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Historical Sampler – Stylized Borage II

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15 September 2008

Historical Sampler – Stylized Borage II

OK, so I’d had trouble using the silver passing thread in my first attempt.

I have to wonder if there were very many such small motifs done in laid work historically. There is so much couching required to simply get the passing thread where you need it to go on the design and you consequently loose some of the effect of the expensive passing thread. You certainly need to be skilled and experienced.

I meant to use Mary Brown’s GoldWork Embroidery’s Technique 1 for Laid Work since it said “This technique gives the best definition at the edges for laid work and is certainly the best technique to use if the shape is tapered or irregular” (page 84).

It involves doing just single lines of laid work. Using double threads of passing thread of course, but leaving tails to be plunged at the beginning and end of each line.

However, given this would have ended up such a mess with such small petals, I ended up doing the work as per Mary Brown’s “Couching a leaf shape from the outside in” (page 86).

The feature here is plunging one thread before the second, leaving the second to form a single thread right in the middle of the leaf, plugging any gap left.

The photo below shows this – with the passing threads finished at different positions :


I discovered why couching is done in ‘brick stitch’ – ie  forming an alternating pattern of couching stitches.

If the couching thread stitches are laid up against each other, they interfere with the closeness with which the lines of passing thread can fit together.

I must say that I’ve come to love Tanya Berlin’s NeedlePoint Tweezers, and don’t see how such work could be done without these, (or similiar) to make the curves in the passing thread.

I used Madeira 4010 for the silver.

Here are both silver petals done :



And here, all the laid work is finished. I used Lurex for the gold. I selected this as much for it’s malleability as it’s size – similar in diameter to the Madeira.

You can see how many couching stitches I needed to shape the petals. I didn’t worry about ‘every 5 mm’ – I concentrated on getting the shape right!



Then I added a small piece of milliary wire for the sepal.

This was couched with a double length of waxed polyester thread as it is a pure metal thread.

I must say – this is the first piece of pure metal that I’ve cut with my new Gingher scissors (bought specifically for goldwork) and they were noticeably blunter afterwards. (The biggest example of pure metal threads, as opposed to the silk cored threads, is the set of Purl threads)

I could use the Ginghers for cutting embroidery thread in the past, but now they cause the thread end to ‘blossom’. I’ll keep to using my beloved Storks for my embroidery thread.



I used the “Overlapping Sequins” method from Country Bumpkin’s “The Embroiderer’s Handbook”  (page 109).

I used a double waxed polyester thread again as Mary Brown says “A doubled sewing thread is to be used for all purls, spangles and beads” on page 76 of her book.

I only just got away with using this and a No 10 embroidery needle as the sequins are so very very tiny. I asked Hedgehog Handiworks for their smallest – but I didn’t realize that paillettes came quite this small! I did mean them for spangling the background (which I may or may not do)however, they are perfect for use as a group for features like this.


This shows the paillettes with a strand of DMC thread to give perspective. The top of the tiny bottle they came in says “GTSF4”

I wasn’t entirely happy with the Overlapping Sequins method. It involves attaching the sequins from only one side (the right) so the paillettes have freedom to move a bit. I think the method would work better on a straight line of paillettes, rather than a small curve where they simply aren’t there to hold each other down.

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Blogger coral-seas said...

Hi Megan, I have just posted a blog about using a sinking needle to plung the ends in goldwork. I thought of you while I was writing it.

The Sinking Needle


Monday, September 15, 2008  
Blogger JoWynn Johns said...

I don't think I told you that I've nominated you for an award. See my blog

No strings attached!

Friday, September 19, 2008  

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