Monday, January 30, 2017

Pearl Butterfly Lesson 1

Friday night, I got the chance to start working on Alison Cole's Pearl Butterfly cyber class. Before I show you my progress on the piece, I wanted to share what an Alison Cole cyber class comes with.

The first thing is obviously the kit.

The kit contains everything you need: fabric with muslin for backing, felt and wool for padding, Gutterman thread for couching, Au vers a soie thread for embroidery, all the goldwork thread and for this project pearl beads.

Other than the typical things you need for embroidery, here are things you definitely need but doesn't come with the kit:
  • Scissors: You need a pair for cutting goldwork. You can use an old pair (never your good ones!) but I bought a pair of scissors with a serrated edge from Golden Hinde which are specially made for goldwork embroidery.
  • Beeswax: This one is very essential! I bought mine from Amazon here.
  • (optional) Mellor: Since I was ordering the scissors, I figured why not get this too. I read it helps with moving and shaping metal thread.
The fabric by the way is GORGEOUS! It's a delustered satin and is great for stitching, especially hiding your tiny stitches in between the weave. I'm definitely going to have to place an order for more of this fabric.

Lessons are published on Alison's website in PDF form. The password to access the lessons is given to you by email when the class begins. For support, you also get a user login to a forum so you can submit questions and get advice. I like to print out my lessons in case I want to add in notes.

So now to start. I first began by tracing the template onto tracing paper.

To transfer it onto the fabric, I got this product by Clover. It works much better than the other product I tried last week.

It's very faint and I did find it hard to see the white on the fabric because it's so shiny. But once I got to applying all the felt it gets easier.

Friday night, I concentrated on transferring the pattern and cutting out the felt pieces.

Saturday I took the time to study up on stitching down felt padding. Luckily I had some great resources:
  • On my tablet is Craftsy's Goldwork class Embroidery: Essential Techniques with Lucy Barter. It's a really excellent class. The class covers every part of goldwork and Lucy shows you exactly how to do each technique from anchoring the thread till the very end when you end the thread.
  • Hazel Everett's Goldwork: Techniques, Projects and Pure Inspiration. This is a great book to accompany the Craftsy class as it contains a thorough explanation of supplies and techniques.
  • Alison Cole's The Embroiderer's Little Book of Hints and Tips. This book is great for those uh-oh moments you experience when you're first starting. Plus it covers both goldwork and stumpwork as those are Alison's specialties.
  • RSN's Goldwork book. It's a nice little book but doesn't have a lot of details. I use it mainly for the picture examples of each technique comparing it to the other books.

The butterfly had two layers of padding.

This part was great fun to do. I really love how it comes out.

Sunday, I started with gold threads for the first time. As we all know Kreinik and DMC metallics don't count. The thread below is pearl purl and comes coiled. It's usually stretched out and then couched as an outline around goldwork designs.

It was really scary touching it for the first time. All the experts kept saying you shouldn't touch them too much. This was repeated so many times, that I was scared to touch it. Having to pull on it made it more nerve wracking!

But I quickly got over it. It's actually quite fun once you get into the rhythm.

I still have the lower wings to do, which should be done before the end of the week and then it's a long wait till the next lesson in two weeks. It will give me time to catch up on other projects.


  1. That's looking good, Dima! Thanks for reviewing this cyberclass for us.

  2. You are much braver than I, but I am loving the way it looks. Thanks for letting us journey with you.

  3. Your padding looks beautifully neat!

  4. I look forward to watching you work through this! The padding looks fantastic, you seem to have got the shape perfectly! It is fun couching down pearl purl.