Posts Tagged ‘silk carrier rods’

This week it was bitterly cold but bright – perfect for sanding the drawers of my ’60s teak chest of drawers outside.

Starting point: tired, faded, stained.



Simply sanded as close as I could get to the handles. The handles are amazing. Most furniture has at least one loose handle. Not this one. Every single handle is rock solid, glued, screwed or whatever, but it’s a good job I love the original handles because they were NOT coming off…

20171208_104022_HDR.jpgThen laborious sanding down by hand to get to this:

20171208_105617_HDR.jpgThree more to go before the Danish Oil could work its magic. And what magic! I was prepared for it this time but it still blew me away.


20171208_144549_HDR.jpgThree coats of Danish Oil and a thorough polishing with beeswax later, it was transformed from this: 20171126_105438_HDRTo this:

20171210_104643_HDR.jpgIt’s now in my bedroom filled with Christmas presents and fabric. I absolutely love it! :o)

I’ve also had a bit of a metalwork session. I loved the effect of the printed silk carrier rod behind the rescued gold tone bib, so I hunted out some of the brass I impressed when I did my silversmithing course several years ago…


…and started to play.  This is going to be a pendant.


And this, a brooch.

DSCN7587.JPGI love cutting fiddly shapes with the piercing saw, letting it and the texture of the metal dictate where it goes and making these pieces has been a joy. I have an oval pendant on the way too. More photos to come.

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Last year at Embroiderers’ Guild we had an amazing full day workshop with Chris Gray which started off with printing from her mind-blowing collection of printing blocks. I only had a handful of bits of fabric and loved the printing so much that I ended up printing on everything I could find in my bags, including three silk carrier rods I’d ironed flat.


I love silk carrier rods, but like so many things, they disappear into drawers and boxes knowing that the chance that I might find something to do with them is slim to none.

However… I’ve been upcycling jewellery again and after trialling a few ideas for how to enhance this rather naff goldtone geometric bib section,  I came across the printed carrier rods and that turquoise one was perfect.



The nature of the carrier rod means that it doesn’t fray and I could simply stick it into the back of the triangle.


Turquoise is a complete nightmare to match colourwise because of the proportions of green and blue, but the turquoise nugget beads were a perfect match and some gold tone chain finished it all off nicely. It is always such a pleasant surprise when things work out smoothly and I have listed it here.


On a roll, I came across two odd earrings. This…

20171112_122216_HDR.jpg …plus this… 20171112_122229_HDR.jpg

…now equal this:


I have been embroidering as well, but it’s unfortunately under wraps until December.

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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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