Last week, when I updated you on my snowflake embroidery projects, Beth asked a very good question in the comment section, and never being one to shirk a stitching challenge when it really intrigues me, I decided to try something.
Beth asked me if I could satin stitch with the metallic threads I was using.
I should have been able to say, “Of course you can. They are made for stitching, after all.” But since I had not satin stitched with them, I figured I better try it before confirming or denying.
If you’d just like the long and short of it, here it is: “Of course you can satin stitch with this thread. It is made for stitching, after all.”
The problem is, I’m working on a relatively small scale here.
That’s not a problem with testing the thread, mind you! If I can satin stitch successfully on this small of a scale with a metallic thread, then, by gads, that’s a metallic thread that works!
The problem is that the pictures aren’t the best ever of satin stitch. But I think you’ll get the point!
So the little dots in the photo above – I’m pointing to one of them with the tip of my tiny scissors – are satin stitched with #4 metallic braid from Au Ver a Soie.
First, I outlined underneath the dot with a minuscule split stitch, using (yes!) a matching silk thread, and I padded the dot with one layer of straight stitch filling, to lift the little thing a little bit off the fabric.
Then, I satin stitched.
On this small dot, it took about six stitches. I used the same thread, cut in a short length (maybe 10″), and I passed through the fabric – which is a tightly woven linen – about 24 times with a #7 crewel needle.
You’ll find a satin stitch dot tutorial here on Needle ‘n Thread, if you’re unsure of how to go about satin stitching nice round dots.
To give you a better notion of scale, here’s a photo with the spool of thread in it.
It’s just a regular sized spool – not a gargantuan spool.
(I wish I had a gargantuan spool of this stuff! I’m besotted with the color!)
Here’s the remaining thread from satin stitching two dots.
The arrow points to where the thread was crimped in the eye of the needle.
You don’t see any broken fibers on that metallic thread. You don’t see any bunched up areas where the metallic fibers broke and then proceeded to bunch up around the core fibers.
See? The thread is intact.
What a lovely thread.
What a Lovely Thread!
So for Beth, who wanted to know if you could satin stitch with the Au Ver a Soie metallics, the answer is yes. I’ve successfully done so with #4 braid, and even in a tiny area where things were a bit tight. The thread held up perfectly.
The other advantage of Au Ver a Soie metallics is that you can find, among their gorgeous silks, many colors that coordinate with the metallics.
My color choices aren’t all working out – some of them are a bit too “Elsa-Frozen” for my tastes. But it’s all part of the adventure!
I’m not just working with silks and metallics on these snowflakes. I’ve been working with cottons and pulling equivalent colors where possible, so that I know that there are substitutions available, too.
I try to keep track of what’s what up on the wall, so I can see at a glance what I’m doing. This helps keep the various bits and scraps and lists distilled to the basics.
And of course, it’s very easy to get engrossed in the stitching part and forget to write things down, so I always take photos of supplies and color numbers and such with my phone as I go – and always with whatever piece I’m working on in the background, so I remember what goes with what.
Not everything works out the way you expect it to, either, when experimenting with threads and colors and designs on these types of projects.
Sometimes, you keep plugging away on something, thinking it’s bound to improve, only to find that the design is just all wrong in the first place and the color scheme isn’t doing it, either. And so you have to start over and try again.
The one in the photo above doesn’t thrill me. It has more to do with the design, but the color scheme isn’t tickling my fancy, either. So that one is going back to the drawing board.
It’s a tough job.
But someone’s got to do it!
If you are stitching The Leafy Tree, please read the article I posted on Saturday, which has an errata statement and information on a stitching group for Leafy Tree-ers.
I hope your week is off to a grand start!
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