Agnus Dei Neglected but not Forgotten
The Holidays are a wonderful opportunity to spend time with family and friends, but oh, how the stitching and other Ecclesiastical Embroidery and church vestment projects suffer from lack of attention. But now, Epiphany is over, the Christmas decorations are all put away, the house is tidy and in order, and the sewing room calls.
There were a few spare hours over the weekend, and it was time for some stitching. The large Agnus Die project is in need of some attention. The laid silk stitches for the large section of sky have been complete for quite some time, and the danger exists of snagging the silk, so it was time to continue with the goldwork. The above photo shows where the goldwork was left off after the last work on the piece. All of the thread tails were plunged and it was ready to continue.
For the larger of the Two Agnus Die projects for the Easter Set, the gold thread being used for couching the blue silk sky is a Gilt Smooth Passing Thread size 4 with a silk core. The thread is imported from Access Commodities here the States, and is available from Hedgehog Handworks. The Gilt threads have 1/2% gold, and are very nice to work with. The silk core makes the thread very pliable and so nice to plunge thread tails. This is an excellent goldwork thread.
After a goldwork thread is selected, there is always the question as to what type of thread should be used for couching. The above photos shows some of the options available for couching gold threads. Soie 100/3 is a silk thread and comes in a wide range of colors. The #241 is a great choice for couching goldwork threads. Since this was the thread used at the beginning of the Agnus Dei Project, I will continue with this. The Tyre silk was not on hand when this project was started, but having used in on the Easter Pulpit fall for couching the Elizabethan Twist, I have come to love the Tyre Silk thread. Regardless of the silk thread selected, both threads need the addition of bees wax prior to stitching. Running both the Soie 100/3 and Tyre silk through bee’s wax strengthens the thread and helps minimize tangles. The two threads in the middle are Kreinik Japan Thread size 1. This thread is a bit of a challenge the first time it is used for couching, but once on learns a few little “trick” to using it, it works very well for couching, and is almost invisible. Bees wax is not needed for the Kreinik Japan Threads in Size 1. Of course there are may other options available for couching goldwork threads, but the above are great if the goal it to have the couching threads be nearly invisible.
Now on to the stitching. A grid ruler comes in handy to keep all of the rows of the couching straight and even. Once in a while, a row gets off, and if it is noticed, I try to go back and fix it. The difficult part is checking and rechecking to make sure the rows are straight and even. Looking at the rows under the grid above, there is one row that appears to be off, and I may have to go back and fix that row. Perhaps others have suggestions on how they might keep rows straight and even, but this seems to work for me.
The Smooth Passing Size 4 is not a very thick gold thread, so using a crewel needle works well for plunging. Plunging it taken in turns with stitching rows. I set a goal for how far the rows need to go, and then try to have all of the tails plunged at the end of the session. Alternating between stitching rows and plunging thread tails provide a little variety to the stitching session.
At the end of the day, progress has been made. The cross has been reached. There is one row that was too narrow on one side and too wide on the other. Unfortunately, it was missed at the time of stitching, and I will have to go back and correct the spacing. This section has many stops and starts with all of the tiny spaces that need couching. I’m looking forward to the longer sections in the middle of the upper sky. There is something very relaxing about this type of stitching. It takes work to ensure the rows are even and straight, and the spacing of the couching stitches are even. It takes concentration, but not that constant attention that is needed as compared to other types of stitching. It’s been a nice relaxing project for a Saturday afternoon.
I hope you enjoyed relaxing with your favorite Ecclesiastical Embroidery Stitching this weekend. Until next time.
Solo Dei Gloria
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