Posts Tagged ‘metallic thread’

My inspiration for my page in Janet’s Travelling Book came from finding the rusted fragments I was working on for an art quilt a while ago, including a fragment of very old soft sheeting scattered with rusted marks. I added a scrap of rust coloured silk, variegated thread, silk ribbon and some rusty washers and sat down to stitch.

I started by attaching the silk with a line of back stitch and the largest washer was couched down with metallic Madeira thread.


Then I added parallel lines of kantha stitching with the variegated thread, weaving around blobs of rust and paint, (I think the fabric was part of an old paint cloth I ‘borrowed’ from my dad’s workshop when I brought home a load of rusted bits a few years ago!) the washer and the silk scrap.


French knots on the silk strip in a variegated turquoise and rust coloured silk ribbon were joined by metallic thread straight stitches and then I couched some brass watch cogs into some of the spaces.



I added an explanatory paragraph with little photos of some of my rusted fragments…


…and attached the finished rusty piece to the next page.


Janet’s spattered page backgrounds work really well with the colours of the fabric and threads.

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My Travelling Book page was quick, easy and finished a full day before the Guild meeting, which is virtually unheard of!


My Frister and Rossmann rose to the occasion yet again, stitching happily through a sandwich of cotton calico and crinkle rayon with cotton in the bobbin and golden coloured rayon in the top to define the edges of the fish.

Seeing how well it coped with the rayon, I thought I’d try metallic Gutermann thread to just highlight the inside of the fins and the main body. Metallic thread? Piece of cake.


Silver sequins and pale blue beads for the eyes and they were finished!


I know they are gold but they made me think of the herrings – the ‘silver darlings’  – which were such an important part of the economy of East Anglia and in the lives of my dad’s side of the family, who were trawlermen. And then it was a short step to the words of a folk song I grew up with: Windy Old Weather.


So on Saturday off the silver darlings went on the next round of the Travelling Book project!

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I knew I wanted to turn the patterned oxidised copper piece into a brooch with some sort of fabric/threads/textiles included and over the next few days I turned over all sorts of ideas in my head. The fabric needed to be somehow quite stiff to support the metal and I went through all sorts of options with vilene and folded calico but nothing seemed to click. 

At the weekend I was turning out a shelf in a cupboard where I keep most of my textile stuff and I found a load of silk carrier rods in various colours. I ironed one flat and knew I’d found the perfect medium to back the copper plaque – stiff, yet with that wonderful silk sheen.  

Oxidised copper brooch 1

I chose a carrier rod in faded shades of rose and peach and in trying to manipulate it, accidentally pulled one end away, leaving that lovely fluffy effect which I decided to keep.

Oxidised copper brooch 2

I wanted to stitch the copper to the silk but in a way that wouldn’t need holes in the metal and also wouldn’t obscure the lovely pattern. Initially I thought about the type of stitch used to attach shishas, but obviously the copper wasn’t round and the shisha stitch would hide too much.

So I came up with the idea of curve stitching, which uses straight stitches to create a curve. Decorative but functional and using Gutermann metallic machine thread, just enough to hold the corners of the copper to the silk.

Oxidised copper brooch 3

It looks quite flimsy, but the thread is very stiff and pulled very tight and the little nets it creates hold the copper very securely.

Oxidised copper brooch 4

To finish, a brooch back sewn onto a piece of cream kid leather and then stitched to the silk.

Oxidised copper brooch 5

As well as oxidisation, we also had a go at reticulation, which is heating the surface of a piece of metal (in this case brass) to boiling point so it bubbles and waves and produces a fabulous texture. It was rather easier said than done and by the end of the evening I had only managed this:

Reticulation 1by

You can see the idea I was aiming for on the edges but it melted on one side and some of it stayed unchanged and it really was a disappointment. Until I turned it up the other way…

Reticulation 2

…and it made me think of mountains and rivers and plains. So the next week I carefully took a hacksaw to the line where the ‘mountains’ meet the ‘plain’ and made myself a river.

Reticulation 3

The silk carrier rod gave a good idea of the colour effect I wanted, but I also wanted a fringed bottom so a ‘waterfall’ of threads could come out of the mouth of the river and fall off the bottom of the piece.

So, wonderful shot silk dupion encasing a piece of pelmet vilene for strength.

Reticulation 4

I frayed it into a fringe at the bottom and am using the metallic Gutermann thread again to attach the brass to the silk. The curve stitching only works on perpendicular sides so I’m simply putting threads across on the right to hold it down while I see if I can come up with anything better.

This one is going to be a pendant, with a piece of brass tube enclosing the top edge of the silk/Vilene sandwich. It reminds me of the kingdom of Eregion, just east of the Misty Mountains on Tolkien’s maps of Middle Earth so I’m calling it the Eregion pendant.

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As soon as I hooped up the fused fabric embroidery, I spotted several areas that needed filling in.

Fused fabric embroidery 1

Either side of the gold inclusion to the left and areas top and bottom, which became more obvious when in the hoop as that’s going to be the size and shape of the finished panel. After that, it was an easy fill in job.

Fused fabric embroidery 2

Originally I stitched it with oddments of machine thread I was given when my best-beloved aunt died and although I’d added some lines in single stranded cotton, they seemed too thick, so I used Guterman rayon and metallic thread in dark blue, turquoise and silver.

Fused fabric embroidery 3

Despite being machine threads, I was pleasantly surprised at how nice the metallics were to sew with and also, how well they lasted with very little shredding and shedding of the outer metal coat.

Fused fabric embroidery 4

I’m happy with the coverage now so this will be put on one side until I’ve got a cushion pad organised and I know what the sizings are going to be for the completed cushion cover.

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