Silver Thread and Silk Wrapped Purl

s-w purl silver stem 006

Having covered the stem in silver passing, I found out that there was a problem, pointed out by friends.  The passing was too thick. The loops formed on the side of the stem sat out such that the gold twist (or any other thread) could not sit comfortably up against the stem but was pushed out by, and left the loops (complete with all of the grey thread stitches couching down the passing) exposed.

I tried another silver thread in my stash – tambour thread. This was too thin in the coverage of the felt – the felt was sitting up inbetween the couched tambour strands.  I then ordered a variety of silver threads from Alison Cole, and settled on a 3 ply twist, laid length wise along the stem with no felt padding – how the original motif was done.

While I was waiting on the post, I thought I’d have a go at a silk wrapped purl motif. I did basket stitch (trellis work) of s-w purl over s-w purl

trellis s-w purl trial 001….and decided that I didn’t like it. You have to pick a colour for the horizontal lines of s-w purl, and between that and using several shades of s-w purl to colour the flower, and the texture and height of s-w purl in general, it was just too visually messy for me.

I decided that I wanted to basket s-w purl over a gold thread.

Late one night, I threw down the already used purl over a couple of gilt threads.

Some medium rococco :

trellis s-w purl trial 002I wanted to try the rococco because I wanted an organic feel. However, the dips in the rococco thread dictate where the s-w purl can be laid – or if you ignore the dips, it makes it sit funny. Maybe some fine rococco would work better (I don’t have any)  Ok….next…..

Some 3 ply gilt twist :

trellis s-w purl trial 003I liked this as soon as I tried it, and went no further in my trials. The particular colour of this twist worked really nicely with the s-w purl as well.

So, going on to do it properly, with some fine microsurgery to secure the unwrapping ends of the s-w purl chips…..I’m happy with the effect – I like it a lot better than the s-w purl basketed over s-w purl, which I showed at the beginning of this post.

s-w purl over s-w purl trials 001

I’ve been given direction to do the gilt twist outline before laying down the s-w purl, and to do it after. I was told to do it after to help pack the s-w purl together and to avoid having any of the outline hidden by the s-w purl. However, I found that in doing the outline second, my laying of the twist was dictated by the shapes formed by the purl, resulting in a rather round bulgy flower top. Not the pointy fleur-de-lys/acanthus type tips that I was after. So I’m going to do the next bits outline first to compare.

At the size of the motif I’m doing, there wasn’t room to do basket stitch in that left hand spur, so I did “humping”, a method Tricia taught us.

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9 Responses
  1. Sue Jones says:

    The silver looks much tidier now, Megan. It was worth making the effort to re-stitch it. Thank you for sharing what you are learning here, even though I don’t think I’ll ever want to use s/w purl in the way you are doing on your flower. It’s always interesting to follow your experiments as you find out what works and what doesn’t.

  2. meri says:

    Thanks for sharing, Megan

  3. Rachel says:

    I agree – the final version is very much better – although I think there would be good uses for each of your other versions, too, in other contexts.

  4. Francesca says:

    It’s looking lovely !

  5. Janet Brandt says:

    Hi Megan,
    Love the basket stitch. You make me want to try it too!

    • Megan says:

      It’d work somewhere in your style as a feature, I’m sure. You just need to find that exact right place. Some dragon wing, if you’re doing more dragons?

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