After doing the butterfly, doing the stem in silver metal thread was next.
First, the padding.
I had done the attachment stitches at about 1/2 cm apart. (er, 0.2 of an inch). When I showed this to Leslie at her EGV Guidance Group, she said to go over my stitches with a lot more stitches than were much closer together – about 1mm apart. This would help the felt sit nicely flat, so the metal thread would sit properly in turn. She mentioned that this was where artificial felt acted differently to proper wool woven felt. The only grey felt I had was artificial. It got all tufty as the fibres broke up, and wasn’t completely flat. This didn’t end up being a problem for this piece, but I think investment in proper felt for padding is worth it in the future.
The original piece used silver twist. I didn’t have any so I used B&J (Benton and Johnson) #4 silver gilt passing. Chris from Lesley’s Guidance Group suggested I’d be making life very painful for myself if I attempting to lay the passing in a pattern in any way similar manner to the original twist and thought laying it at an angle across the stem would be a better idea, couching it down at each side
I finally realised why one would want a mellor. I spent a lot of time pushing the threads together with my fingernail and you’re not supposed to touch the stuff anymore than necessary or it’ll tarnish. Tweezers bruised the thread, exposing the cotton core.
I’m pleased with this – I got a bit of a pattern going as I went backwards and forwards over the thread and covered the felt well. Lesley had advised me to trim the felt so it’s edges ended just inside my drawn line. Then I did my couching stitches on the drawn outline – so the stem ended up at the size I drew it.
The last piece of silver was the vein of the leaf. I did this in #16 B&J silver gilt passing. I thought using the thicker passing thread would look better than using more passes of a finer passing thread for a leaf vein.