Dipping into Goldwork

A variety of currents sent me scurrying to the library looking for books on goldwork embroidery.  For those of you not familiar with the term, it refers to metallic embroidery of many genres.  There’s a rich history of metals in embroidery, and of course, technology makes many of these materials accessible to the everyday embroiderer.  My library system had several books with Western historic and contemporary perspectives.

"New Ideas in Gold Work" by Tracy Franklin embroidery

"New Ideas in Goldwork" by Tracy Franklin

Alanna Nelson Explores Historical Gold Work Embroidery Techniques

"18th Century Embroidery Techniques" by Gail Marsh

I also enjoyed reading Virginia Churchill Bath’s “Embroidery Masterworks: Classic patterns and techniques for contemporary applications.”  And of course, even though it’s not gold work, this was irresistible:

Crewel and Surface Embroidery Designs by Trish Burr

Once this was gobbled up, I couldn’t resist and bought a copy of:

I’ve got a couple of projects in mind, and I’ve been trolling the Kreinik, Superior Threads and Berlin Embroidery sites for supplies. Mary Corbett has some interesting posts about her Tudor Rose goldwork project. Oh, dear, I feel a wave of metal embroidery coming on…


Sprouting Projects

Has anyone figured out how to create an additional 6 to 8 hours in a day?  If so, please comment below.  Spring sprouts projects!

I jumped on board for my first sail of the season last Saturday. Alanna Nelson travels the seas with textiles!
There had been no time to choose a new project, so a sleeve to the Lily sweater on dpns came along. No needles were lost overboard!

My other knitting projects include commissioned Christmas stockings and corrections to the Level II of the Master Knitter Program.  Now that I think about it, you could call theses two projects “treat or torture” respectively.  In any case, these projects needed to stay on land.

Perhaps next week there will be time to fondle fiber and choose summer sailing projects.

As promised, here is the top to the “Signature Sunspots” quilt, which is waiting for me to reschedule my long arm quilting appointment.  The back is a hodgepodge of fabrics… let me gently remind quilters to always square after every seam?  I forgot this on one band.  When the pieces get large, there’s a lot to remember.  The signatures are on the vertical light blue bands.
Signature Quilt by Alanna Nelson
As for garments, perhaps I can create them in my sleep, as I’ve heard happens in Hong Kong?  My l’il gymnast has a big school dance in early June. She has requested a dress. We were in New York at the beginning of May and we stopped by Mood. She got to pet the dog made famous by Project Runway, and we chose some great fabric.  Then there’s that skirt I drafted for the Drama Queen.  She’ll be home this weekend and hopefully that will head out the door.

And to top it off, gold work embroidery haunts moments carved from the to do list.  Oh, yes, more garments on my horizon…. my summer travels include a wedding in Beirut in July.

It’s all I can do to stop daydreaming about knitted sofa covers, punch needle trims, tassels I want to try and the possible.

So yes, anyone with ideas about how to create those extra hours…

Irene and the Embroidery

Last week, while helping at Sit N Knit, Irene asked me about an embroidery project that she was about to attack.  Someone had a small (four inches square) embroidery piece.  They wanted Irene to add a name to the existing embroidery and then have it framed as a gift.  What did I think about this?  Did I have any books that discussed this?

Hmmm… I wasn’t sure what type of embroidery it was, but I do know that it wasn’t cross stitch.  I guessed that it was probably crewel embroidery, so out came a childhood favorite: Erica Wilson’s The Craft of Crewel Embroidery.  A small embroidered name in a stem or split stitch would probably work.

But how to approach this project?

  1. First, I wouldn’t embroider the name onto the original piece.  It’s already small; how would you keep your tension? You’d need to attach additional fabric to the original in order to fit in a frame.  So why not just appliqué the original embroidery to a nice cotton or linen canvas after embroidering the name on the new fabric?  It protects  the original work from excess handling and stress.  No vintage or antique textile likes stress!
  2. Next:  what style of lettering?  There are many ways to do this, but I suggest 2 different possibilities: a nice, hand written pencil marking with beautiful script or choosing a font from your word processing program.  Choose the size and font that appeals to you and print out a page with the exact writing.  Take your embroidery canvas and press a piece of freezer paper to the wrong side.  Then, tape the paper with the writing onto a window.  Place your canvas on top of the paper and tape it as well (blue painter’s tape works well here).  Trace the letters with a sharp HB or a number 2 pencil.  If you have a light box, that works wonders, but not every home has one of those!
  3. Take your canvas off the window and you are ready to embroider!
Good luck Irene!  Here I come with the book to lend you…. can’t wait to see how this works for you.