Firstly, apologies for not having posted in ages - I've had a few non-embroidery things to do recently, so poor Lindisfarne Beasts has been rather neglected. All being well I should be able to get back on with it now.
Following my last post, I had a query about the thread I use - why don't I like it?
The thread in question is this stuff:
It's made by Gutermann, as you can see, and comes in a range of metallic colours, though I almost always use either the gold or silver ones.
It's entirely synthetic, being 70% polyamide and 30% polyester. It consists of a bunch of very fine colourless fibres and two very narrow strips of a metallic tape.
Here it is with the end fluffed out so you can see the fibres:
All this makes a nice sparkly thread, but it has one big problem: the metallic tapes have a tendency to break.
This can often happen where the thread passes through the eye of the needle, but it can - and does - happen anywhere along the length of the thread.
Here's a typical example:
You can see how the metallic section has snapped and bunched up, leaving the other fibres in tact.
Once this has happened there is no point trying to carry on - just finish off the thread as best you can and start again with a fresh length. This happens a lot, and so leads to a great deal of waste.
So why bother? Because, despite everything, I like it! Or rather, I like the effect I get with it, rather than the thread itself. I use chain stitch in this metallic thread in a great deal of my work as an edging, defining areas of colour, either filled in with stitching or around appliquéd pieces.
To be honest, I have no idea what Gutermann expect a stitcher to do with this stuff - it's a pain for hand stitching, but the thought of allowing it anywhere near a sewing machine is terrifying. Can you imagine what those broken bits of metallic tape could do to its innards? I can, and it's not pretty.
I also have a fondness for it for reasons beyond how it looks when used. I first came across it in the haberdashery section of a department store about 20 years ago, when I was first getting seriously interested in embroidery, but was still very much finding my way. I was looking at it, trying to decide whether it was what I wanted, when another customer pointed out that there was an offer on: buy any three reels and get a free storage box. This tipped than balance, and I bought it. But I also got chatting to the lady who'd spoken to me, and she said she was a member of the Embroiderers' Guild. There was a meeting that Saturday - why not come along? So I did. I've been a member ever since, I became Chair of the branch, I have learned so much from the speakers at meetings and from the always enthusiastic and ever-helpful members of both the branches I've been in. Without the Guild, and that chance meeting (hello Roz, if you're reading!), I doubt very much if I'd still be sewing, let alone having developed my work in the way I have.
And I still have the storage box.