate, but specifically, an animal disaster specialist. She introduced me to the pet-loss support program Rainbow Bridge, and shared tales of her travels to disaster areas to take care of the displaced animals. Yes, when a hurricane, tornado, fire or flood hits, animals are in trouble too. They are separated from their owners, their fenced yards are suddenly unfenced, they may be hurt, they may not have food or water. As a member of the Disaster Animal Response Team for the Humane Society of America, Nan went to the disaster areas (you know, the ones you hear about on the news), herding horses, arranging shelter, and reuniting pets. Through Nan I saw the news from the animal perspective. 

Nan prepared me, and thousands of others, to make sure our pets are included in each family's household Disaster Plan. She started the CASEY program, Caring For Animals Safely in Emergencies During the Year. Here is a link for info on the CASEY plan; if you have animals, please read it to get your own Disaster Supply Checklist For Pets: www.purrfectspots.com/thecaseyplan.html 

Nan designs quilt patterns now. The exciting 2013 project is a quilt block-of-the-month in a new online publication, The Quilt Pattern Magazine, at www.quiltpatternmagazine.com. Yes, Nan stays true to her passion and features animals. As she has in the past, Nan patterned with artist Will Bullas, this time to do adaptations of his famous polar bears. You will recognize his endearing animals from posters, greeting cards, calendars and children's books. You can see more of his artwork at www.willbullas.com. (I'm asking Santa for Will Bullas prints for Christmas.)

The fabulous design pictured in this blog is Nan's Cool Yule pillow featuring a Will Bullas polar bear. It is just about as fast and easy as it can get: fusible applique, Kreinik Iron-on thread for embellishments. It was published in the November 2012 issue of Quiltpattern Magazine. Run to the site www.quiltpatternmagazine.com and subscribe; you will get a link to the current issue (a beautiful, colorful, project-ful 58 pages of quilt goodness). Right after Christmas, the block-of-the-month featuring the Bullas Bears will start in Quilt Pattern Magazine. I've seen the quilt; it is a design that men, women, kids, teens, and all ages will love. It will be worth your creative time.

One other message from Nan: The Quilt Pattern Magazine has joined with Petfinder.com to help the animal victims of Hurricane Sandy. It's not just money that is needed; the kennels need blankets and quilts to help keep the animals warm in shelters. All the details are here: http://www.quiltpatternmagazine.com/program/KennelQuilt/. Nan told me, "Please help get that word out. For one of my Christmas gifts, my friend made 3 quilts in my honor to send to the shelters. I was thrilled. Best present ever." This is a perfect time (pardon me, "purrfect") to start your next project as an animal disaster relief project. Gather your friends and make blankets together.

Here's a Thanksgiving toast, to the warmth of friendship, needlework, quilts, and helping others, pets included. I'm thankful for new beginnings too. From small beginnings come great things.

By Dena Lenham

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Small Business of the Year Award goes to…

...Kreinik!  We are so excited: Kreinik Manufacturing Company won the Small Business of The Year Award presented by the Mid-Ohio Valley Chamber of Commerce at a ceremony last week. 

Doug Kreinik accepted the award, an honor that makes us proud especially since we just lost the company's co-founder, Estelle Kreinik, who passed away October 30. The company is in good hands with Jerry and Estelle's son Doug. 

We appreciate the award recognition, as bringing business and growth to the mid-Ohio Valley region has always been a goal. We are proud to be based in Parkersburg, West Virginia, with our threads made in the USA.

Kreinik Manufacturing Company began in 1972 when Jerry and Estelle Kreinik started selling portable cases made by Estelle to hold threads, needles, and stitchery projects. They went on to carry silk and metal threads, then started actually making metallic threads to be used in hand and machine embroidery. One thing led to another, and production moved into a former church building on the south side of Parkersburg. Over the years, son Doug Kreinik has added more colors of Kreinik Blending Filament, Braids, Ribbons, Silk Mori, Silk Serica, Silk Bella, Metallic Machine Sewing Threads, plus needlework tools and embellishments. 

