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What is Light Effects Thread?
DMC Light Effects Thread is basically metallic thread, but also includes neon and glow in the dark (although these are much easier to stitch with). Light Effects thread shimmers and is sparkly and comes in a heap of colours (33 to be exact) including pastel colours, metal colours and colour variations. Other brands do metallic thread too but as I use DMC myself, this is the brand I usually talk about.
I love using Light Effects thread in my designs and sometimes I feel like I'm the only one (please comment below if you do too and show me I'm not alone)! I only use a sprinkling of it; maybe for some stars or back stitching but it just gives the design that little bit of sparkle that plain cotton thread can't. However, it can be such a pain to stitch with! It tangles pretty easily and even very experienced Stitchers don't like using it, let alone beginners. These tips should hopefully help you along and make sure you don't mess up your design (or throw it out of the window).
I think I should start by saying these tips are for using the thread on aida fabric. The holes in the aida make the thread glide through a lot easier than cotton, linen etc will, so it tangles less on aida. However, I have used it a little on cotton and these tips will help with that too, just be aware that it is more difficult to use on different fabrics.
First of all, use thread conditioner. If you have bought one of my kits you don't need to worry about this because I coat every bit of light effects thread before I package it in your kit - hooray! But if you have bought your own supplies I really do recommend buying some thread conditioner. This helps stops your thread tangling, adds a bit of extra protection to it and almost makes it float through the aida.
You can buy thread conditioner in any good needle craft retailer and the brand that I use is Thread Heaven. In the video above I show you how to put the conditioner on your thread, but if you can't watch it you just put your thread on the conditioner (its hard, not like the one you put on your hair) and pop your finger on top to stop it falling off. Then with your other hand you pull the thread through so it gets a good coat of conditioner on it.
Update June 2018 - Unfortunately, Thread Heaven has now been discontinued. I now use a conditioner called Thread Magic* which works just as well as Thread Heaven did.
Threading your needleWhen you thread your needle with light effects thread, you want to thread it as close to the tip of the thread as you can whilst still keeping it secure. This means that if (or I should say when really as it's pretty much a fact that it will happen) the ends start to tangle or knot you can simply pull your needle down a little bit and snip the tangled ends off and continue stitching. It's much easier to show you how to do this than explaining it here which is why I have the video above.
Take your timeNext tip, just take your time. Pull it through the aida slowly and carefully. It doesn't sit quite as flat as cotton thread so you will need to pull it a little tighter, but try not to pull it so tight that you are ruining the aida underneath.
Give it spaceWhen you are coming in and out of the holes in the aida and making your stitches, make sure that you aren't coming up through any "X"'s that you have already stitched. The needle should come up in its own little space and you may need to move some of the thread out of the way to make this happen because metallic thread is a bit thicker and takes up more of the hole. Again, I show you this in the video.
It seems silly writing this but as with most things, the more you practice the better you will get and the more you will get used to how the thread feels when you are stitching with it.
If you follow these tips you should be a pro at using Light Effects thread in no time! But as always, if you are stuck just get in touch!
I have a collection with all my kits that include Light Effects thread if you would like to try it out. And if you still want to throw it out of the window - please don't. I now also include the cotton version of the colour you need in your kit so you can still finish your hoop without using the Light Effects thread.
If you would like to see how you back stitch a star using Light Effects thread just click here.