Friday, June 10, 2016


I have the good fortune at this stage in my live to stitch to my heart’s content.  But my greatest joy is from teaching and sharing this wonderful art with anyone who will listen! I accomplish this feat through many venues: Seminars, retreats, shop classes, chapter classes, online mystery classes and stitch guides – just to name a few.
People often ask me how I decide what stitch and/or what thread I use when writing a class or stitch guide.  If you know anything about me you know that I love to embellish. Dimensional and textured stitches and techniques are a great way to begin the introduction of stepping beyond flat surface stitches and basketweave.
How do you accomplish adding texture and dimension to needlework surfaces they might ask? You must first decide what you want the end result to be.  Do you want elegance or whimsically fu-fu for instance?  Of course, stitches play a major part in reaching your goal.  I find, however, that threads are a great resource for changing a simple stitch technique into something unforgettable on the design.  I love introducing my students to threads that they may not be familiar with or have never used.  Often there is a hesitancy to try a new thread from the uncertainty of knowing how to use them.  I also am mindful that not all stitchers have many readily available resources from which to choose. Not all shops can carry all threads, etc.
I am currently working on several Online Mystery Classes.  One of the attractions to these classes is the introduction of new or unfamiliar threads to the students.  Not only do we introduce them to new products, we also can provide them with suggested resources for obtaining those products if they do not have a local needlepoint shop or their shop chooses not to carry a certain line.
My first go-to website for thread shopping is always Rainbow Gallery!  Why you ask?  Think about it.  How many manufacturer/distributor sites can you visit and cover such a wide gamut of textures and finishes?
I like to include fuzzy, smooth, shiny, matte, metallic, dull, overdye, thick, thin, etc.  For me my mind immediately goes to Rainbow Gallery as a source that will have the widest variety of thread finishes from which to choose.  What a wonderful convenience for the shops to be able to combine such a great variety of threads in one order.
On one of my current Online Mystery Classes – Arctic Parade by Brenda Stofft – it is a fantastic adventure into all kinds of techniques.  We have only begun our two-year journey and I have selected threads such as the ole standby Splendor Silk and Mandarin Floss or the new Capri for some of the basics.

But wait! There are tons of animals in this piece! How about Fuzzy Stuff or Fancy Fur for those animals that have long fur – bears, fox, toys, or Artic Rays for some fuzz with bling for maybe some birds and other accessories?  Smooth bodies?  How about the different sizes of Very Velvet, Super Suede or Ultra-Suede – moose antlers, sweet little seals? See anything shiny here – like maybe flags? Snow on the ground? This is going to be an incredible journey for me and my class participants!

Here is a photo from another Online Mystery Class we just finished called Easter Rabbit with Morning Glories:

Isn’t Fancy Fur the perfect ‘fur’ for this guy?  And look at the Frosty Rays collar – it worked out so well.  The new Capri gave us just the finish we wanted for the trellis holding the flowers.
Shine – do we need shine?  There is lots of gold and glimmer in this piece.  If we want a ribbon type thread there are tons of options from Rainbow Gallery such as Neon Rays, Neon Rays+ and Sparkle Rays or Sparkle Braid.  Fyre Werks and Water ‘N Ice can work in the ribbon category as well. Then there are the rayons such as Patina and Panache. How about the new combination threads that have polyester, silk, etc. combined with a metallic that will give a somewhat subtle glimmer – Entice, Silk Lamè Braid – several weights.
Speaking of metallic, there is a wide range of threads available that fill this spot – Fyre Werks, lots of different braids – Sparkle Braid, Treasure Braid and Treasure Ribbon to name a few.
This great design also by Leigh – Beijing Butterflies – uses  Neon Rays+ in the purple butterfly wings, Silk Lamè Braid in the brown butterfly and the subtle background butterflies, and, of course, the wonderful Splendor to create the lovely thread-painted flowers in the front.

Other great go-to threads are Flair and Water ‘N Ice – they fill a need that is hard to conquer. They give you the shimmer and see-through effect you need for glass, water, ice, etc.   Here is a Leigh Designs piece from her Old Crow Series – Fast Friends – where we stretched Flair over the leaves. And look at the potion vapor from Night Cap as well as the martini glass of Water ‘N Ice.


A recent Online Mystery Class from Annie Lane – Cat’s in a Dinghy – used Flair on the fishy tails. Also notice the patent leather in the Captain’s hat – just to name a couple of other items. And of course there is sparkle in the water!

If you haven’t gotten the impression from me that this one-stop website is very valuable to me in that it saves me an immense amount of time for having the convenience of doing my major thread selecting in one place then you are missing something. I know of very few designs that I have worked on that do not contain something from Rainbow Gallery.  Having read this and looked at some past projects, think of what we are looking at in our future Online Mystery Classes:  Robin’s Wreath, from Melissa Prince, Santa’s Reward from BB Needlepoint, Songbirds from Danji a Laurel Burch design, the Menorah from Tapestry Fair.  And that’s just highlighting a few. The remainder of 2016 and all of 2017 is all lined up for you.  And we are working hard on 2018!  You think I might find some uses for the line of threads manufactured by Rainbow Gallery in some of these?

We have come so far in adding to our thread selections and competition is getting heavier and heavier.  Perhaps the best thing about this wonderful thread line is what is behind it!  I have had the good fortune of working with some wonderful people at Rainbow Gallery over the years.
They have always been very patient with me and help me find threads that I may not be aware are even there.  Their quality of service and customer care is unsurpassed!  The turnaround time is unmatched!  I hope to continue this great pairing with their fantastic color, texture and fiber choices for many years to come!
So, run over to the website of Rainbow Gallery  - - and scan over their wonderful offerings and ask your local needlepoint shop if they might consider adding yet another line of their wonderful products to those they probably already carry.
When you get through there, scroll down through past postings and review more detailed information about our upcoming Online Mystery Classes.

Have a great day and remember to always stitch with a smile! Sandy

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