A 'Gothic' Inspired Flower
You may recall that I am making an effort to each month, complete a ‘creative’ challenge. I have a number of ‘Delectable Morsels‘ packs from Alison Cole still to work my way through, and even after I have finished these packs, I think this is an important exercise to continue on with! And this month’s theme was ‘Gothic’. And whilst not ‘traditionally gothic’, I do have a ‘gothic inspired’ flower!
What were we given in this pack?
As with all of the Delectable Morsels packs, there was a great variety of materials to use and experiment with.
In the ‘Gothic’ pack we were given:
- Spider ribbon – an interesting, but great material!
- Silver T70 4×2 cord – this is quite a thick cord, and I had my doubts about using it. But they were unfounded as I really liked this material!
- Black/Gold 2 Ply Twist
- Snake Skin – this is very similar to leather, just a little more delicate
- Gothic Couching Thread 371
- Black Tulip Couching Thread 371
- Silver Couching Thread 345
- Gilt Sylke Twist
- Silver Pearl Purl #1 – this was tarnished, which I’ve not encountered before. Does anyone know how this could be avoided in the future?
Designing a 'Gothic Inspired' piece
I originally had visions of this being a bit of a ‘Dracula’ piece – mainly something with bats!
But in all my sketches, I just couldn’t get something I was happy with. And if it doesn’t work in a sketch form, it won’t work when stitched.
So it was back to the drawing board, quite literally!
It was an interesting mix of materials – mainly the more ‘delicate’ looking metalwork threads, with the snake skin – quite a contrasting material.
After playing around with a few rough sketches, I eventually decided on a flower emerging from a rock.
Stitching the flower
The flower stem
For the stem of the flower, the thick cord seemed the best option.
It was easy to apply, much like any cord. And I definitely improved my stitch placement as I went up the stem.
My major concern with this material was sinking it. I’d had some troubles when sinking the rococo thread on my koala. And I didn’t want to have to deal with a damaged silk on this piece! But I needn’t have worried. The cord is easily pulled apart into separate strands which you can sink reasonably easily using the lasoo method. After that, you tie it off as you would any other metal work thread.
The Flower petals
I quite enjoyed stitching the petals. My only problem here was that I should have been more careful with making each petal the same shape! But, another lesson learned in these monthly ‘creative textile play’ pieces!
For the petals, I worked three ‘rows’ of couched thread. For the two outer rows, I stitched just the one pair. And for the inner silver couching thread, I used two rows.
All of this was a good reminder on how to couch couching threads and that I need a bit of practice! It’s not nearly as neat as I would like. When I first started stitching it I felt like I was all thumbs – thankfully that improved as I got used to using the threads again!
The Flower Centre
I was a little undecided about the best way of approaching the centre of the flower.
Part of me wanted to use the snake skin, but I was also quite interested in the prospect of using the Gilt Sylke Twist, which I’d never used before.
In the end, the twist won out. It is an interesting material to use – not quite a metalwork thread like a couching thread, but also not quite a normal stitching thread. Alison’s notes say you can use it to stitch with it if you use a large enough needle. Or, you can couch it down.
After a bit of contemplation, I decided I try for the couching it down option – and add in a few loops for texture too! All in all, this wasn’t that tricky, though again I felt I was lacking a hand or two. I’m not sure my couching method was particularly sufficient either, as the loops didn’t ‘stay’ particularly well. This could also be viewed as a positive as I was able to manipulate it after stitching it down!
Once I’d decided on the design of a flower, I knew exactly what I wanted my leaves to look like!
Using the black/gold twist to outline the leaves, I then added in a little interest by using the Pearl Purl as the vein. You can see a little of the tarnish that was present on these vein lines. I tried to avoid the tarnished areas as much as possible. But, if there was going to be a piece where this didn’t matter, this was going to be it!
I’m quite pleased with how the leaves worked out!
The Finishing touches - the 'rocks'
Time for the finishing touches to my ‘gothic inspired’ flower – the rocks!
The snake skin was used for the larger ‘rock’. It was easy to apply – using a few anchoring couching stitches to keep it in place, and then adding a few more in between each one. I was originally thinking I would then outline it in a couching thread. But on reflection, I decided that might create a bit too much ‘bling’.
The smaller ‘rock’ was created using the spider ribbon couched in the same way. This material is fantastic and I think you could use it on quite a few different designs! It doesn’t fray, and can be manipulated well too. I guess I was a bit boring with my use of it!
And here is my 'Gothic Inspired' flower!
It was a fun project to stitch up, and as always, I enjoyed the combination of materials that I had used before and those I hadn’t.