If you love the look of metallic threads but sometimes find them hard to work with, then hopefully this video tutorial will help you to “see the light.” I was really fortunate to have been contacted by Kreinik, a family-operated thread manufacturer in the US, and they sent me some sample threads to play with. I had heard of Kreinik and seen all the little glorious spools of metallics in needlework shops, but up until then I hadn’t actually stitched with them. I was delighted that their metallic threads are very easy to use (and look stunning), and in the video below I demonstrate how to use some of their braids and the blending filament in your projects.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission (such as from Amazon). Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality, and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. I would never recommend something I wouldn’t use myself. 🙂
Types of metallic threads
In the video I show #4 braid, #8 braid, and the blending filament. Kreinik has an extensive range of other threads (including for sewing machines), cords, ribbons, etc, so do experiment with them if you love shiny threads.
Tips for metallic threads
In the short video below you’ll see how easy the Kreinik threads are to stitch with. Here are some tips I mention in the video, and a few others. These tips apply to not only the Kreinik threads, but any metallic threads.
- use shorter strands than you would with cotton embroidery floss
- using a bigger needle can help the thread slide through the fabric more easily
- stitch more slowly than normal
- using the sewing method of stitching can result in your thread twisting and knotting more easily
- you can untwist the thread and help it lie flatter by running it across a damp sponge before use
- don’t place your iron directly on the metallic thread, have a tea towel or thin piece of fabric between the iron and the thread
- don’t steam your pieces if they contain metallic threads (steam is hotter than dry heat)
- use a thread lubricant like Thread Magic if desired
And one tip specifically for the Kreinik braid (in the video I show the fine #4 braid) — don’t try and separate the strands. It’s braided together, you don’t separate strands like you would with embroidery floss or DMC’s Light Effects metallic threads. That’s one reason Kreinik’s braids tend to be easier to stitch with, it’s one thicker “strand”. The #4 braid is roughly equivalent in coverage to 2 strands of DMC embroidery floss.
And one more tip that’s not in the video — Kreinik blending filament has a “core” strand to give it stability and strength. Although some stitchers do remove this core, it’s not recommended as it weakens the thread.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to let me know below! And if you’d like more tips and tricks about Kreinik threads, check out Kreinik’s YouTube channel here.
Want to see more recommendations of stitching materials and tools, as well as stitchy books? Head to the Peacock & Fig Amazon page! 😀
I am stitching the mammoth Mar-Bek 5-panel nativity. It’s an old pattern that has a good bit of metallic and has Balger colors. I realize Balger is now Kreinik. The instructions say all stitches are to be two ply. My questions are: what Kreinik type would be the equivalent of the Balger in the instructions-#4 braid or what? That’s what I am using, but 2 ply seems too thick of a stitch compared to the surrounding 2 ply DMC cotton stitches, but 1 ply of the Kreinik #4 seem a little too thin compared too the surrounding cotton stitches. I thought about using 2 ply Kreinik blending filament, but I already bought all the colors of the Kreinik #4 braid. Any thoughts? I might just have to live with the slight difference between the 1 ply Kreinik and the 2 ply DMC.
Hi Ed! You never double up Kreinik, you’d just use a different thickness. #4 braid is similar in density to 2 strands of embroidery cotton floss, and #8 braid is double that thickness. In my patterns where I indicate Kreinik and DMC, it’s always two strands of DMC alongside #4 braid. Unfortunately I’m not familiar with that nativity pattern and I’ve never heard the term Balger before. The blending filament is meant to be used in conjunction with cotton embroidery floss, like say one strand of floss and one of blending filament, or two strands of floss and one of filament, etc, you put them in your needle together and use them as you would two strands of DMC alone. The blending filament just adds a little sparkle, it’s not meant to be used on its own, it doesn’t have the strength for that. Your instincts are right, use the #4 braid with two strands of DMC, the density is a little different but that’s partially because of the difference between cotton and the metals that Kreinik uses. Hope that helps! 🙂
What is the software that you have showing on your computer for this video? Is it what you use to make your own cross stitch designs?
Hi Natalie! Yes, most of my cross stitch patterns were made using that software, it’s called MacStitch (the PC version is called WinStitch). They’re put out by Ursa Software, it’s great to use, and has a free demo you can download to experiment with (you just can’t save or print with the demo I believe). 🙂
Where do you buy the Kreinik metallic threads? Our local Michael’s and Joanns don’t have it.
Hi Sue! You can order it online if those shops don’t carry it (sometimes the big chains will carry it, sometimes they won’t). 123stitch.com carries it, as does chartingcreations.com. Also on Kreinik’s site they have a short list of some local needlework shops that sell it, so you could call around your area to see if anyone has it. You’re more likely to find it in a needlework shop than in a big craft store, or online. 🙂 http://www.kreinik.com/shops/
Will putting a (quality wooden) hoop over top of areas stitched with Kreinik #4 permanently damage the Kreinik?
Hi Shelly! It shouldn’t, I’ve moved a hoop over Kreinik and it seemed fine. Just try to be careful to not put too much friction between the stitching and the hoop if you need to tighten up the fabric, but yeah, it’s not super fragile and doesn’t catch easily like silks do. 🙂
I have been cross stitching for more than 50 years and I use the cross country method mostly with some parking. I think a metallic tip that I found might be helpful. Lightly coat about 3/4 of inch of both ends of thread with clear nail polish this holds the thread together and keeps down untwisting. Metallic threads will even untwist after they have been run under. I use this for rayon also since it is more unruly than metallic. I have found working the stab method is very helpful with both metallic and rayon I also complete each stitch before going to the next. It helps the finished look. This also works really well for variegated. You will love the fine linen fabrics they are easier to work on than Aida. I seldom use Aida anymore I love the linens so much. I do a lot of very advanced charts with beads and specialty threads. If I can help you in anyway feel free to contact me by email. Really glad to see that someone else works the way I do.
Those are some great tips Denise, thanks very much! And yes, linen is sooo lovely, I’ve just ordered a yard of some gorgeous Zweigart Cashel linen for an upcoming project, it’s so nice to stitch on. 🙂
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[…] Kreinik metallic threads: metallic floss for cross stitch and embroidery […]
I use DMC threads and I have a pattern that uses silver and light effects. The pattern is done in two threads so I have been using one folded. I tried this last night with the light effects and the thread splits, leaving broken metallic bits, this also doesn’t allow the thread to lay down properly. It is so stiff and hard to work with.
Hi Sharon! Yes, the light effects can be tricky to work with. I wouldn’t use them folded, it encourages the floss to break. Here’s a tutorial I did specifically on the Light Effects, hopefully that helps. If it’s still making you nuts, switch to Kreinik, it really is a ton easier to work with. 🙂 https://peacockandfig.com/2016/02/metallic-thread-cross-stitch-embroidery/
Two questions – my pattern uses the blending filament.
1. Should I stitch the bottom stitch plain and then blend the top with the filament?
2. Should I stitch using the filament first or last or it doesn’t matter?
Hi Venessa! The filament is meant to be blended with your main floss colour (thus the name blending filament). I have a tutorial specifically for blending threads here if you like — https://peacockandfig.com/2017/02/blending-threads-cross-stitch/. But, some people find it hard to stitch with a slippery thread mixed with embroidery floss, so they’ll do the main colour first with one strand, and then overstitch the same area with the blending filament. I’d do the main colour first, otherwise all that pretty shine could end up buried under your main colour. Hope that helps! 🙂