Choosing Embroidery Thread

Selecting the right type of threads for any embroidery work is important because the color and texture of the design, and eventually the look of the final product depend on the material and type of thread used. There’s a wide variety of embroidery thread to choose from, so take your time to decide what type or combination should be best for the design you have in mind. More importantly, thread selections should be based on Sewability, Seam Performance and Appearance, Availability and Cost.

Types:

1. Rayon: This type of thread has a great sheen, and so the best looking embroidery designs are stitched with it. Rayon threads can range from combinations of two or more colors twisted together thereby forming a single strand, to one solid color strand. They are widely available, mostly in standard 40 wt. and 30 wt. Even though Rayon is the most popular type, it’s not very sturdy because of its thinness.

2. Polyester: Polyester thread is more durable than Rayon but it is not as attractive. However, this type of embroidery thread hardly shrinks or fades, and if combined with Rayon, the effect they provide is nearly indistinguishable. It is also cheaper than Rayon thread.

3. Cotton: Cotton thread allows for a wide range of tension adjustments because of its texture. It has a nice sheen, is quite sturdy (though finer threads above 50 wt. are not), and typically used for machine embroidery.

4. Silk: Silk embroidery thread hardly breaks and has its own unique, and probably the best sheen. Threads come in various sizes but their availability is low so they are mostly used for luxury fabrics.

5. Metallic Thread: This type of thread has a core wrapped with a metal foil which may be coated with silver alloy, and color is added to this foil with a polyester film which may also be applied as an undercoating. Metallic thread is one of the most durable available on the market.

6. Mylar Thread: Plies of film are combined into a layer, cut into slices to create Mylar threads. They are durable but may break under high-speed sewing. One unique color feature is holographic hue, which picks up and reflects light or color from other surrounding objects. This really enhances the color and design of the embroidery.

7. Special-effect: Like the name suggests, this type of thread can be used to create different design effects, such as crewel-like effect. Some of the special effect threads change colors under sunlight, or may glow in the dark.

Quality Evaluation:

1. Tensile Strength: The tensile strength of an embroidery thread can be tested by sawing a suspended strand with another strand back and forth until the first strand breaks. The faster it breaks, the lower the strength and quality of that particular thread type.

2. Elongation: A good thread must have the right amount of stretch. Take a piece of the thread and stretch it till it breaks. The strand should neither break too quickly nor stretch for too long.

3. Sheen: The luster and quality of the sheen can be tested by studying the color and design of a finished embroidery product.

 

Acorn Craft Ideas




Let’s get a hand count. How many people have oak trees in their yard? Do you also have an abundance of acorns? These acorn craft ideas will give you something to do with all those acorns the squirrels miss when the colder months creep up on them.

Acorns can be used in a number of fall and winter crafts. With Thanksgiving coming up soon, you can use acorns to help decorate your holiday table. You can also create garlands and other items to decorate your home.

An ‘Acorny’ Family

Gather up a bunch of acorns from your yard or a nearby park. Try to pick up only the acorns with the tops still on them. You can also purchase wooden acorns from a craft store. If the tops come off while you’re transporting the acorns, use a little bit of craft glue to put the tops back on. 

Find enough acorns for each person in your family for this first craft. You’ll also need to have some acrylic paints, paint brushes, a sharp pencil and possibly six or more inches of heavyweight thread.

Paint the bottom half of the acorn using a flesh-tone or light brown paint. While this is drying, paint the top or cap of the acorn your favorite color. You would then do the same thing with enough acorns for your family, making the cap of each acorn that family member’s favorite color.

When the acorn is dry you can paint a face on it using a detail paintbrush or a very sharp pencil dipped in the paint. Add other embellishments such as little bows for a girl’s hair or painted pearls for mom. You could even make acorn animals by gluing on pieces of paper for the ears. These are particularly cute for couples who don’t have children but have ‘fur babies.’

