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Monday, March 19, 2007

A bit more about goldwork...

While I was in "happy dance" mode with the goldwork heart (but before I started the blog), I posted a picture on one of the many stitching forums around the net. One of the comments it received was "is this stitching?" I gave a pretty quick answer, indicating that yes, it is, and stating that for this heart, some threads are couched, and others are attached like beads. I thought I might elaborate a bit more here about the threads used and how they're attached. Clicking on the pics will (in most cases) let you see a bigger picture.

(As a side note - do you know how difficult it is to take pictures of gold? The light refracts all over the place, and many times you get just a blur of brightness. Thank goodness for digital cameras and the ability to delete bad pics and play with settings and light until it's right!)

All of the metal threads used in this piece are "purls". They all are constructed like coils of wire, and can be stretched out intentionally for some purposes (or unintentionally, in some cases, as I found!)

The first type, used in the borders of the heart and stretched out for the scrolls at the bottom, is pearl purl. It is shown on the left, and kinda looks like a string of pearls, hence the name. This type of thread is couched, and the couching thread slips between the coils, so you can't see it - or that's the idea, anyway!

The second type of metal thread, used in all three sections of the heart, is bright check purl. This starts out life as a tiny flat ribbon, and is kinked into a coil shape, with flat edges. The result is a really shiny thread that reflects from all angles. It is shown to the right.

To see how much gold thread is wrapped into a very small section of bright check purl, check out this next picture! The two pieces were originally the same size (about 2 mm), but I stretched out the one on the top!
Rough purl (seen at right) is the last type of metal thread used in this piece. This is a very delicate coil that must be handled with care because it kinks easily. It has a matte appearance and can be seen in the outer-most section of the heart.

Both rough purl and bright check purl are cut to the right size (depending on where it needs to go), and are attached like beads, with the stitching thread running through the middle. The picture here is a piece of bright check purl standing on end so you can see that it is hollow. The rough purl wouldn't cooperate and stand on end, though, so you'll have to take my word on it!

When I get to the second goldwork heart, I'll be sure to post about any "new" threads I discover there!


Unknown said...

Thankyou for the photos and the explanations :-)

MysteryKnitter said...

Wow! That world of goldwork seems complicated.