How to use metallics in crazy quilting
By Pat Winter, crazy quilt artist, designer and writer
I am a crazy quilter and I prefer Kreinik Metallic thread for my hand stitched seam treatments. Not only does Kreinik come in a variety of thicknesses, but the color assortment is amazing and fits all my designing needs. The ”vintage” colors are superb and among my favorite because I love to work in Victorian colors.
I first used Kreinik threads over 20 years ago when I combined it with my cotton floss in my cross stitch projects. The sparkle really made the piece come alive. I now use Kreinik metallic threads for my embroidery stitches in my crazy quilt items. Metallic threads make simple stitches stand out.
Is there a difference in thread?
I have tried various metallic threads as I would find them while browsing a quilt booth or new shop thinking they are all the same. I was surprised to find most of them frustrating to work with. They would break with very little pressure, and fray. I always use a sharp needle with a large eye when I hand sew with metallic threads so I was not adding stress by pulling thread through a tight fabric. I use every fabric imaginable in my crazy quilting and I can always depend on Kreinik threads to do the job with ease and no breakage.
Which thread for which design?
In most of my seams I prefer to use Very Fine # 4 braid and Fine #8 braid because it allows me to create small close stitches which I can add several combination stitches with by adding more colors to coordinate with the fabrics I used in the project. This makes a much more interesting seam in Fig. A.
I use Blending Filament to outline a printed image or add it to a silk thread for a sparkle in fig. B.
Cord is great for spider webs and legs of a beaded spider or insect. I also use it for the feather stitch down each dragonfly wing for great detail in fig. C.
Larger seams call for larger threads. For these I use 1/16" Ribbon or Medium #16 Braid in fig. D.
Helpful hints when using metallic threads for hand stitching:
1. Always use a sharp needle with a large eye for smooth sewing and no tugging through fabrics.
2. Unwind a length of 18 inches and pull it through your fingers to unwind before you begin to sew. This relaxes it and it won't wind up on you.
3. I have never had Kreinik metallic thread tangle on me, but if you find this happening, run it through Thread Heaven, a light silicon lubricant or bees wax.