For more about Kreinik the company, visit www.kreinik.com/about_us.html
You can find Kreinik threads and products in retail stores (http://www.kreinik.com/store_locator.htm), online stores (Search Kreinik on Google), and on www.kreinik.com.

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Estelle Kreinik

 By her son, Doug Kreinik

A super mom that is what we lost. An educator, entrepreneur, inventor, manager, mom, grandmother, friend and a very strong independent woman.  She taught us that you could do anything, be anything, and make a difference.

She would ask, "What is the difference between hot water and steam?"  The answer: one degree.  If you make life one degree better for the next person, you will make a difference.  She approached her teaching, her business and her life in that way.

She was a woman of determination, believed in a diverse environment, and loved to cook ethnic foods to find out what made the stomachs of the world happy.   She took classes in history, language, bread baking and knitting. Estelle was fluent in French, studied art and loved textiles.

Born in New York City to the late Dorothy Friedman Stack and JB Stack 94 years ago, she enjoyed the community of many cousins, aunts and uncles. She married Jerry Kreinik and loved him for 65 years.  They had three sons: Ted married to Arlene (Connecticut), Douglas married to Myla (Parkersburg ), and Andrew married to Jacqueline (Baltimore).

Estelle and Jerry were proud and often amazed at the effect of their business ideas.  Kreinik Mfg, the business created out of desperation because of lack of work, became the industry leader espousing the use of silk and metallic threads in embroidery and stitchery.  She was always willing to help friends and associates make their businesses and the industry better.  They won many awards including the much coveted TEN (The Excellence in Needlework Award) from industry members.  Estelle created the first needlework organizer on the market as a solution for the problem of her threads being all over the car when traveling. She used all of her learnings in clothing, language, accounting, customer service and leadership to make a difference in the family business.  

In her move after Jerry's death, people were amazed that a woman 93 years old would just up and leave to live in an independent senior village in Baltimore.  But Mom thrived there.  She met men and woman whose lives had made a difference and who were diverse. The residents as well as the staff loved her.  

She told me in her last days that there were a few things in life that she regretted.  1. That of not convincing Jerry to move to Broadmead in Baltimore five years ago where she had spent a wonderful year.  2. Having missed the big "barn sale" at the senior village were she was looking forward to getting some good deals,  and  3. Not being able to vote on election day with her lady friends.  She felt very strongly about the right to vote.  

She loved life and loved her grandchildren, Julie, Danielle and husband Jon, Charles and Zach.

If you would like to make a donation in her honor, send to Helping Hands at http://www.needleartsmentoring.org/, or the Parkersburg Foundation under the Kreinik Fund http://www.pacfwv.com/

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How to pick a primitive palette

Have you been thinking about using silk threads for a sampler? It is a good choice; silk was the thread most often used in sampler stitching over the last few centuries. It is strong, easy to use, and has a beautiful sheen. 

Kreinik Silk Mori (a floss), Silk Serica (a pearl-cotton-size), and Silk Bella (a super-fine size) are three different weight, or sizes, of silk thread available from Kreinik. You can get them on standard sized spools or large cones/skeins. They come in more than 175 colors. 

To some, 175 colors may not sound like enough. To others, especially those just starting to use silk, it's overwhelming. No problem; here we will show you how to get started:

1. Pick a starter thread assortment like one of our Silk Home Decor Collections. You get a small collection of silk colors with minimal investment. The "antique" set is particularly synonymous with the primitive look, but you can also go with a brighter group if you prefer. Here are links to sets from which to pick:

2. Narrow the 175 down to primitive, shaker, antique, or "sampler" style colors (see the list below) Print a copy and take it to your favorite independent needlework store, or visit one of the many online shops that carry Kreinik Silk Threads. Look for "half-skeins", or 2.5-meter skeins to start your collection. Choose these colors in Silk Mori for cross stitch, applique, and hand embroidery, or Silk Serica for Hardanger, needlepoint and crazy quilting. Note: Silk Bella is perfect for small details in all techniques, but doesn't come in as large of a color range as Mori and Serica.


