Thursday, November 9, 2017

Craftsy Goldwork Class - Part 3

After a few days of rest from my Japanese embroidery class, I went back to stitching goldwork. The next part is the stem which is stitched with over stretched pearl purl wrapped with floss. The instructions say to wrap with green floss, but that didn't appeal to me. It took me a few days, but I decided in the end to use the same silk thread I used in Pearl Butterfly. The silk is a cream Soie d'Alger by Au Ver a Soie.

Wrapped pearl purl is exactly what is sounds like: you over stretch the pearl purl by gently pulling on it and then wrap the thread around the pearl purl so that it slips in between the coils. For this piece, I used four strands of soie d'Alger.

You wrap as much as you think you'll need. Before cutting my silk thread, I guesstimated how much I would need by laying the silk along the outline of the stem and added about an inch on each end for finishing. Once the coil was wrapped, I started couching it down using a single strand of matching thread.

I couched every 2-3 coils. I might add more depending on the curve to really set my line properly. For sharp corners, I just bend the pearl purl in the opposite direction first before laying it down.

You'll notice that I left a strand of silk at the beginning. That's on purpose. Once I reached the other end, I unwrapped the silk so that the wrapped coil ends at the edge of the stitching (if that makes sense).

The extra pearl purl is cut-off so I ended up with a length of silk sticking out and proceeded to finish couching my pearl purl.

Below you can see my stem couched with the wrapped pearl purl and the silk is sticking out on each end. These will be plunged later in the same way we plunge Japanese and passing thread.

Japanese thread was then couched on each side of the pearl purl. Luckily this is the last bit that uses it as I had very little left in my kit.

Once everything was couched, it's all plunged to the back.

I'm very happy with my choice of thread. It came out very nice and the silk thread looks like little pearls. By the way, the little leaf outline is stitched with overstretched pearl purl that wasn't wrapped. You can see that it gives a completely different effect to the piece.

Since I was doing so well with the piece, I decided to continue onto the next bit. This technique is called basketweave stitching. It adds dimension to the piece and looks very pretty once you get it going.

The basketweave effect comes from alternating where the thread is couched between the hard cord padding. You couch at intervals of 2, alternating which ones between the rows.

I was really in the groove, until I realized I ran out of passing thread. This is the last section passing thread is used in. I still have three rows of double passing to couch and only have a single short strand left. I wasn't wasteful and didn't have to unpick anything so it means there was a miscalculation when my kit was put together.

I posted a picture on Instagram and got a quick response from the San Francisco School of Needlework and Design where Lucy Barter teaches. They said to email Lucy and she would send me more passing. Isn't social media amazing! Lucy said she would mail me more on Monday, so I've set my piece aside for now. In the meantime, I'll just work on something else.


  1. Your goldwork class updates are probably my favorite entries in the blogosphere right now. Just lovely work! Every time I see it, I'm tempted to try it too (so many projects/ideas, so little time!).

    1. I'm so flattered :) Thank you for commenting!

  2. It's looking good, I agree. And wonderful that it is so easy to get in touch and get more supplies when you need them!

  3. Gorgeous work. I think that green would have looked a little out-of-place for this, the white is beautiful.
    Hope the replacement gold arrives soon.

  4. This is stunning! I agree, you made a good choice with the white rather than green.

  5. Love the technique of wrapping silk with the gold. And you're right, it does look like little pearls peaking through. Enjoying this project vicariously.

  6. I love your pretty pictures, and how detailed you describe everything! Should I ever decide to try this myself, your posts and descriptions will be so helpful. I hope you get your extra thread soon, I do like it when designers/kir producers are quick with replying and helping!

  7. I really love this project - you are giving me ideas for my own piece!
    I think changing the green thread was a good choice. I love your interpretation!