The Embroiderer's Story

Selecting the Gold Thread

June 30th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Tricia writes today:

New trial against old.If you remember, months ago we were trying out gold threads for the plaited braid stitch. Bill Barnes of Golden Threads had made a silk core wrapped with gilt strip for us. When it stitched, it was just too stiff to use, which was a surprise to me. When I gave him my comments, he responded that he had used three ends of Soie Ovale for the core and would I wait a few weeks for another sample using just two ends. He was sure it would work. Well – always trust the master!

We finally got the sample two weeks ago (another one of those international shipping dramas delayed it). Shown here is the sample alone and also stitched next to the previous samples that I had done. The thread is thinner but it still gives a nice and dense plaited braid. More importantly, it stitches easily. Well, as easily as a gold thread can! So I gave the green light to have miles of it made.Two ends of Soie Ovale instead of three.

A big thanks goes out to Access Commodities who have been coordinating this for us. They are the distributor of Au Ver a Soie thread and supply the silks that Bill is using for the thread. Lamora’s expertise with international shipping is one of the prime reasons we can make this happen!


Hi Mary, I’m glad it made you laugh. jmh

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6 Responses to “Selecting the Gold Thread”

  1. Robbin Douglas says:


    I’ve been waiting and waiting to hear the results of this test! One of the wonderful things about this blog is how much you learn. Another is how much you want to hear the next step in some process.

    I’m so very pleased to hear that you’ve managed to make a gold thread that will work for the project. Whenever you get a chance I’d be curious to know: 1: Will this thread work for all of the gold bits? 2: Will you work the tendrils first and then the braid over it or the other way or will both methods work? 3: How long will all of the goldwork take? 4: Have you managed to organize getting the goldwork done in a manner that will look consistent across the entire jacket? 5: If Access is working in this process, will this become another thread eventually available to teachers/stitchers for their own goldwork?

    Hey, I don’t want to know much, do I?


    p.s. I loved the jacket comment, too. I could just imagine it asking the other clothes what they wore when it rained? Did they want an umbrella? Don’t they think they’d like to be bright yellow too?

    p.p.s. Yes, I do think this project and this blog have taken over and possessed me. :)

  2. coral-seas says:

    Like Robbin, I too have been looking forward to the new gold thread. The samples look great. All good questions, Robbin, I am hoping that the answer to #5 will be yes :-)

    I’m not the owner of the yellow jacket, but I have lost a rather nice embroiderered jacket (incomplete), have you seen it ;-)


  3. Ina R. Mish says:

    What are the stitches used? One looks like detached buttnhole. Both articles in “Needlework” & “MQ” do not say anything about the stitches used.
    Also, I tried to contact you twice about possibly working on the jacket and received no reply

  4. Mary Corbet says:

    Oh, gosh – I too have been waiting for this news! I’m really excited that the gold thread has been settled on. I can’t imagine how the jacket is going to look, with the gold filled in! I know we can look at jackets of yore to get an idea, but they don’t have new gold. Imagine the brilliance! I’m so excited, and I haven’t lifted a finger to do any work on this magnificent piece. The embroiderers must be thrilled.

    Robin’s questions are pretty much what I would have asked. In addition, I know you’ve posted the instructions for the knot stitch (or the regular – as in non-plaited – braid stitch), but is there any chance you will post instructions for the plaited braid stitch? Will Tricia be writing up instruction on that? I’m always eager to see how other people execute this stitch. It’s such a time consuming stitch, and I’d love to know if the pros have shortcuts they use on it, somehow. I’ve finally managed to get it right, but I’m lucky if I can work 2.5 inches in half an hour.

    I’m very interested to see Tricia’s method for working the stitch. Does it follow the typical methods found in the older books, like Mary Thomas’s dictionary? Leon Conrad wrote up an article in Fine Lines Magazine (of the Historic Needlework Guild, which apparently no longer exists). I was able to acquire a copy of the article, but it seems to me that the stitch, as he insists it was worked, is backwards. I couldn’t see that it was any easier to work, but I may have gotten it wrong altogether, or misinterpreted the article.

    I’m eager as all get out to see how Tricia does it! I’d love to do a video on that stitch. It’s one of the hardest stitches, I think, to get a regular “rhythm” on, and to make clipping progress. It’ll be fascinating to see it develop on the jacket!

    Keep going, folks! We’re out here cheering for you!

  5. Mary Corbet says:

    Actually, I just checked. I wrote down the time it took me on the plaited braid last time I was playing with it – it was 2.5 inches in 52 minutes. UGH.

  6. Nicole Roussos says:

    I’ll be interested in seeing how this is done too. I learned one method from a Sharon Cohen class at Sampler Gathering a few years back, and I know how to do it, but I’m definitely not confident.

    I still have my sample to finish! UGH! I was glad to see more sessions posted, because I was sure it would be all done before I got my act together. I got intimidated by the idea of having my work judged. But I need to get over it, because I do want to come and work on the jacket.

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