The gold in this goldwork project will be gold passing thread. If you’re not familiar with what gold passing thread is, feel free to look at a few previous articles: gold passing thread up close, the Agnus Dei project, the golden pomegranate, or my goldwork Christmas ornament from this past Christmas – all of them make liberal use of gold passing thread.
In this technique, which is called Or Nué, the gold passing thread will be couched with colored silk to form a picture. I’ve recently run a couple articles on Or Nué techniques (Margaret’s goldwork flower and Christiana’s goldwork peacock feather) if you want to get more of a sense of what the technique is all about.
Here, I’ll be going step-by-step through the process of Or Nué embroidery, and I’ll tell you up-front, I’ve only worked the technique a few times, on simple projects. This little iris is more complicated than any Or Nué I’ve done before, and I will undoubtedly be troubleshooting along the way!
I’m off to a bad start, anyway. Let me show you what I mean…
Here’s the design, traced onto tissue paper. It’s from 4000 Flower & Plant Motifs: A Sourcebook by McCallum – an excellent book for little motifs perfect for embroidery. I modified the design slightly.
After laying in some (really sloppy!) color using prismacolors and centering up the design, I added in that swashy looking line, because I’m thinking I’ll work the gold thread in some other pattern besides just a straight line. I don’t think this particular swash is going to be my gold thread guide, though….
The next thing to do was to consider colors of silk. Actually, the next thing was to consider TYPES of silk. I wanted a fine thread, to ensure that I didn’t end up with too much bulk over the gold threads, which could distort and push them out if I didn’t space them correctly. It was at this point that I noticed that none of my finer threads were available in the same colors – or in any extent of color – compared to my rather haphazard collection of Soie d’Alger. Now, Soie d’Alger is my favorite thread for needle painting (long and short stitch – like this needlepainted iris, which is actually worked in DMC cotton). I found as I was planning out this goldwork project that I was thinking too much in terms of needlepainting. This may pose a problem later – we’ll see!
Anyway, I had a good collection of purples and greens in the Soie d’Alger, so that’s what I decided to go with.
I selected a palette. I think these are way too many shades of color!! (And I know you’re probably wondering about that coral. So am I!)
I’ll probably end up using these two purples…
… and these two greens predominantly.
So, colors selected and pattern more or less messily prepared, I headed to my light box to transfer the pattern onto the fabric.
And here comes Mistake #1:
I outlined in black, using a micron art pen. Oh dear. It didn’t occur to me until later that I really don’t want those harsh black lines on the surface of the fabric. I know that there will be some space between the gold threads – not a lot of space, but some, nonetheless. I don’t want any vague black outline peeking through…
And this could be Mistake #2, but I don’t know yet. I used prismacolors (soft lead colored pencils) to lay the color in on my fabric. Normally, this would be done with watercolor paints, but …. mine are packed away, and I was over-eager. I tend to think it’ll be ok.
Regarding the black line, I’m planning on couching stitches long that black line, so I’m hoping they will be sufficient cover up. We will see!
After I finished transferring the design, I mounted the linen on an Evertite Frame, which have fast become my favorite frames. (I don’t have a slate frame that’s small enough for this project). Now, my next step is to prepare all my supplies and put everything together in one basket for easy access. Then, I’ll set up my Needlework System 4 stand with the frame in it, and have that ready for those 15 minute moments when I can take a few stitches during the week!
So that’s my current colored project! I’m still working on the whitework sampler, though not regularly. I’ll be dividing up a few days a week for whitework, a few days a week for goldwork now. I did finish my miniature embroidery piece, and will show you some photos of that tomorrow.
What are you up to? Do you have any projects going? Are you blogging progress on any projects? Feel free to share a link to your blog, flickr account, etc., below, so that we can see what you’re up to, too!