Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Productive Weekend

This past weekend was fairly productive, as far as The Golden Pomegranate progress is concerned, even though I haven't been able to write it up until now. As you can see, I've finished the the threadpainted leaves and have made a good start on the main stem. The stem is No. 5 passing thread couched with gold colored Mettler cotton thread, color 500. If you look at the stem across from the sepals, you'll see that it is not a smooth curve. You can also see a bit of the "wobbly" stem to the left of the pomegranate. If you notice where I've started the couching at the node of the pomegranate, you'll see that I left a tail of the loop above the surface and consequently had to plunge them to the back side of the work. This was a mistake! I should have squeezed the loop to a point and butted it against the felt of the node. After all, it will be covered by pearl purl eventually.

I was so unhappy about the wobbly stem that I took out the couching threads and recouched the gold passing thread so that the curve was smooth. 

Much, much better. This shot shows the original double passing thread, along with another double thread that ends at two different locations. I also made sure that I stitched the couching threads perpendicular to the tangent of the curve (remember high school geometry?). This looks so much better than when the stitches are more haphazard. 

The next section dealt with the pith, which used the No. 8 Japanese thread couched down in over the felt.

After rummaging through my threads, I found a spool of Gutermann metallic thread, shown below the Mettler thread in the photo above. I used this to couch the Japanese thread for the pith and I'm please at how nice it looks. Then I went on to the leaves above the pomegranate, which also used the No. 8 Japanese thread. This time I couched the thread with the green silk floss, which adds just the right color of green to the leaves. Notice how shading is achieved by using a light green on the left leaf and a darker green on the right.  I have to admit that couching the gold threads down isn't too easy, especially when you have to spiral the threads in a tight corner.

I could have done better, but there is no way to take the threads out and redo them. Oh well, I hope I can hide any blank spots with the pearl purl that will define the leaf's vein. Here's an angle shot so you can see how nicely the gold glints in the light. 

Of course, all couching threads need to be waxed before using. This is necessary whether using cotton thread, metallic thread, or silk floss in all the photos shown above. Waxing keeps the threads smooth and really does reduce the amount of tangling. Another good tip is to not to use too long a thread. It's better to keep the threads short so they are easily manageable.

Now it's on to the pearl purl outlining the large leaves.


  1. It looks amazing Cynthia. I have never done any stitching like this before using such things as pearl purl etc.

  2. So lovely! You are such a master.

  3. Cynthia, it's coming along nicely! Your decision to re-stitch the stem was a good one, it looks much better.

    I think that when you apply the pearl purl veins on the big leaves it will cover things up. (I had that in mind when I designed the project! :-) Also, you might be able to use a mellore or equivalent to adjust the gold in the big leaves if you feel the spaces are too large.

    Keep going! I'm enjoying watching you work on this.

  4. It looks' great! It's going to be stunning when it's finished.

  5. What progress you've made, Cynthia! It's such a great learning piece for gold work as you get to use a number of beautiful gold threads couched in different ways. It looks so delicate and rich at the same time!


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