As a needlepointer, I am always looking for ways to create new effects in my stitching. One of my favorite ways is to use different threads. Like many of you I was very excited when Kreinik announced their holographic threads in January 2011. They became popular right off the bat. I decided to give them a real workout in my testing so that you would have the best information possible when using them.
In order to make holographic threads, Mylar (which has a holographic texture) is sliced into very, very thin strips. The more of these strips there are, the more the thread has the “holographic” texture. This means the ribbon, which is all holographic strips, has more of this look than the braids.
Holographic threads have a different texture than non-holographic metallics. They are rougher and more brittle. I found in stitching that bits of thread that had broken would stand up in my stitching. It doesn’t mar your ability to stitch, but it would be good to keep scissors handy to clip these bits off.
Even though the strands are brittle, the thread is not, you will always need to cut the thread from the spool and stretch it gently.
Another characteristic of holographic threads is that they are more holographic as the stitches lengthen. In the mini-sock pictured above you can see that the holographic effect is minimal in the Basketweave hearts and stronger in the longer stitches, both the Diagonal Gobelin stripes and the Straight Gobelin zigzag. When using these threads, plan accordingly.
The coverage with these threads is fantastic. I left several of the stripes and hearts partially unstitched so that you could see that the colors do not show through. That’s a great feature.
Kreinik has brought out 16 colors in their holographic line, and I used the all of them in this piece. What I discovered was interesting and really useful for stitchers. The holographic effect is muted by the darkness of the color. While it is still there in dark colors, such as brown or burgundy, it isn’t obvious. This means that a holographic thread does not have to overwhelm the other textures in the piece. If you want a bold effect, pick bright, loud colors. If you want it to blend in with the other threads in the piece, pick small stitches and darker colors.
The lighting conditions where you view any piece with holographic threads makes an enormous difference in the effect. This is a characteristic of all holographic threads, and not of just Kreinik’s. At night under artificial light the sparkle is very subdued. Outside, in bright sunlight, everything was very sparkly. Inside in daylight, the effect was still there, but wasn’t so overwhelming. Keep the final product and lighting conditions in mind when you use the holographic threads so you won’t be disappointed.
Holographic Ribbon vs. Braid
Because of it’s construction, the holographic ribbons have more of the Mylar film than the braids. Looking at the spools, the braid’s base (i.e. non-metallic) thread is obvious. In the picture above, I have stitched two squares of Basketweave. The one on the left uses ribbon, the one on the right uses the same color in Tapestry (#12) braid.
In sunlight I didn’t see much difference between the two other than the differences from the thread construction. Last night, under artificial light, the braid was slightly darker and had a more metallic and less holographic sheen. The base thread essentially disappears, as it does in all the other Kreinik threads I’ve used. That’s fantastic!
In choosing which holographic thread to use, I would pick entirely by the stitches to be done. If you will be using longer stitches, even if they are mixed with Tent Stitch, I’d pick the ribbon, the seamless look is great. Otherwise the braids are great.
Comparison to Rainbow Gallery’s Holographic Fyre Werks
Rainbow Gallery’s Holo Fyre Werks is also a holographic metallic ribbon. It is slightly wider than the 1/16″ ribbon. The thread is no longer made, but many folks have it in their stashes..
Both threads behave similarly and feel about the same. Thinking about the color range, Rainbow Gallery has a wider selection of metallics (i.e. gold and silver) while Kreinik has a better selection of medium value colors. The two threads are interchangable except for color.
I am really excited about the possibilities of these threads. They are fun to use and have a wonderful range of possibilities. Try some, you’ll find they are great.
FTC Note: The FTC now requires that I disclose the origin of products I review. The Kreinik threads were provided to me free of charge as part of their Designer Program and not for purposes of review. The Rainbow Gallery thread is from my stash as is the In Good Company stocking.