“I was going to use the Trebizond for the cover because it’s so shiny and pretty. But I didn’t like working with the silk. Let me be more specific. I did not like working with stranded Trebizond. I will do some more research to find out if there is a way to handle stranding the twisted silk so it will handle more neatly in the stitching.”
I’d forgotten it’s on my wish list of threads to buy and try. It is a lovely, shiney 3-ply twisted silk from Access Commodities. Your finer embroidery suppliers will have it or know how to get it. Or you can click on the links in Mary’s article!
While we consider if there are other questions I have missed (see previous post), I thought I would tell you about the threads I’ve gathered to sample.
Caron’s Impressions, color 0020—This thread is 50% silk and 50% wool. It is soft, slightly fuzzy, and has 3 plies.
DMC’s Medici, color noir—Another soft, fuzzy thread which is considered a fine weight wool that is not divisible. Wool threads are non-reflective so will provide a very matte finish. And it’s mothproof!
Vineyard Silk Classic, Jet Black—While this thread is 100% Chinese silk, it feels like the Caron’s Impressions. It is non-strandable and supposed to not untwist when you’re using it, nor get dented by the needle.
Needlepoint Inc. Silk, color 993—This 8 ply thread is 100% Chinese Silk. Since it is reeled as opposed to spun the fibers are longer and should hold together better.
Belle Soie, Noir—French for “Beautiful Silk, black” really does describe this 12 stranded spun silk. The color is not quite as intensely black as the others, perhaps because it is hand dyed.
Baroque Silk, Witching Hour—This company’s colors are so rich, I’m looking forward to stitching with this hand dyed 3 ply thread.
Splendor, S801—Rainbow Gallery threads are probably familiar to the average stitcher of today. Splendor is their 12-ply hand washable silk thread that is manufactured in France. While I haven’t used this color, I have used the thread in several projects and I love working with it. This is what Rainbow Gallery has to say about the product: “This is a 12-ply silk floss with an unusual construction. It has three bundles of four strands each. It is easiest if you pull the bundles out first and then take out each strand. The twist of each individual strand is tighter than most silks. This makes Splendor easier to use. It will not snag on all but the roughest hands. Be careful to ply and lay the silk to keep the nice shine. I have also stitched with each bundle as it comes. This silk is perfect for people who have been afraid of silks. Many of the usual problems experienced with silk will not occur with Splendor. Anyone that stitches with cotton floss will have no problem with it.“
Mandarin Floss, M801—Have you played with any of the newer untraditional threads? I have used Sea Grass with success and now love it. Mandarin Floss is in this category for me. It is 100% Bamboo and has 6 plies. It feels so nice that I may start with it! This is what Rainbow Gallery has to say about their product: “It lays better than cotton because it is softer and yet is still quite strong. You can use slightly longer stitching lengths since it wears better too. It is less costly than silk but has many silk-like properties. Its semi-matte finish doesn’t overpower your other stitches. Most matte threads lines have gone off the market and Mandarin floss works well as a substitute. Blends well with with metallic filament for cross stitching. Great for French Knots, Turkey Work, tassels and twisted cords.”
Please ignore the arrows. This motif is 34 stitches by 34 stitches. It would make a charming border
This little project is a marriage of my love of blackwork and my love of samplers. Anyone who has been following The Shop Sampler blog will know that I have been playing with samplers and stitch practice for this year through the Take a Stitch Tuesday challenge at PIn Tangle and with the support of the Stitchin’ Fingers community. I have also joined the Yahoo group The Sampler Life. (As if I didn’t already have enough internet reading to do!) It is also a good group that is supportive and very creative as well as opening up even more of the international stitching world.
I mentioned in my last post that I am an avid fan of the Antique Pattern Library and have joined that Yahoo group, too. It’s the best way to keep up with what’s new at the Library. Also an international community of stitchers, I’m expecting that anyone needing help with translations can find someone there.
So, here’s the deal.
I have struggled with what thread I want to use for my Mystery Sampler project. I’ve looked at and bought a sample of every black thread out there. I have read about different people’s preferences.
I have been playing with different (colored) threads in my TAST projects and it is very clear how certain threads work for one desired effect and some threads will not work in the same situation. Like twisted thread works well for Double Twisted Chain, but stranded thread just looks messy in that stitch.
It is clear—Thread matters!
Samplers are the tried and true method of testing patterns! Hence birth of a new sampler!
Oh boy! You would think you could just pick up your fabric and start stitching. WRONG!
