Thursday, October 08, 2009

Using Blending Filament: A Pumpkin and a Cross

I first saw blending filament in a shop that was mostly counted X-Stitch in about 1986. At that time, it was known as "Balger Blending Filament" and was used by the cross stitchers to add a bit of sparkle to their work.

I had refused, in the past, to design Christmas ornaments, as Persian wool and cotton floss were all we had for needlepoint, and tree ornaments need glitter and sparkle and shine - or at least one of the above.

Anyway, I had an "aha!" moment, and decided it might do as well for needlepoint with cotton floss - so I used a X-stitch chart of a peach, and since needlepoint on 18 mesh canvas requires 4 plies, and X-stitch this size only 2, it seemed only reasonable to go ahead and double the strand of blending filament along with the floss - and it worked! I had a peach in needlepoint with sparkles!!!

For anyone who hasn't seen my little method of using cotton floss so that the plies stay put and don't go anywhere, I simply open out the entire skein, then put the two ends together and fold it over three times, cutting the loops on the ends. This leaves a rather long thread - even doubled, it seems long, (19") but it doesn't fray, and is sooooo easy to use this way. I simply take off two plies and double them, and thread the loop through the eye of the needle - and then make a slip knot against the eye. Very easy stitching, as everything stays put.

The illustrations are showing the floss including the blending filament, which I cut to the 38" length before doubling the entire strand for threading. Stitching with the needle threaded this way, the plies all stay put and give me no trouble at all!!

I use exclusively the Kreinik filament, as I really like the color range and the look of it, and also the fact that it comes, like the braid, in several different "finishes" - including the Vintage and High Luster. I've never had a problem with it breaking or fraying when I use it this way.
I think some are misunderstanding the purpose of "blending filament," as I hear complaints that it gets lost in the thread plies - but this could possibly be the result of only using the one ply. Also, this filament is not intended to look like a solid metallic, or to show with every stitch, but to BLEND with a fiber, and give the lovely effect of random, occassional sparkle. You can see it here, I think, on the features of the pumpkin.
Pat Miller (Needleartnut) suggested, when I couldn't decide whether to make the features yellow or black, to do a yellow metallic - which made sense, as I wanted to do a black background, and there is supposed to be a candle inside the pumpkin anyway. However, I felt that a solid metallic yellow might be too much, so I dug out a yellow blending filament, and am very pleased with the result. Glowing, subtly sparkly features against the matte Petite Very Velvet of the pumpkin is a great contrast!
On the Talavera cross, the filament also solved the problem of my not wanting a lot of glitter - as I am using the Kreinik navy HL braid for the outlines (and the 032 on the blue at the top), and didn't want a lot more on it. However, it did need something, so the blending filament is on the yellow-green leaves, and will be used also on the flowers at the bottom. It's also in the yellow center of the red flower - so by just using this little bit, the eye travels downward from the top, drawn by the subtle bit of sparkle, and doesn't get distracted by too much in the body of the design.
The pumpkin is a Freebie design on my other blog - so I'll deal with stitching it there.

1 comment:

NCPat said...

I love how this worked out!