Allow the acorns to dry thoroughly and either set them in a bowl, near family pictures or glue string on them to hang them as ornaments. Another thing you can do is create an acorn person for each person who is attending Thanksgiving dinner. Glue their acorn on a folded piece of business card stock and write their name on the card so everyone knows where to sit.

Wreaths

If you have a wreath to place on your front door, tie acorns onto a piece of raffia. Next tie the raffia into a bow and glue that to the wreath. You can also hot glue the acorns in groups of three around the wreath. Then use other fall items like baby’s breath, silk leaves and berries to fill out the wreath.

Picture Frames

How many old picture frames do you have which you would like to update? Create autumn frames by gluing acorns onto the picture frame. To dress the picture frames up a little bit, dry brush gold or copper paint on the frame and acorns. Once the picture frame is completely dry, place the picture back into the frame and group them in one area as a photo display.

Acorns are normally in abundance in the fall and it really is a shame to throw them away. In the spirit of trying to recycle and reuse, these crafts will help you do just that. By making one or more of these acorn craft ideas you can use the acorns and decorate your home at the same time.


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Spring Kids Craft, Edible Birds Nests

Bmore energy

Denver Botanic Gardens.

Edible Birds Nests.

When I taught After School Enrichment classes for grades 3-5, one of the projects we made was Edible Birds Nests. I didn’t take good pictures–think sticky-from-marshmallows-hands–so credit must be given to D Magazine’s Jessica Jones for these project photos.

Edible Birds Nests are easy, fun and perfect for celebrating Spring. Need an Easter activity for a party? This one is egg-cellent!

Gather ingredients.

Mold chow mein/melted marshmallow mixture into a cupcake tin.

Once Birds Nests have hardened in the fridge, pop them out of cupcake tin and fill with jellybean eggs.

One teeny-tiny cupcake with one egg. Jessica Jones’ suggestion: Use as cupcake toppers!

EDIBLE NESTS RECIPE (yields about 12 cupcake-sized nests)

Ingredients:

•1/4 cup butter

•3 cups marshmallows

•5 cups chow mein noodles

•Cooking spray

•Candy to fill nests

Directions:

1. Melt butter and marshmallows together over medium-low heat. Remove from heat.

2.

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Cross Stitching


Cross stitching is a fun way to pass the time and relax. There are several different ways to get started. Whether you decide to purchase a cross stitching kit or buy the supplies separately, it is easy to get started.

Start out by making a visit to your local craft store. Many craft stores carry both the premade kits and the separate supplies. Premade kits come in handy because they provide the thread, the canvas and the needle as well as step by step instructions. The premade kits come in a variety of styles and projects. Pictures are available as well as more detailed projects such as pillow cases, bibs, blankets and lots more. Prices for the premade kits are wide in range. There are several projects that can be started for as low as $5 ranging up to $100 for more detailed projects.

If you choose to buy the supplies separately, it is a good idea to purchase a cross stitch book first. These books usually contain several patterns and specify the materials needed to complete the patterns. Among the materials needed are typically thread, needles, canvas and a hoop to keep the canvas stretched. The hoop makes it easy to cross stitch more accurately, but they are not required. 

Follow the directions included in the kit or patterns to achieve the desired outcome. The directions supplied specify the colors used and each has a specific icon that represents the color. Follow these directions to ensure that your picture matches the pattern. There are several different kinds of stitches such as cross stitch, half-stitch and a back stitch. Each stitch is performed a certain way, so familiarize yourself with each stitch. Knowing the stitches beforehand will help eliminate any frustration during the actual sewing. 

After you have experience with cross stitching it is possible to develop your own pattern. Do some research and choose a picture to turn into a cross stitch pattern. This is a more complex way of cross stitching so ease and experience count.

After the cross stitch is complete, it is time to frame your work! Buy a nice frame to display your work on the wall or to give away as a gift. Congratulate yourself on a job well done.

Getting started with cross stitch can be very easy. There are two different methods to get started, buy a premade kit or buy the supplies separately. Craft stores usually carry all of the supplies you need to get started, so be sure to visit one and pick the best method for you.