Saturday, 9 April 2011

Goldwork stems

With all the goldwork edging done, I now only need to add the flowers' stems and tendrils.  To do this, I'm using goldwork again, couching a double length of imitation Jap gold no. 8 with a single strand of whichever green I used for the leaves or sepals.  So, starting with the ferns on the left of the panel, I'm using Madeira stranded cotton no. 1411.

The ferns' stems go down the centres of the leaves, so I started by anchoring the gold thread in the middle of the top leaf, then adding small stitches on either side of the rest of the leaves, plus a couple more along the curved stem before it reaches a foxglove flower.  It then passes over the flower, and there a couple more stitches catching the gold thread down on the other side:

This isn't the finished couching, but just an intermediate stage; the rest of the gold stem will be couched down with stitches along its length.  I could just do this immediately (it'd be quicker!), but I want to get a particular curve to the stem, as close as possible to Fiona's design, so effectively tacking it into position first makes that easier to achieve.  When I did the first stems on the first panel I tried to just lay the thread in place and couch it, but I found that it shifted too much.  This way defnitely works better.

The stem needs to look as though it passes under the foxglove flower, but I've put it over the top; this is to get the curve right, rather than trying to match ends on either side.  I'll cut the threads and take the ends through to the back, but they'd be a bit short, so I pulled the threads up in a loop first:

Before cutting them:

I then couched the rest of the stem with stitches a millimetre or so apart, including over the tops of the leaves themselves:

And pulled the ends through to the back, where I could stitch them down neatly:

I did the second fern in the same way:

And the third:

And the fourth:

All four ferns with their goldwork stems:

And all work done on the panel so far:


  1. The gold does pick the piece up nicely - as it usually does :-)

    Nice tip about leaving the loop of gold thread in order to plunge, not the actual length to the next piece.

    I got a comment yesterday thanking me for including process description in my latest blog post. That's what you do heaps of - and have been a great resource because of it. I referred to one of your posts in the entry.

    So, I'll pass the thanks along, and add some to it, to you :-)

  2. It's really coming along beautifully! But it does look tedious.

  3. Thanks ladies! I'm glad if my posts are some help - I enjoy writing them, and they're useful for me to refer back to, never mind anyone else.

    It is starting to get a bit repetite now, I must admit, and I do worry that it's all starting to get rather tedious for you to read about too. But there's no help for it, I'm afraid - we're all just going to have to hang in there for a while yet!

    I will try and write about other things from time to time, though. You haven't heard the last of my camera yet!