Sunday, June 12, 2016

Riolis Kit Review

Hello again! I've been kind of busy this week, but I've got a lot to ramble about show you. :)

This week I got started on some fresh pages for Flora:
I'm working two pages at once, since the lower page is just a small partial. Had a string of good days, so I managed just over 1700 stitches here. I think I've got the bits of her dress done, and a sort of outline on the big red flower at the bottom left. The mess of stitches across the upper half will someday be a bunch of grapes, plus a few more flowers. You can never have too many flowers. :)

I also finally pulled out Scale, though I didn't get quite as much done this week as I'd hoped:
I've decided to work down instead of across, so I've been stitching her left eye and bits of her nose. In fact, this whole page will be her very large nose. I'm hoping to get two pages done this year -- her nose and her cheek, to the right. Unfortunately, I don't think this will be very exciting to look at. Most of the color is on the far left; the page for her cheek is almost entirely white, with ecru for contrast. Not visually stimulating, but it does stitch up fairly quickly.

I've got Scale on a scroll frame now instead of a q-snap, and I bought a little something to help with the tension, so I thought I'd share:
 I've seen these on some of the Russian flosstube videos, and decided to buy them along with my Riolis kits. I have no idea what they're called, they were listed on ebay as "side stretch canvas". They were $10 for a pair, and are really simple and easy to use. The ends loop around the frame, then you weave the elastic around the side of your frame and attach a little clip. There are 5 clips, each removable, and they have a really good grip. Once they're on, you can tighten them up for more tension, as the ends are completely adjustable. I don't know if it will still be there, but I got mine here. The tension is not as good as a q-snap, but it's better than it was.

Finally, I did find time to play with my Riolis kits. (Actually, I couldn't wait anymore!) And I took lots of pictures. :)

First of all, the wool thread was packaged differently in a couple kits. My Sweet William kit looked like this:
All the thread is presorted and carded, all ready to go. Makes it really hard not to jump right in and start stitching. :)

But my French Lavender kit looked like this:
Just like Pastoral, a sample of each color is in it's proper place on the numbered card sorter, but the wool itself didn't even have a label. This wasn't really a problem; they were actually very well organized and in order, and the color differences are clear. But it did cause me a bit of trouble (though I shoulda knowed better).

My first inclination was to bobbinate all that thread, knowing it would be a hassle. I actually did okay for a few seconds; then I had a nightmare around my wrist. 30 minutes later, I had to use the scissors (but all the thread is still usable). So, lesson learned, here's how I managed.

Each skein starts out like this:
With a bit of finessing, it pulls apart to this:
But don't stop there! Carefully, so the threads don't tangle, you can find another seam where the thread was looped. Pull gently, watching the threads, and you get this:
I didn't find that seam at first when I started winding my first skein. I quickly realized my mistake, but I think it was too late. So in subsequent skeins, I decided to simply cut it here:
This results in fairly uniform lengths for each skein, at around 18-19 inches long. (You know, that "ideal length" they use in them fancy needlework schools?) At this point, I could have attached it directly to the card provided, but I wanted to use another fancy item I bought a few months back: little plastic rings:
After seeing how neat all those HAED kits looked, with all the floss sorted onto cards and kept in place with plastic rings, I thought I might use such a system to kit up my Golden Kite designs, as having identically cut lengths of thread is ideal for blended colors. I know that HAED sells them (or did at the time) but I thought their price a little high. So, I went hopping through the interwebs until I found The Ring Lord, a Canadian company that specializes in these things (though I think they're intended for cosplay?). Anyway, I got 100 half inch rings for just $5! Shipping to the US was also $5, but that's still a heck of a deal. And they work perfectly:
Isn't that pretty? Once I got going, this worked out pretty quickly, just 20 minutes or so. Then I just had to try it out!
This is a about three hours of stitching on French Lavender, starting in the middle. The fabric is 14ct, and it's kind of terrible at first. The edges are really sharp, and it's stiff at first, but it is softening up with time and handling. And the thread is wonderful! Very soft and smooth, easy to thread, easy to work with, the coverage is great, and I haven't had any tangling or knots (and I don't use thread conditioner). If you want to change the fabric on one of these, I wouldn't go smaller than 16ct for 2 strands, or it would be too bulky.

So that's it! I hope showing the wool thread helped anyone who might have been indecisive about trying out a Riolis kit. It's really not that scary, and they do have some wonderful designs. Hope I didn't ramble too much, and let me know if you have questions. Until next time! :)


  1. I like how you organized your kits. I will have to take a look at the rings. I bought something very similar to your side stretcher, they're called stitch clips I haven't tried them yet, but your's look much more interesting.

    1. Thank you! I like the rings because they're so versatile and easily transferable. I've seen those stitch clips before, but wasn't sure how many came in a package, though I may try them eventually. :)

  2. Those side stretchers are pretty interesting...I may have to look into them!

    1. They do keep the sides from being floppy, which always seems to happen with my scroll frames. :)

  3. Your all projects are so beautiful :)

  4. Thanks once again for charing your experience with the kits =) They really have some lovely designs. I love your work on Flora and Scale, I never thought her nose would be so huge :D I will take a look at the Ring Lord, after all I want to start a Golden Kite some day =)

    1. Thanks Johanna! I hope you do start a Golden Kite some day. They are so beautiful. Challenging, but worth it! :)

  5. I am excited you did some work on scale. Her eyes are so beautiful but the nose will make her look more complete. Interesting about the wool floss, thank you for the review.

  6. I had a question for you. I'm used to using DMC style six strand floss and stitching with two to four strands at a time. The wool yarn that comes with this kit - is it a single or double strand? Do I double it over for regular cross stitching or use as it spools off the card? Thanks