Sunday, December 12, 2010

Curious About Metal Threads? UPDATED

We aren't exactly ignorant of the beauty of metal threads used in goldwork here in Chilly Hollow but we haven't taken a class ever so it is great fun to learn more about how these threads are used.  Kathy is making a sachet and using metal thread embroidery for the holly leaves at the base.  It's fun to watch her use a piece of check like a flexible bead to make the holly outline.  She gives us tips on working with Benton and Johnson's check, too.

If you are curious about Benton and Johnson threads, here is their website.  Check is listed under Wire Threads, but don't skip Embroidery Threads.  That's where coloured twist lives and coloured twist is one of my favorite threads EVER!

One of the mysterious topics related to goldwork is the use of beeswax to condition the thread that is used to attach the metal threads (or beads for that matter).  I've never known exactly how to properly wax my threads but Mary Corbet Tells All right here.

On another topic altogether, the end of December marks the end of the tax year for Americans.  Whichever side of the debate on extending the Bush tax cuts you are on, most of us can reduce our tax burden by charitable donations.  These have to be done by the end of December to count toward the 2010 tax return we'll be filling out in early 2011.  If you want to make a charitable donation but have no idea where, Tricia Nguyen has an idea.  Give money, even a little money, to museums so they won't be placed in the position of having to sell off important parts of their collection to keep their doors open.  Let me turn Blog over to Tricia so she can explain this better than I ever could--

UPDATE:  Here is a series of articles about the Benton and Johnson factory and how their metal threads are made.  Fascinating!

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at

The Dragon - Part Six

Leigh Designs' European Dragon
Once Sandy narrowed down the background choices and picked the major threads for her dragon, it is time to talk about the final touch to the background.  As a reminder, the European dragon is on 13 count canvas that is roughly 20x24 inches in the outside dimensions with a dragon that is about 15 inches wide and roughly 18 inches tall. Sandy bought Rainbow Gallery's Silk Lame for the wings and Plant Earth Fiber's Silk Opal for the body of the dragon, and is thinking about using Flair for the smoke and flame. Sandy likes full coverage on her designs and is stitching this for her son.

If you want to look at the background stitches Sandy considered, here's the link.

Before we talk about possible stitches for the dragon itself, Sandy liked the idea of stitched a "frame" around the border.  In this blog entry I showed Sandy three different types of stitched frames.  Now that we know she is leaning toward using Sundance's Eye Wave stitch, we can look at the borders again.  Personally, I think I would use SharonG's Favorite Border for this piece.  That's the one with the black and gold colors with the diamond shape in each corner.  If Sandy switches the colors to use some of the green and browns that she bought to stitch the dragon, I think it would look beautiful. It's also fairly simple so it won't compete with the dragon for attention, just frame the piece.  She could also add a bead to the center of each diamond to further set it off.

If Sandy chooses this border, she'll have to play with the threads she has to find the correct number of plies needed for the effect but SharonG lists the threads she used here, so it'll be easy to compare using 2 plies of Silk Lame Braid with using #16 or #12 Kreinik braid.

Ok, Sandy, now it is your turn to pick a border and play around with using the threads you already have for it.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at