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Roses and Stems

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27 July 2010

Roses and Stems

I’ve started work on the mirrored right hand side of the sampler – the small red rose, it’s stem, and the big gold and pearl rose.
The Small Red Roses
Firstly, I wish I’d read Mary Corbet’s post Notes on Satin Stitch before embroidering the small red roses because there were several tips there I needed to be reminded of.
Oh well.
Here’s the original small red rose, on the LEFT (mostly completed) of the sampler.
The petals were satin stitched without padding using a single strand of YLI silk thread.
For the second, mirror rose, I decided to add a layer of satin stitch padding, to see what difference it made.
The padding is done in a perpendicular direction to the direction of the top layer (or following layer, if you are adding more than one layer of stitched padding)
To digress for a second, Mary says to do the outline in split stitch.
With such a small object as these petals, I found it easier to use backstitch. Then, if I went a bit wobbly, I could make the wobbly stitch into a split stitch on the next stitch, straightening it into the right direction.
You can see the outline stitches are tiny – over one thread of the canvas and I’m trying to curve, so it was easy to misplace a stitch a little bit.
I also exaggerated the ‘in’ part in the middle of the ‘heart’ of each petal – I’ve found that some shape definition is lost when the edge is outlined with purl on very small motifs.
The second rose, with a layer of padding :
Comparing the two roses, you can see that the stitching on the second rose (with padding) is less streaky, and much richer. It’s easier to see in real life. The colour is darker and richer.
Mary talks about the whys and wherefores of this in her post.
It’s double the effort, but I think it’s worth it for the final effect!
Also, I stretched the pearl purl a little on the first rose (it was the very first thing I did on the Sampler, and I thought you were supposed to), and knew better by the time I got to the second rose, whose Pearl Purl is unstretched (and consequently a little harder to couch down).
The ‘pop’ when the thread does go down between the ‘beads’ is very satisfying.
I used tweezers to do the V shape with the pearl purl in the middle of each petal.
The Stems
The stem from the left side of the sampler :
This was done with a strand of Jap, and 3 strands of dark green YLI in the same needle, in Ceylon stitch, and outlined on each side in a row of passing thread, as documented at

I’m not terrible happy with this stem – the stitching just looks lumpy – but I did it 3 or 4 times as it was. It’ll do.
The new stem :
I’m much happier with the stitching (heavy chain this time).
It was done with No 5 passing thread, and one strand of the same dark green YLI (in the same needle).
The first stem is primarily green with flecks of gold, and the second exactly the opposite.
The Overall Effect
(click for bigger pictures)

The Gold and Pearl Rose
The next reflected motif was the big gold and pearl rose.
I’ll show the original close up when I’ve finished the second one, for comparison again. I’m purposely using slightly different metal threads, and a different technique for the centre, although the filling of the petals with rice pearls will remain the same.
To start, I made a tracing of the existing rose, and then cut it from felt. I sewed the felt down, making sure there was room for the bird’s beak.
The centre of the rose got an extra layer of felt. I wanted it to stand up a bit. On the left (existing) rose, there is a curl of pearl purl as the centre, sitting on top of the end of the Greek Twist and so it stands up. I didn’t want this new centre to be sunken in comparison.
I then outlined the centre in some pearl purl.
I’m currently chipping inside the centre with bright check gilt.
Page 90 of A-Z Goldwork taught me how to chip very satisfactorily.
The chips are only 2mm or less long – um, 1/8” or less. Just tiny.
With all these photos blown up (now I’ve discovered how to do it – yay!), you can forget how small the motifs actually are. These roses, which are by far the biggest motifs on the sampler (except the bird) are just over 2” (just under 6cm) in diameter.
I’m very excited about doing more motifs. I’m going to use some silk covered purl, and some gold kid, as well as all those new gold threads I ordered.
The big project (shown on the cover) of the A-Z book has a satin and gold thread leaf, and a gold leaf that I’m looking forward to doing.
But symmetry first! I still have to do the rest of that right off- centre part :
Thorns (easy), two rosehips and two leaves. I won’t fill in it’s grey background until I’ve done the vine around it.
I’m thinking of doing one rosehip in green gilt sylke twist (same as one on the left) and one with green and jap thread in the same needle, in detached buttonhole stitch, to see the differences.

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Anonymous shirley said...

What else is there to say except...Stunning Work"!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010  
Blogger coral-seas said...

Nice to see you stitching this again, Megan. Lovely work. I think that self padding always gives satin stitch an extra richness.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010  
Anonymous Rachel said...

It's good to see the detailed comparisons here - that way we get to share in the insights you have developed from your work on this piece!

Friday, July 30, 2010  

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