Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Using Metallic threads

I wrote this post some weeks ago but hadn't got around to sorting out some photos that I could use. I was having quite a time then, working with the metallic thread for the bicycle in this sweet Jenny McWhinney design.

Needle painting and working with metallic thread are both things I have previously given little thought to, but I have now completed Monet and his metallic thread bicycle. Completed - except for the bee buzzing around just in front of Monet. I need to practise my bullion knots before I embroider the bee's body.

In the past I have avoided using metallic threads because they don't co-operate very well when I try and use them. After just a few stitches I seem to get worn threads where the metallic strands of the thread separate, and stretch, and bunch up. Then comes the unpicking and starting a new thread. Not my favourite task!

To try and fix the problem of wearing thread, I tried a bigger needle, and then a bigger one again, until eventually I was using what seemed like a crowbar. It was an old needle sitting in my needle book that I haven't used for years and I have no idea what sort of needle it is. It felt very awkward but in the end the big needle did the trick, or maybe by then I'd got to the end of stitching the bicycle.

The other thing I tried was using shorter pieces of thread, 20-25cm long. This meant more starting and ending of threads, but that seemed about the best length to use without having to end off early and cut off damaged thread. All in all I still need a lot of practice with metallic thread.

How I admire beautiful gold work - stitched with all that (uncooperative?) metallic thread.

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