What are Delectable Morsels?
The Delectable Morsels ‘club’ was established earlier this year by Alison Cole. Every couple of months she will distribute a small package of different threads and materials for us to use to create whatever we feel like! She will also provided a theme for each pack, which you can either choose to use as your basis, or you can go completely off with your own inspiration- whatever takes your fancy! This first pack had the theme of ‘low tide’.
The ‘low tide’ pack
The pack was beautifully packaged up, complete with blue tissue paper, and a gorgeous little tin! Very ‘delectable’! It certainly does look like there could have been chocolate hiding in there somewhere, though I suspect the customs officers would have picked them up very quickly, so just ’embroidery chocolate’ to enjoy.
What was waiting for us?
Inside our little package of goodness, we had been given silk fabric along with a backing fabric, glass organza, couching threads in two thicknesses, Stef France Silk Boucle, 3 ply twist gold thread, gilt smooth purl, gilt bright check purl, beads, silk ribbon, brash washers, beads and a little scroll. (I’m sure I took a photo but I can’t find it sorry!).
Alison has also put together a little leaflet on how to use everything. She gives ideas on the more traditional uses for each item, and then gives ideas on how you can do all sorts of things with them! I’ve never used gold threads before, so having a blank canvas was a little daunting when I don’t know how to use the threads!. But with the instructions and the idea that you can basically do whatever you want, I felt ok giving it a go!
What to do!
The next big question was what to do with these goodies! Whilst Alison had provided a sketch of an idea, I wanted to push myself and come up with an idea myself.
My initial idea was to use a ‘message in the bottle’ as the basis. But whilst I had the scroll from the pack, I didn’t have a bottle and couldn’t think how to create this quickly! I wanted this to be a quick project as something different to the canvaswork piece, so I didn’t put a great deal of thought into solving that problem!
I then remembered that I have a couple of adult colouring books, purchased principally for embroidery design ideas, so I got them out, and had a flick through. There were a few different things which caught my attention, but I liked the idea of the turtle, as I thought I could use his shell as a bit of a sampler for the different gold threads I’d never used before.
I traced the outline on (in pencil this time!), and using the Stef Francis Silk Boucle thread, I developed the outline of the turtle. This was a nice and effective technique. It built up quite quickly, and as the thread isn’t an exact thread, I let it go where it wanted to at times. To couch it down, I used a silk thread from colour streams which was a very good match! At times the variegations don’t quite match up, but for this piece I wasn’t at all worried about that!
Next the exciting part – playing with the gold threads!
Now I had my basis for my turtle, it was time to play with the gold threads!
I started off with the couching threads. Alison says that traditionally you couch down two lengths side by side. So this was what I did first time round! I also didn’t appreciate just how slender the smaller of these threads was, and perhaps should have used the thicker one to cover in the turtle’s rather large shell!
I then played a little with the couching threads using Alison’s guidance, and started two threads together, before separating them off and letting them go on their own little journeys.
Making the ground
For the seaweed the turtle is wading through, I used the glass organza. Alison had said that you could tear it, and then take the edge close to a burning candle to get a nice effect, but I just couldn’t get it to work! I’m sure I wasn’t touching the organza to the flame, but it still blackened rather than anything else.
So another solution was found, and I couched down strips of it around the base of the turtle. Using the brass washers and beads, I added a bit of interest, maybe they are ‘found objects’?
Finishing the turtle
To finish off the turtle, I still had some Hannah Silk Ribbon and the Purl threads to use.
I manipulated the ribbon a little by twisting and turning it, and tacked that onto his underside (I need a lesson in turtle anatomy – the bit where his head can disappear into!).
For his head, I again used Alison’s advice, and went down a ‘non-traditional’ route. I didn’t cut the Gilt Purl threads all the same size, and some I had loop up, and others lie flat. It all looked a bit uniform and in a straight line, so I added in some beads and tried to be a little more random about it all as I continued on!
The head of the turtle still seems to disappear a little, but if you know it’s a turtle I think you can see it!
It was a great little project to have some fun with, and play with some gold threads for the first time!
What to do with it now?
I’m now at a point where a lot of embroiderer’s probably just put in the ‘finish later’ pile. But I’ve decided I want to try something a little different, I just haven’t quite worked out how.
An Embroiderer’s Portfolio?
So my current idea is to ‘somehow’ create what I think would be called a ‘portfolio’. A collection where I have put together these little pieces (probably mounted), together with (in this case), Alison’s notes, and my own thought’s quickly jotted down on the piece too.
But how do I do this?
I was thinking perhaps an arch lever file? But do the plastic sleeves come with enough space to house embroidery? And long term this is probably not a great solution as those plastic sleeves deteriorate over time. Maybe a storage box with each piece wrapped in tissue paper?
So my question is –
do any of you have something along these lines for your pieces that you don’t want to finish in a particular way? Do you have any ideas? I’m welcoming all ideas on how to work this one out!