I'm going to do this piece in or nué. If you haven't come across this before, it translates as 'shaded gold', and is gold thread couched down with stitches in a coloured thread quite close together, allowing the gold to sparkle through.
For this, I want the entire panel to be covered in gold thread, with just the leaves themselves coloured. Starting at the bottom, I couched a single length of the gold thread (imitation Japanese gold no. 8) with machine embroidery thread in gold (Gutermann Sulky 8007).
This is exactly the same shade and shininess as the couched thread, so the couching stitches should be invisible. That's the theory, anyway!
I've done up to the very bottom of the leaves in this way:
In some ways this is working as I’d hoped - you can't see the couching stitches - but in another way, it isn't. The machine embroidery thread is very slippery and very slightly stretchy, and it isn’t holding the couched thread down as tightly as I'd like.
I'll press on, though, and see how it goes.