Posts Tagged ‘awl’

The first stitches

Long time, no blog.  Sorry about that.  I have been rushed off my feet this month, as I’m also in the process of setting up my own business (nothing to do with embroidery; it’s a music agency).  However, I have been able to do a few stitches, especially as a good friend from London has been up here over the last few days with her sewing machine in order to finish off the bridesmaids’ dresses for a wedding in the area.  I took a couple of days off work and carted the embroidery over to her hotel so we could keep each other company.  It was an excellent arrangement.

So here’s the progress I’ve made so far:

Progress so far

Not too shabby, given the time available.  Here’s a closer look:

A closer view

And here’s a detailed look at the stitching:

The stitching in detail

The thick dark purple lines are the wool lucet cord you saw being made in an earlier post; it is laid and couched.  It’s plunged through the fabric using an awl.  The sort of awl which is normally sold for the purpose of embroidery is no good for this, because the cord is too thick, so I use what I affectionately term my Big Girl Awl.  This is a formidable-looking implement that I picked up in the DIY section of Wilkinson’s for about half the price of my effete little embroidery awl.  I’m currently looking for a cork to stick the end in when I’m travelling with it (no, really, I don’t drink enough wine), because it is extremely sharp.  I’m couching the cord with ordinary sewing thread, which is almost invisible even close up.

The gold is also laid and couched.  This is DMC metallic embroidery thread, which, like most common embroidery threads these days, is 6-ply.  I cut off a short piece and use single plies from that to do the couching.  The stuff is an absolute blighter to work with, because the laid thread has a strong tendency to separate itself into individual plies while you’re couching it and the working thread is rather easily damaged by the needle, but that’s pretty much standard for all metallics.  It looks good once you’ve tamed it.  The starting end of the couched thread can easily be plunged through the fabric with a needle, and I was originally doing that with the finishing end too, but that is incredibly fiddly, because by the time you get to the end of the couching there are inevitably six separate strands of different lengths, and it is not easy to get them all to go through a needle, especially since there isn’t much of them to work with.  Fortunately, once again Mary Corbet came up with exactly the technique I needed at the time I needed it.  If you haven’t already seen it, I highly recommend her tutorial on using a thread lasso, which turned out to be a much easier way to deal with the ends of the gold thread.  In fact, if you’re interested in embroidery and you’re not following Mary Corbet, why not? 🙂

Finally, the purple “windswept triangles” are outlined in twisted chain stitch using three strands of Anchor embroidery cotton.  I wanted quite a heavy outline because these are part of the ground design.  At the moment I’m thinking of harmonising the tendrils of lucet cord with the windswept triangles by edging the former with the same purple I’m using for the latter, but using only one or two strands.  That will probably be done in a back stitch or straight chain stitch with closely spaced French knots.  The triangles will be filled, but I haven’t yet decided how, although I have just got some more beads which may feature in that task.  I’m very much making it up as I go along.

Seems to be working quite well so far, though. 🙂