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Historical Sampler – Continued Adventures with a Borage

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29 August 2008

Historical Sampler – Continued Adventures with a Borage


Firstly – the fishbone example labeled “Lurex” on my Doodle Cloth IS in Lurex. Not mistakenly labelled.

I found that it ‘cracked’ on the turns coming out of the cloth (just once, but that was enough for the little bit I did) so I decided to use Fil D’or instead.

I really should have done a Fil D’or example on the Doodle Cloth.

I really should use the thread I intend to use on the Cloth instead of going right ahead and assuming it will work. I thought I was pretty safe with the Fil D’or but one day it’s going to come back and bite me.


Here’s the finished borage. It has the spike outlined in No. 1 Jap Gold.


I now wish that I’d stopped here. – However, I outlined it in thicker Jap Gold.

What I would like is YOUR opinion on whether I should take out the outlining.

It’ll be a complete bugger of a job, but I think it looked better without it.

Please, give me your say.


All about the outlining

One trick I’ve discovered is that when I’m starting or ending threads, I hold my index finger on the ground (I’ve got the embroidery turned to the back, of course) so I can feel if the thread is hitting the ground itself, and not just going through the muslim backing.

Information on Outlining

I haven’t been able to discover any information about outlining motifs in my books or on-line. What I’ve got (historically, motifs were outlined in Purl Pearl or double in Passing thread (or Jap) I got from Kathryn Wolters).

I have Jane Lemon, Mary Brown, Needlework School, Zimmerman – not a word.

I guess you are supposed to look close up at extant examples – I just like things written out for me.

I did think about using a blue couching thread, because it was a blue borage, but I settled on the gold.

Plunging threads when Outlining

Anyway, I was naughty when I outlined this. I wasn't going to plunge the ends 6 times on this little motif.

I did have to do it three times, but a couple of times I took the thread across the back, and couched it down at the back so it maintained the tension it had and didn’t decide to pop up where it had been plunged.

I assume this is naughty.

Points and Tweezers

I think I am mis-using my needle point tweezers (from Berlin) in some way.

On the tip of a curve (like the point of the petals) I find it good to first use my fingernails. Then I take the thread around the curve and do the next couching thread stitch to hold it down.

Then I use the tweezers to get a proper point. I’ve still got some wriggle room on the length of thread used in the point because that first couching stitch isn’t enough to secure the thread firmly – the metal thread will pull a bit longer or shorter a bit if I want it to.

The trouble is that I tend to strip the gold from the Jap when I use the tweezers. I guess that I'm pinching too firmly - but I need to pinch firmly to get the thread to bend.

Then I keep couching.

Order of Outlining

Something I picked up from my needlepainting -  I did the backmost leaves first and then the front most leaves.

I didn't outline the sepals at all. I thought that would be too overwhelming - and also it makes them look like they are at the back. This would be a modern way of thinking, I think. Historically, I think everything in the motif was outlined, or the motif wasn't outlined.


I found that it was a good idea to hold onto the points of curves when I was plunging the ends or they were likely to be pulled out of shape when I pulled the metal thread through.

I think that being strict in keeping the couching stitches parallel to the metal thread helps keep the metal threads from twisting. When you are using two metal threads, they like to twist around each other.

This is the back of the borage :


I found that I couldn't plunge the end when I did my last outline - the spike. There was too much thread to get through.

This is a lesson to make sure that *all* threads are ended and begun away from the motif. (I wrapped some around existing embroidery)

I had to tightly couch the ends of the metal thread and then cut them off on the top. I then used a bit more white silk to cover of the spike to cover over the half of the couching threads that were over the spike.

Now, for your opinion on the outling .........

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Blogger Paula Hewitt said...

I dont think the outlining on the borage looks bad, but Im not sure it adds anything either - I dont think you should unpick it though

Saturday, August 30, 2008  
Blogger Jerusha said...

As much as I'd hate to do it, if it was mine, I'd unpick the outlining. It's not that I don't like it, I like the un-outlined much better.

Saturday, August 30, 2008  

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