Saturday, March 7, 2009

Kelly Clark needlepoint project

This wonderful canvas by Kelly Clark is one that I kept for myself from last summer’s trunk show. I had a lot of fun stitching it.

My favorite stitch was the Woven Trame’ for the main body of the basket. The trame’ thread was 2 ply of a dark brown Pebbly Perle cotton; the woven stitches were done with 2 ply of a light camel Burmilana. You could also make the basket 3-D by using a wire framework.

At the very end, I played with what I have said is my new favorite thing—hot fix Swarovski crystals. I stitched the sky using 4-way continental stitch and #12 Kreinik braid, which meant that I couldn’t use Kreinik for French knots because you would see the carry thread from the front. I’m burned out on beading at the moment, so I used 2mm hot fix rhinestones in the color Crystal. Here’s what I learned.

1)You need to have a steady hand and accurate placement to cover the spot. The 2mm crystals cover 1 mesh of the canvas, and being just a little bit off will leave the spot uncovered. I went back and covered the white spots for the stars which meant that I had to reheat the crystal to set it firmly in place.

2)To pick the crystals up, I poured them into a small shallow white china bowl. I flipped them so that the crystal side was up, the hot fix side down. I then used the heated applicator with the appropriate head to pick up a crystal. The crystals can get stuck sideways or stick to the side of the applicator, so make sure that the crystal is in with the flat side out before you set it in place. I had the best luck when I picked it up gently, rather than pressing firmly. Since this was my first time to set this size crystal, I ruined a few, so I threw out all the remnants to make sure I didn’t end up using a spent one later.

3)Despite the claims I have heard, I did experience some melting of the black Kreinik thread around the crystal, but it was not obvious, finally stopped pressing so firmly into the canvas. (I did not experience melting or discoloration when I set 4mm crystals on silk.) If the crystal did not set completely, I used the edge of the heated element to heat the crystal (you can also use a craft iron to set the crystals). I had good success when I added a crystal to an area that was stitched over completely with Kreinik.

Stay tuned for more hot fix flashes.


The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

Thanks for the tips using the hot fix crystals. I am really curious about this stuff but haven't seen much information on actually using the crystals so this is gold!

I didn't even realize the crystals came in different sizes.

Jane, President of the Michele H. Fan Club, Chilly Hollow chapter

Margaret said...

I am very interested in the hot fix crystals, especially if they can be applied to open mesh.

Michele Herron said...

Margaret, I will be ordering the hot fix gadget and a selection of crystals this week—stay tuned.