Sonata – 2

Yesterday I began writing about a new teaching piece, Sonata. I’ll keep you informed about my progress as I continue on.

Sonata progress 2

After the layered Jessicas and double fan doubleds, I’ve added waffle stitches in Neon Rays. I love Neon Rays, one of my favorite threads, although I’ve been informed that some don’t like it.

I’ve had a long journey with Neon Rays. From the first time I used it I loved it, loved the shine, the coverage, the texture. But I have had my share of troubles using it, including anchoring it securely. So here are my tips to using Neon Rays.

Someone once told me that dampening or wetting the Neon Rays would smooth out the kinks from the card and make it easier to work with. I did that for a number of years, until the day I couldn’t wet the Neon Rays and stitched undampened lengths next to lengths that had been dampened. I was shocked to see a noticeable difference in the shine! I was horrified. Here I’d been using this special thread for the shine, and I was lessening the shine by dampening it.

So I went several years without dampening it, and just dealing with the kinks. I tried gently stretching the ribbon – that works really well with Kreinik metallics. But Neon Rays isn’t that stretchy, so I didn’t see any effect from stretching.

Then someone suggested ironing it. Well, I’m not going to get out my ironing board and iron to press the kinks out of a thread; I mean, really, I hardly ever get my ironing board and iron out for any reason. So what to use? Then I took a class where we used a flat iron to iron the Neon Rays – bingo!

I now have a dedicated mini-flat iron that I keep with my stitching stuff. Of course it’s never used on hair, just threads. And I used it on rayon floss and some other threads. I’ve had to experiment to learn which threads respond well (Neon Rays – great! Flair – not so much), but I’m very satisfied with the results.

Now how to secure those ends, those slippery ends. When there isn’t much on the canvas I use a waste knot, either in-the-path or away. Of course, then I have to weave in the ends. When weaving in I go through several threads on the back, reversing direction several times, until tugging on the ribbon doesn’t budge it. And I’ve also used glue (gasp!) when the project is finished to secure the ends, especially when I haven’t planned ahead enough to weave it in securely or there isn’t a place to weave in well. Fabric glue, just a touch, keeps the ends from popping through.

More progress pictures tomorrow!

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