1093 Light Wood Violet
1094 Medium Wood Violet
1096 Dark Wood Violet
1098 Wood Rose
1119 Garnet
2014 Medium Gold
2016 Dark Gold
2017 Very Dark Gold
3063 Light Henna
3065 Dark Henna
4074 Medium Dusty Green
4076 Dark Dusty Green
4077 Very Dark Dusty Green
4203 Light Sage
4204 Medium Sage
4206 Dark Sage
4212 Lightest Avocado
4215 Medium Dark Avocado
4216 Dark Avocado
5057 Very Dark Slate Blue
5107 Very Dark Cerulean
6123 Light Dusty Lavender
6124 Medium Dusty Lavender
6216 Dark Dusty Lavender
6127 Very Dark Dusty Lavender
6204 Medium Dusty Plum
6205 Dark Dusty Plum
6207 Very Dark Dusty Plum
7012 Lightest Lead Grey
7014 Medium Lead Grey
7024 Antique Parchment
7025 Parchment
7086 Dark Straw
7087 Very Dark Straw
7126 Ecru
7134 Medium Bark
7135 Medium Dark Mocha
7136 Dark Mocha
7166 Dark Brown Black
7173 Light Honey
7174 Medium Honey
7175 Medium Dark Honey
7183 Light Sable
8050 Black
8075 Medium Dark Charcoal
8077 Very Dark Charcoal
8086 Dark Gray
All of the Milkpaint color range (the color numbers begin with "0")

3. Get a silk color card and use it to match silk colors to an antique sampler. Then once you have your list, you can order just what you need. Here is the link to the Kreinik Silk Thread color card, which has actual thread swatches.

Don't be intimidated by silk threads; stitchers have been using it successfully for centuries. Your fingers will be spoiled by its softness, your mind will be impressed at its strength and durability, and your eyes will delight at the beautiful, natural sheen. For the price of a small skein or spool of silk, it's worth a try.

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Stitching tips from the experts: You

A stitcher posted a question about Blending Filament on our Facebook page recently, and the wonderful community of stitchers chimed in with helpful suggestions. Facebook is wonderful for sharing and discussing, and we welcome all comments and questions. Come on over to our page and "like" us at
 www.Facebook.com/Kreinik.Manufacturing.Company.


Here are some of the tips in response to the question, "How do you keep a metallic from breaking?" It looks like the most important factors are: adjusting tension, using shorter lengths, and making sure you have the right needle. 

  • Shorter threads and larger eyed needle - don't pull too tight and slow down — Bev F.
  • Stitch slower, and use shorter threads. — Karen C.
  • Use a larger needle so that the thread won't get worn from rubbing on the ground fabric. — Beth V.
  • Definitely use shorter lengths! — Anita C.
  • Thread Heaven and short lengths. — Emily W.
  • I always use shorter strands and I lightly wet it with a sponge and that helps a lot. — Anne K.
  • Change your needle - your needle might have a burr in the eye that is wearing the metallic down and you might want to switch to a slightly larger needle - it'll make the hole bigger as you pass the thread through the fabric, making it easier for the metallic to pass through the fabric. — Erica K.
  • Use a wider eye needle this way there is no fraying as you pull it back and forth thru the fabric. — Denise S.
  • I have found using short lengths of thread helps out a lot with the breakage. Instead of Thread Heaven (I have never used it so I have no opinion on it), I just used a damp cloth to dampen the thread and it works wonderfully for me. Also, after every couple of stitches I let my needle and thread untwist by holding my fabric upside down and letting the needle and thread dangle on its own and it untwists for me. — Dawn T.
  • Short lengths, don't pull through the fabric too tight, and maybe a needle with a slightly wider eye…Be gentle and patient with it. — Steff W.
  • I use the Japanese needles with any of the metallic threads - the round eye helps with the fraying. Shorter lengths as previously said and keeping your fingers over the eye so the thread slips less. Then tension - then gentle but firm in your handling. — Robin B.
  • Continually twist your needle with each stitch as you go, which will keep it from twisting then breaking. One of my teachers said this is a Japanese embroidery technique. So, for each stitch or two, twist the needle in your fingers a rotation. Then as you go, in between stitches, keep twisting as you pull it out. You will find your thread rarely breaks if you do this. — Mary M.
  • Watch your tension - I've never had an issue with it breaking. Also use shorter lengths and Thread Heaven (thread conditioner). — Susanne C.
  • Use much shorter lengths to prevent so many twists and the wear and tear on the thread as you sew which can cause it to get caught. — Katrina S.
  • With the Blending Filament, I have found that using shorter lengths helps in keeping the filament strong. It means threading a needle a few more times, but the fewer passes through the fabric you make, the less tugging you are doing on the thread… — Carolyn M.
  • Thread Heaven, short lengths and let the thread "untwist" almost every stitch. — Judy K.
  • With Blending Filament, you can sometimes do all of the stitches without it and then just stitch the blending filament on top. Neat thing about that is that it really sparkles and it isn't twisted with the other thread. — Christine F.
For more about Blending Filament in particular, visit these pages:

