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Silk Needlepoint Thread - Five Stitching Tips
We know that stitching with silk needlepoint thread can be tricky so we invited Kreinik Manufacturing (makers of SIlk Mori and Silk Serica needlepoint threads) to write an article with some tips for making this easier...
Silk needlepoint threads are among the most beautiful fibers you can use in clothing, draperies, and needlework. This natural fiber gives a brighter sheen, offers richer colors, and transforms even a basic design into something more beautiful.
Needleworkers have been using silk threads for centuries, and today you have the opportunity to experience this versatile fiber for your own projects. Here are a few tips and
techniques from the staff at thread-maker Kreinik Manufacturing Company to get you started happily stitching with silk.
1. Cover the rough edges of your canvas before you begin
stitching. It is a small step with huge dividends; your beautiful silk
thread will be ruined if you snag it on jagged edges. Simply cover
needlepoint canvas edges with tape, or turn fabric edges under with a
running stitch. If you are also using wooden stretcher bars to hold your
canvas, sand away any burrs or chipped spots.
2. To keep silk needlepoint thread (or any thread) from snagging on rough skin, simply get
into the habit of using a hand cream. A natural, non-greasy cream is
safer when handling fibers and will make handwork much more pleasurable.
Doug Kreinik, owner of the Kreinik thread company, uses a homemade olive
oil mixture to moisturize his hands. He loves to cook so there is always
olive oil at home, and his hands stay smooth while working with all of
those colorful Kreinik fibers all day. So just get into the moisturizing
habit; your hands will look younger, feel soft, and your stitching will
3. Don't just pick up any needle you find in your pincushion and start
using it with your sublime silk fibers. Needles - and needle size -
matter more in making a thread "behave" than any other factor. A needle
with too-small of an eye or a nick in the eye will cause a thread to
fray. A rusty needle can discolor fabric and thread, and also cause
abrasion on your ground material which will tear up your thread. A
needle that is too thin won't open the hole in the canvas enough to let
the thread pass through easily. When stitching with a smooth and
lustrous fiber like silk, use a quality, clean needle that is large
enough to accommodate the thread.
4. Maximize the natural luster of your silk needlepoint thread by avoiding short cuts. That is,
don't rush it. We all want to stitch quickly and get the instant
gratification of a finished project. However, impatience never creates
beautiful needlework. You spend money on the canvas, threads, finishing,
not to mention give your time in placing each stitch, so slow down and
enjoy the experience. For example, use short lengths (like 15 to 18
inches) to reduce the number of passes through the canvas and thus keep
the thread from looking worn. Let your needle dangle every so often to
undo the natural twisting that occurs during handwork and thus avoid
knotting. Lay your stitches neatly and evenly to maximize coverage and
thus offer more surface for the beautiful light reflection of silk.
5. Don't fear the cleaner. We often think of silk as being delicate, but
it is actually one of the strongest of all natural fibers. Silk also has
a reputation for being high-maintenance, often due to a 'dry clean only'
label. In reality, yes, you want to clean your silk (silk blouses, silk
draperies, silk stitchery) carefully to maintain a long and lustrous
life. Dry cleaning is recommended for optimum maintenance, but this care
and cost factor shouldn't deter you from using silk. You know how
disappointing it is when you wash a silk blouse and it loses its luster;
it is worth the effort and money to care for your possessions and
creations. Unless you have created a silk-needlepointed blouse, most
likely you won't need to have your project dry cleaned often. Unless you
stitched outside while gardening in the dirt, your needlework should
start out clean. Simply interview your local dry cleaner on how they
clean heirlooms to find someone you can trust. Can you wash silk? While
dry cleaning is preferable, you can hand wash most silk in lukewarm
water with a mild, natural soap. However, no thread on this earth is
completely colorfast, so do a spot test. Also keep in mind that water,
heat, agitation from a washing machine, wringing, or friction with other
textiles can all dull the natural luster of your dreamy silk.
Silk is a natural fiber with a translucent cellular structure, which
allows it to absorb dyes deeply and to reflect light to a high degree,
giving the finished project a pure color and a beautiful luster. When
worked in needlepoint, cross stitch, quilting, and embroidery, silk has
a bright sheen unrivaled by other threads. Its loft provides voluminous
coverage, and its softness spoils your fingers. Silk needlepoint threads can be used
in all stitches, in all types of needlework, to make all projects
brighter, more colorful, richer-looking, and simply more beautiful. So
relax, use these easy tips, and treat yourself to silk thread for your
For more information:
The family-owned Kreinik Manufacturing Company has been producing
premium quality silk threads for needlework since 1972, when Estelle
Kreinik set out to make beautiful fibers more readily available for
stitchers. Today Kreinik offers a beautiful, large color range in
several sizes/weights. Color charts, project ideas, and more on silk
threads can be found at www.kreinik.com.
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