I’ve been much delayed in doing the follow up to Part One of the goldwork project but here it is. This post looks at the next sewing test and final version of Gary Spencer Millidge’s Abiogenesis Press logo I made with some new equipment: a 30cm x 30cm Elbesee hand rotating (roller) frame and an Elbesee Posilock stand.
Step 4: Dressing a roller frame
If you’ve never used a dressed frame before it can look quite intimidating to do (this technique can also be called bracing a frame or framing up). However, there are some useful resources available. Rather than trying to buy all the various bits individually and perhaps getting the wrong things, I used Sarah Homfray’s pre-made Framing Up kit.
One thing to note: When I last watched the video there seems to be an accidentally missing step in Sarah Homfray’s tutorial, which is when it comes to tightening the fabric in the frame at the end.
Before thoroughly tightening the backing fabric that is attached to the slate or roller frame you should stitch on the material which has your chosen design. If you sew the material on after you have fully tightened the backing fabric you may not be able to get the same level of even tension which could lead to problems when you start sewing. For this reason I do recommend reading Mary Corbet’s tutorial as well.
Step 5: Sewing in padded satin stitch
The last test was meant to be the completed version, this time using a power-woven black silk dupion and a DMC Diamant in Metallic Silver thread. In the above image you can also see the long and short stitch worked in buttonhole thread which attaches the silk to the calico backing for framing up. I’ve used this stitch twice now and I’ve found that for smaller pieces it works really well at ensuring an even tension when tightening up the fabrics.
My idea was to use a padded satin stitch (over a split stitch) to create the fill for the inner triangle and circles and then create the outer circle in silver wire cutwork over string padding. I have to admit I do not have a lot of practise at using satin stitch, particularly not having tried it with a metallic thread before. As you can see by the photo; it was a struggle to get a smooth and even stitch and I was close to finishing the central design before I realised the changes in stitch direction and the difference in thickness of one side to the others were going to make it look unattractively inconsistent. Before stopping completely I did a short test of couching down soft string to lay silver wire cutwork over. After having tried this, I went to look at other stitches that could be used as a filling.
Step 6: Creating the final version
And so finally we reach the completed logo design! I used the prick and pounce method for transferring the design onto a power-woven grey silk dupion with a medium weight calico backing, which was the fabric I had used for dressing the roller frame.
If there’s one key thing that I’ve learnt from working this design; if you’re stuck for what stitch to use, stop and have a browse of an embroidery book or website for ideas! I was feeling rather lost on how I was going to fill the inner triangle shape until I took a step back from experimenting and read Kate Haxell’s The Stitch Bible. This is an excellent book for beginners and it really helped me out in deciding what to use. I chose a French Knot, but because I was using a Seta Reale pure silk thread in white which was quite slippery, my first couple of tries were more like little loops. This turned out to be a happy accident because I rather liked the sort of ‘bubbly’ texture as I built it up by layering knots over each other.
Apart from the white silk thread, I used small silver sequins for the centres of the circles, held down with more French Knots, the DMC Metallic Silver thread to go over the traced outline as it had faded a little, the soft string padding which was couched down and then a No.6 Rough Purl and No.6 Bright Wire Check sewn over as cutwork.
Overall I was pleased with it as my first completed version. There were some mistakes along the way that makes it just a little less symmetrical than I hoped but I enjoyed the process of learning by doing and trying a variety of different stitches and techniques which I will remember for the next time I try a similar project.
I hope that sharing the process of how the project was tested and completed will be of use to other sewing enthusiasts or goldwork beginners.
A list of suppliers follows for most of the materials and equipment I used. These are all U.K based companies, so please be aware there may be additional shipping and packaging costs for overseas orders where those are accepted.
Power-woven silk dupion in black and grey from The Silk Route.
Goldwork wires, fine Rococco thread, Framing Up kit, Prick and Pounce kit and soft string all from Sarah Homfray.
DMC Diamant Metallic silver thread and silver sequins from Carolyn Gayton.
Calico fabrics, Seta Reale thread and needles were sourced locally.
Elbesee Posilock Stand and 30cm x 30cm Hand Rotating frame from Sew and So.