Well, maybe a little right. But I want this sampler to be useful, to be a really good reference, like the Encyclopedia Britannica of blackwork thread usage. Or Wikipedia entry of blackwork thread usage for those of you who are younger than Baby Boomers!
So what features should be incorporated into this sampler for it to be eternally useful?
The threads should be identified clearly in the sample or there should be a legend that will never be separated from the sampler.
The threads should be used as fully as they would in any worked piece. In other words, if the thread is a stranded one, then strand usage should be incorporated to the piece.
The sampler should answer any question a person might have about the thread as used in any type of work.
The threads sampler should show very clearly the differences between the various thread samples.
And another thing—
How does ground affect the thread usage? How can I work this into the sampler? Certain fabrics tend to “eat up” the pattern. Like Aida 14 or Fiddlers Cloth just don’t show silks off at all, in my opinion the fabric is too heavy and overpowers the delicate strength of the silk. [Are there fabric/thread combinations that you simply would never use?]
How does the thread work with colored threads in the case I want to get into the latest thing in blackwork—Colored Monochrome? I don’t know about you, but I have experienced how different colored threads behave differently than the exact same thread in another color. Because the dye has an effect on the fiber. I have found reds can sometimes be rather knotty to work with. [How about you? What thread colors have you had weird experiences with?]
[Can you think of other questions that should be considered in planning this sampler?]
I have answered some of these questions, in fact many of them at thigs point. But before I tell you what I have figured out, I want to hear from you. How would you answer these questions? What other questions do you think would be important? You tell me then I’ll tell you. Deal?!
I’ll give y’all a couple days to mull this over before I post again!
Quick post today given my dominant thumb was injected with steroid today due to “trigger thumb.” If you don’t normally look at Mary Hickmott’s New Stitches, you should look at issue No. 211. Part 3 of a 3 part series of patterns of architectural blackwork is on page 50. The title is Romanesque Blackwork and it is gorgeous! To see all three sections of this piece visit the StitchDirect.com catalogue. You may have to hit the control button as you click on this link.
When you get to that page, click on the Blackwork tab on the directory. Click on the Button for Buildings on that page. Then look for Romanesque, all three parts! Then debate with yourself about ordering the patterns or finding the Mary Hickmott mags instead. You can find her mags at the same site under the magazines tab on the left. I’m a fan of her magazines for the diversity and the fact that she often has blackwork patterns.
I only have seven more squares to go! Then the pieces must be stitched around the border. I had an emergency this weekend when I was showing off my progress to Jeff. I didn’t realize he was bleeding. When he handed it back I found three spots of blood on the piece. Here’s what I did to get it out immediately:
1. HAD JEFF SPIT ON THE SPOTS: Did you know that there is an enzyme in your saliva that when mixed with your own blood stops the blood from setting? It’s true! But the saliva and blood need to belong to the same person.
2. RUBBED THE SPOTS WITH AN ICE CUBE: Cold will help remove protein and keep it from settingeals the protein. Try running hot water on one plate with egg on it and cold on another plate with egg. The heat congeals the protein.
3. RUBBED TIDE TO GO STAIN STICK ON THE SPOTS: While the first two steps made a big difference and I had only a bit of pink on the fabric, I was not ready to submit the whole piece to a handwash. This stain remover took everything out! Maybe I didn’t even need to do the first two steps.
For those who have recognized that Catherine was merely a vehicle for getting “Spanishe Work” to Great Britain, it is widely believed that the style was actually born in Morroco. This, I believe, is true to an extent. One must look at the history of that part of the world to have a better understanding of this embroidery. Do not forget the importantance of the Byzantine Empire and all that was “borrowed” from that powerful and large influence–the beauty of the churches, mosaic works, the opulence of gold work and use of other gems in art. And the weight of one’s faith or connection to religion. One must also remember the importance of trade routes to the Far East, i.e., The Silk Road. Textiles and fibers for making and enhancing textitles were valuable trade resources at both ends of “the Road.” All of these influences informed the ultimate creation of Catherine’s world and her stitching.
When the Islamic world began to stretch out and occupy more lands, one faction gained power on the Iberian Peninsula. This group is said to have come from Morroco and the term associated with that time in Spain was “Moorish.” It has also been suggested that these “Moors” were tolerant of other cultures in the land they occupied. This might be because they did not raze the old churches and community places, but instead embellished them and augmented them to meet the needs of their Islamic faith. In fact, they were as ruthless as any other colonizer in history. (To be continued….)