Silver Couching Progress

Advent is here, and regretfully, the new Advent Vestment Set will not be ready for this season.  The Advent Vestment Set, which had not been on the horizon for this year, was started late from several unexpected sources of inspirations. The inspiration and ideas came together so quickly and unexpectedly, that it was impossible not to start the project.  And even though, from the beginning, it was doubtful if there was enough time to complete the project, this was a project that could not wait. Being an optimistic seamstress, perhaps thoughts about timing on projects are still viewed from the days before having to return to working full-time.  Add to that optimism, a delay of  a few weeks waiting for supplies, along with the normal interruptions of life, and the few short weeks available were not enough time to do the project justice. Sadly for now, my church must endure another Advent Season with the Current Advent Altar Hangings.

Using Japan Thread #7 to outline lower edge of design
Using Japan Thread #7 to outline lower edge of design

This interim Advent Set could have been completed on time if machine applique had been used.  But for this project I wanted the hand embroidery and the silver thread.

Pinterest, always a source of inspiration, has this lovely design posted. Using a combination of silver threads and pearls, the design sparked the imagination. The silver threads give the embroidery such a light and delicate look.

Couching Silver Japan Threads with Kreinik Japan #1 Thread
Couching Silver Japan Threads with Kreinik Japan #1 Thread

Silver and blue are a stunning combination. What’s not to love about these lovely metallic threads that shine so brightly.  Once the silver hand embroidery was started, there was no turning back or reconsidering other techniques. Machine applique, while very lovely, would not give the same look, or combination of textures.

Metallic Threads Couched in pairs
Metallic Threads Couched in pairs

Couching metallic threads is fairly simple, but there are tips and techniques that help add that final touch to the stitching. The Japan Threads are worked in pairs. Two threads are couched at one time. The most important row of stitching is the first row. It must be worked securely, and firmly.  All of the other rows snug up to the first row.  So if the first row wavers, or the stitching is not firm, the subsequent rows will be affected. After a base row is established, the succeeding rows are couched in place, coming up on the outer edge just under the threads, going across the threads. When taking the stitch down, angle the needle slightly under the previous row, pulling the couching thread up tight, but not so tight as to crimp the threads. The proper amount of pulling snugs the current row up tight to the previous row of threads.

Silver Couching Finished on Lower Edge
Silver Couching Finished on Lower Edge

This area was small, and it did not take long to complete the Silver Japan Thread couching.  There is one area that may have to be reworked, as threads did not turn the corners as well as they should have.

Since the deadline for this project was missed for the 2014 Advent Season, what will become of this set?  The good news is that now there is adequate time to complete the project without rushing for next year. There is also time to reconsider the plans for how the Large Advent Star will be worked.  The project will continue to be worked on through the end of this year, and into next until it is completed.

Next up now that there is no pending deadline to meet, the red passing thread can be properly reworked.  More about that soon on Ecclesiastical Sewing.

Solo Dei Gloria

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