The Embroiderer's Story

Experiments in Thread

December 19th, 2007 by Jill Hall

Tricia resumes the thread of the story (pun intended):

I was so excited with a possible solution that night that I took the silk gobelin I was working with and ‘made’ a wire wrapped thread by expanding a purl on the silk after threading the two. I placed my fingernails on the first spiral and pulled out the rest of the ‘spring’. You can see the expanded spring on the thread here.

Next, could it be embroidered with? This picture shows a small rectangle of detached buttonhole worked with this homemade thread. Exciting as it glittered in my lamplight. But it doesn’t quite match the historic photos. (Note: we can’t put any historic photos up as we would need to pay royalties on the number of times people visit this site – please visit the V&A website to see close-ups of the jacket). In the historic photos, the metal stayed wrapped around the silk tightly when it was stitched. In my sample, the metal wire seemed to detach and stick out.

I wondered if this was because the threads weren’t the right scale, maybe I needed a thicker thread in the center. So I got out some green soie perlee. Again I expanded a purl on the silk and then stitched with it. As you can see here, it wasn’t much better. So what was the problem???


3 Responses to “Experiments in Thread”

  1. Robbin Douglas says:

    But is the first picture the BACK of the first detatchted buttonhole sample? I can’t tell if it’s been oddly cropped or what, but I think I see thread through the fabric and what must be the carry along the backside — I just don’t see any buttonhole stitch.

    The first thread (since we can see the length) looks like it isn’t firm enough to handle the metallic that’s been wrapped around it. I seems like the metallic pulls into it and doesn’t give a smooth thread.

    I’ll admit that I’ve worked with the new thread and I know the base thread used, but I haven’t heard this part of the story at all and I can’t wait to hear the next installment. I feel like I’m part of a mystery story or something.


  2. Are you wrapping the wire counter to or with the twist of the silk? From the photo, looks like its counter. If so, you might want to try wrapping the metal in same direction as the silk. It would give a smoother line.

  3. Tricia Wilson Nguyen says:

    Judith -

    The great thing about this blog is the breaking up of the thinking into bits – an embroidery soap opera with cliffhangers! Watch for the next entry which will go over my experiments in making S and Z twists and expanding on them and what happened next. ;-)

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