At the beginning of last month, Catherine (of Hillview Embroidery) and I attended a workshop by Jenny Adin-Christie at Au ver a Soie in Paris. This weekend I finished the brooch we started during the workshop.
It is really fun little project and in the process of making the brooch, you learn lots of essential goldwork techniques such as couching, working with purl and chipping.
At the end of the workshop, I had stitched the rose using smooth purl and done most of the couching with the red opal 3 ply-twist and silver passing.
When I picked up the project again last Friday I first finished the couching and plunged the threads. During the workshop, Jenny showed us how to fray the threads once you have plunged them so you can flatten them out in the back when securing them so you don’t get a bulk of threads in one spot.
Next, I attached a row of purl purl on either side of the couching. The final inside row was made up of smooth purl and beads. I tried my best at keeping the spacing equal but I found it quite difficult when stitching in the round to get the ends to meet up. In the end, I think I did quite well.
The next and final embroidery part of this brooch is working chipping in the remaining open spaces. Chipwork is not the most difficult stitch but with all of the smooth purl already in place, it felt like Russian roulette when stitching it. The problem is that you have to bring up your needle quite a few times doing chipwork and it is so easy to bring up your needle in the wrong place and pierce and ruin the purl.
Jenny told us how to bounce your needle from outside of the work in so you could determine where your needle is on the underside of your work, but that still didn’t prevent me coming up in the wrong place quite a few time. Fortunately, the damage was not too bad so I decided to leave the purl in. Taking it out and putting a new one in would probably have caused more problems.
I also found it difficult to keep the dome shape of the brooch intact as when you stitch your holding stitches into the felt it tends to create dips which destorts the lovely curved shape I worked so hard on to achieve during the workshop. Fortunately when you put the chipping in place it is very forgiving and I ended up turning my hoop over to fasten on and off at the back to prevent any further distortions.
Once the embroidery is finished you need to put a running stitch around the outside of your embroidery, cut just outside that line and gather the fabric at the back. Next, you stitch some really fun metallic mesh ribbon around the outside to create a scalloped edge.
After stitching the brooch clasp to the backing felt you glue it to the back of your embroidery and leave to dry for 24 hrs after which time you can start wearing your brooch.
I really enjoyed stitching this little project. The kit was wonderful. It has a large booklet with very detailed instructions and lots of tips and tricks to get the best result. There are plenty of detailed drawings so you know exactly how to position your needle when doing a particular stitch. I don’t think I have ever come across such detailed instructinos.
There are also plenty of supplies in the kit so you don’t have to worry when you ruin pieces of purl as there is plenty of spare. The only thread I was scared of running out of was the bright check purl for the chipwork but I had about an inch spare at the end.
I will definitely try and do another workshop with Jenny as I learned so much during her class and during the finishing of the project.