Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Craftsy Goldwork Class - Part 2.5

I wasn't planning on writing a post so soon on my goldwork flower, but I received a few questions from a few of you noreply-commenters so I figured I would answer them here. Also, I managed to finish my goal for this week on the piece.

The goal this week was to couch the fringes above the petals. It looks easy, but the tricky part is getting those curves right. I was originally going to do the entire fringe in one shot, but it looked much cleaner if I did it in two steps.

Brenda, you asked why I would plunge the thread after it's been couched and not before. First off, passing thread is made up of a fine wire tightly wrapped around a thread core (click here for more information on Tanja Berlin's website). It is prone to fraying as you can see below. I accidentally snagged the thread while I was stitching and pulled on the wire, unraveling it. Also, if I plunged it and then started couching, it would be in the way of my stitching. My sewing thread snags on the ends sometimes while I'm couching, but at least I can see it when it happens.

Now a little bit more about plunging. I keep saying I plunge the couched threads to the back, but I never showed you how I do it. Below is a piece of felt with all the needles I received in my goldwork kits that I've kept aside to use. I mainly use the first needle on the right, for couching with sewing thread, and the first needle on the left. That second needle is a chenille needle. Not sure what size it is, but the eye is big enough I can easily thread my metals without any effort.

First step, plunge the needle where you want to end your line of couched thread.

Thread the passing into the eye and then yank the chenille needle down to pass the entire thing to the back of the fabric. A good hard pull is always great as the thread will pass thru the fabric cleanly.

Repeat for the other thread. Some people are leery of this as they don't want big holes in their fabric. The fabric is actually not that affected by the plunging. For goldwork, you embroidery on fabrics like velvets and silks, nothing too delicate like organza. This is because goldwork embroidery is heavy and the fabric needs to be able to support the weight. When you plunge the metals, the fabric "heals" around the thread so a hole is not really that visible.

At the back, I use a curved needle to sew the metals down. The excess is then cut off. I have a small container full of bling from doing this. I love shaking it :)

Always be careful where you sew the metal threads down. Never end them in a place where you still have some stitching to do as it will make it harder later to pass your needle thru it later.

Here is what my piece looks like now.

A closeup of the finished fringe.

I hope that answers a few of your questions on plunging. If not don't hesitate to ask more in the comments below. Next step is the curved area right under the filaments. I will be taking out the gold pearl purl thread for this section. That will have to wait till this weekend or next week. I'll be putting this piece away and taking out my whitework.


  1. That's very clear. It's painstaking work, but gorgeous when done!

  2. Nice progress, and also a great explanation of plunging - I am learning so much from following your blog :)

  3. Thank you so much for your explanation of the process. A lot of work, but the results are worth it. Love the pictures too.

  4. Complicated work but oh so pretty.

  5. What a lovely detailed post about this technique. I can see you teaching a class one day, you really explain things well and the pictures are perfect too. And very sparkly!

  6. Thank you for your explanations. I keep eyeing that kit on Craftsy now because I think reading your posts is so interesting and I might want to experience it on my own.