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By: Marianne B. Conway
The basic design element of any cross stitch project is the embroidery floss used to create the pattern itself. The DMC and Anchor cotton floss lines provide a beautiful palette of colors to work with, and most designers are, of course, going to use these. But, sometimes you want a little something special in your project, maybe an added touch or two to make your piece different from everyone else's.

That's the great thing about cross stitch as a hobby, it's very adaptable and creative by nature. Yes, you have a pattern in front of you, and instructions, and we all begin with a pile of fabric and thread. However, there are so many ways that you can add a touch of your own pizazz to any project, even if it's from a prepackaged cross stitch kit.

Let's go over a few quick ideas for fiber enhancements.

o Use Kreinik pearl blending filament to go over an area of stitches that you want to stand out with a little extra shine. This is a great technique for accenting things like butterfly wings, it gives flower petals for a dewdrop look, and it can bring new depth to any cotton floss color.

o Swap out a standard floss color for an over dyed floss instead. This gives you a range of depth and detail that helps your project stand out from the crowd. It's also a great technique for jazzing up single color projects like samplers and blackwork projects.

o Swap out a solid color for a Kreinik Metallic, their #4 Very Fine Braid is the right size for this. Stitch with 1 strand of metallic braid instead of 2 strands of cotton floss. This is a fun way to add sparkle to your project and there are a lot of colors available.

o Change the color scheme completely. This one requires a bit more work and creative thinking, but the results can be so worth it. Change a red dragon into a blue dragon, or transform purple flowers into orange ones, use your imagination. Just make sure you use the same tones in a different color and you'll be fine.

o Make it glow in the dark! This is a fairly new option that's available by using the Glow in the Dark thread line from Kreinik threads. There are a few different colors, and of course they all glow in the dark. You can add these blending filaments to just about any project, but they are particularly fun for Halloween cross stitch projects. I've also had some luck adding them to Christmas ornament projects, they stand out on the tree at night even when it's not lit up.

I hope you have some ideas flowing for your next cross stitch project now. Your only limit on what you can do is your imagination. Enjoy your hobby and have fun with it. Just a simple color swap can take a project from nice to amazing.

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