Friday, March 9, 2012

A Mistake and a Different Approach

Over that past few days as I've been working on the Persian Peony Tile I realized a made a fairly major mistake. Can you see it? look at the upper right hand portion of the uncovered felt. Notice that white flaky stuff? That's the fusible web used to iron on the pattern so I could cut out the felt. It's supposed to be on the bottom!  I've been covering it fairly well, but have been picking out the really flaky bits with tweezers.

But what's really been bothering me about this project is the order of work. The teacher, Jane Nicholas, had us apply the felt, then the gold outline, then embroider the peony. Every other set of instructions I've seen (admittedly not many) says to cover the felt first with the embroidery, then outline later. You can see in this photo that the needle coming up from the back is nudging the gold thread.

In at least one place I've damaged the gold. So this is really starting to bother me. It's too late to change for the Big Red Peony, as I only have four more petals to finish, but I can change this with the Peony buds. You can see the felt padding for the two lower buds. The one on the far left is the only one applied with the fusible web down. It's hard to see in the photos, but in real like it's pretty flaky.

Here is the top bud with the gold outline and the top petals outlined and filled. I think I'll take them all out and redo them, cutting out new pieces of felt, and embroidering them before I outline with gold. I hope that this will be much more precise, as I feel the Big Red Peony looks a bit uneven with its outlining.

All five petals of the three buds need to be outlined in gold, but I think I have plenty to do the job properly. This particular kit has very generous amounts of materials which I really like. I think it's always better to pay a bit more for a kit to have extra materials than to come up short, don't you?

Not being an expert in Goldwork, I'm a bit nervous about not following the instructions precisely. Do you ever deviate from the instructions, thinking you can do better? If so, how did it turn out?

Click here to follow along the complete project!


  1. Hello, Been very busy catching up on your blog! Love the persian peony but I would also revert back to embroidery first then outline. Just seems a strange way to do it the other way. I dont like using iron on products either mainly due to the fact that the glue/adheasive used might later damage the item. Don't know if Tracy Marsh featured in USA in the 80s but mum did lots of lampshades, tissue box covers and photo frames and they all look horrible now as the glue has stained through over time. Its the whole acid thing that scrapbookers go on about which is the issue.

  2. I have been wondering about that flaky stuff for weeks! I thought maybe it was Solvy or something like that, and would wash away later.

    Katherine's point is well taken - I also worry about the longevity of fusibles, especially with quilts that are a lot of work. They say they are better now, but I think really, only time will tell.

  3. We learn something on every project, don't we? I know it's a headache for you, but all I think we see is how beautifully it's coming along! Agree on the order; can't imagine having to work around all that gold which shifts so easily. All other gold work projects I've done-- it's shading first, gold outlining next.

  4. Absolutely love the peony! I for one, think it's turning out beautiful.

  5. Beautiful embroidery :) Shame about the white stuff.
    I would do the outline as last as well.

  6. It's so nice to see you working on this project. I won't get to work on mine for quite some time so I'm enjoying watching you work on this vicariously! :-)

    I agree that it seemed counterintuitive to do the gold outlining first with the fill second. I think Jane's point in having us do it that way was that outlining with gold after filling the petals could affect the silk threads on the petals. I believe she said that the couching thread (which is clear plastic) can 'show' in the silk filling.

    I don't disagree with Jane, but I do think that if you are more comfortable stitching in a different order/way and the results look good then go for it.

    As for the Wonder Under on the felt, I have found that to be in incredibly useful tip that I learned several years ago from Jane. It is especially helpful when cutting out small shapes with lots of tips and/or details. The Wonder Under keeps the felt from falling apart. As long as you remember to put the glue side down (and don't fuse it to the backing fabric! :-) it should work well.

    Keep going, it'll be worth it!


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