Many people find stitching with metallic threads to be frustrating. The first step is to understand them Then I’ll add some tips to try when these threads become frustrating.
There are three basic constructions used to make metallic threads. The first is chainette. It is like a very long chain of crochet stitches. Pull on it a little and it unravels, making it about half the width it was before. Rainbow Gallery’s Nordic Gold and Gold Rush are both chainette threads.
TIP: If a chainette thread unravels part way do one of two things. 1. Move the needle and cut off the tail before the unraveling. -or- 2. Make every stitch twice through the raveled part. Generally I cut off the end or finish off the thread.
Ribbon metallics are flat. There texture and stitchability runs all over the map. Some, such as Soft Sheen Fyre Werks are very soft and can be treated like non-metallic threads. Others, such as Holographic Fyre Werks or Kreinik’s Holographic ribbons, are very very stiff.
TIP: When using a holographic metallic or other stiff thread, use a larger than normal needle.
Still other metallics, such as Water n’Ice ravel terribly.
TIP: When raveling starts cut off the raveled end. Be sure to cut evenly and rethread. Use shorter than usual stitching lengths. I have heard Thread Zappers work to control this but haven’t tested them yet.
The final type of metallic is braids. Kreiniks non-ribbon threads and Rainbow Gallery’s Treasure Braid are both braids. These come in different sizes numbered by how many strands are in them. The stiffness of these threads varies. In Kreinik’s line the cords (C after the number) and Jap threads (J after the number) are stiffest. In Rainbow Gallery’s line Coronet Braids are stiffest.
TIP: Stiff metallics are harder to use. If at all possible, switch to thread in a similar color that isn’t stiff. If that isn’t possible, pick longer and less complex stitches and use a larger needle. A final possibility is to switch to the next smallest size which might be easier to use.
Depending on the finish some metallics can darken or lose color at the eye of the needle.
TIP: To keep this from happening along the length of the thread, don’t move your needle up the tail as you stitch. Stop stitching and end the thread when the color changes.
In general if you have problems with metallics, do these things (I do the in this order)
1. Switch to a softer thread in the same color. I really like Soft Sheen Fyre Werks because it is so soft but looks like s solid metallic when stitched.
2. Switch to a larger needle. Larger needles open the canvas hole a bit more and make it easier for the thread to pass.
3. Switch to the next smallest size of metallic. This can cause coverage problems, but for many stitches this will work,
What are your tips for success with metallics?