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My hotel is purple

Russia is quite a different experience for me. The color of buildings, the gregariousness of the people, the rushing, the waiting, and the massive traffic jams—all these things make up the city that Muscovites inhabit. I just returned from a teaching trip to Moscow, and the days were as busy as the city itself.

On my final day in this cosmopolitan center, I spent 5 hours walking through the central city along the rings that make up the traffic circles. How shall I describe it? "Too many cars, park where you can, and traffic traffic traffic."  I saw the statues celebrating authors, playwrights and generals.  Remnants of the USSR are everywhere with the hammer and sickle on building and in the subways. Little stores are found in passageways under the streets and down dark staircases. There are many farmers' markets vending fresh fish, meats, honey and vegetables.  The smells of roasting food, fast food and sweets are everywhere.  

Foods are my hobby, and eating in Russia for me was a foodie paradise. I had a very special herring dish, described as "Under the Fur Coat - chopped herring covered with beets and chilled." I enjoyed salmon shashlik with fries, current/cranberry pie, pickles and more pickles and of course, what every russian consumes, Vodka.  This Vodka was cloudy and flavored with horseradish juice.  I found it to be spicy hot in flavor and quite tasty during and after the many toasts to health, business, families, our pets and anything else that came to mind.  We accompanied this with glasses of raspberry juice and mead.  I enjoyed the salmon soup, the chicken noodle and the Russian traditional soups.  I do not eat beef , so i did not have the borscht. Honey was abundant this time of year as well as a variety of teas (chi) and lots of espresso.  

Traveling to the consumer craft show, we rode by car.  A 35-minute ride took three hours down and two hours back. Since traveling overseas can be quite exhausting, the car ride was a great way to catch up on sleep.  The last day, however, i rode the subway and the train, which proved to be a better way to travel in this city.

The consumer show had crafts from all over the country, from traditional embroideries, crochet and pieced quilts to stitched and beaded icons, large origami designs, jewelry, sewing, felting, doll making, and of course decoupage.  The most amazing products were racks of decorative paper napkins.  These are purchased as inexpensive designs for decoupage. The crochet was made from very bright colors.  There were felted bags, hats and lots of slippers.  And of course there were food vendors selling traditional pierogi in the shapes of rabbits, pigs and fish.

I taught two master classes, the second being a sell-out.  Even though I spoke no Russian except Dah and Nyet we all understood each other, including a few jokes which I slipped in on Anton, my interpreter.  I introduced many ideas in stitchery that we have used and taught in the US for years.  They were a great, patient audience.  I am looking forward to returning.  First though, I want to learn the Russian alphabet.

by Doug Kreinik

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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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