Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Milestone Achieved - Finishing the Leaves and Stems

I've done it! I've reached a major milestone on the Persian Peony Tile project!

I haave finished couching all the stems of Japanese gold T70 thread with green silk floss, and finished embroidering all of the leaves. I've also added the last two beaded prunus flowers under the large red flower.

When I realized earlier today that I was almost finished with the leaves I had a very difficult time tearing myself away from the project. I had to force myself to get up and stretch, after all, I can get very creaky if I sit too long without moving. It seems that when I see an end to a project looming ahead, I tend to work on it without stopping. I am very anxious to get to the next stage and do something different. I have to admit that I was getting a bit tired of the leaves, even though I just love that green color. By the way, it's Au Ver a Soie, Soie d'Alger, No. 1826.

So, what to do next? The instructions tell me to finish the large peony, so that's what I'll probably do. Then it's on the the peony buds, then the purple knapweed flowers. The instructions have a really interesting way to mark the placement of the purple threads, and no, they are not random. They are very precisely placed. I'll show you the technique in a future post. It's pretty interesting and works very well.

A side note: Most instructions I've seen for plunging metal threads to the back of the fabric call for making a lasso of thread to grab the metal thread and pull to the back. However, Jane Nicholas - remember, she was the one who taught the Persian Peony Tile, has us using large darners for plunging. You can see in this photo just how large these are. I've found it works pretty darn well! (sorry for that pun) The needle makes a huge hole in the fabric, but it closes up immediately and you can't tell that such a large needle was used to make that hole. The needles, being large and stiff (well, they are metal) are easy to grab on the back of the work and pull through. I think I like this technique. It also seems to be gentler on the metal threads, not stripping the metal off the thread core so readily. So, what do all of you think? Do you like the lasso method or the large darner method? I'm really interested in hearing your views, as I'm sure I'm missing something important!

If you would like to see the complete project, step by step, just click here to follow all of the posts.


  1. This is just breathtaking, Cynthia.What skills you have!

  2. Fabulous! Have never seen one of Jane's tiles in progress before... Agree on the darning needle which I resorted to using when doing Alison Cole's detailed, Morris Wreath--just WAY too many threads to plunge with a lasso. Prefer the needle but my fingers did get a bit sore pulling it through.

  3. Wow Cynthia, that is so beautiful! I'd love to offer my preference on plunging metal threads, but I don't do this kind of handwork! That's one of the reasons I love keeping up with your blog, so I can see your lovely handwork!


  4. Hi Cynthia, it is lovely fabulous. I'm looking forward to hearing about the mauve stitches, I think those thistles are lovely.

    I have used both a lasso and a darning needle. I have known the darning needle leave big holes which I don't like. I also find it easier to slip the lasso over the thread than to thread the eye of the needle. However, Hazel Everett showed me a useful tip that made using a darning needle. She said to strip the gold from the end of the thread to be plunged - not all the way back, just part of it. Thread only the striped core into the needle then plung. I find it easier to thread the needle this way and the plunging seemed easier too.


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