I always have a mental list of projects, fabrics, threads or techniques that I want to try. Sometimes, two or three ideas come together to form a plan. Sometime ago, I saw some walnut purses on the Embroiderer’s Guild forum. They immediately went onto the list and at Christmas I saved four walnut shells for when I got around to them.
A couple of weeks ago, I acquired my first cone of Gilt Sylke Twist but didn’t know then what I would do with it. Recently there has been a spat of strawberry embroideries, led (I think) by Carol’s strawberry CQ quilt. Hopefully, Carol will post a picture of her block on her blog for you to see but in the meantime she has posted a step-by-step guide on how she stitched a detached chain stitch strawberry that I think is her own design.
This started me thinking that my Redde GST would be perfect for a strawberry, and lo and behold, Mary Corbet worked a beautiful strawberry in redde GST satin stitch with a lattice in pink GST over the top. I decided to make a 'strawberry' walnut purse.
I made a template for the fabric cover and marked the outline onto a piece of fabric large enough to fit into a hoop will I stitched reverse chain stitch inside the outline.
I ran several rows of running stitch outside the outline to gather the surplus fabric inside the shell before cutting out the shape (with surplus). I covered one half of the shell first with wadding, which I glued to the shell and trimmed to fit. I then covered the shell with the prepared fabric and pulled up the gathering threads on the inside. The cover moved about a little, so I temporarily laced it in place to do the next step.
I had decided to cover each half of the shell in detached buttonhole with return, starting from the top. The Gilt Sylke Twist is a somewhat stiff thread, more like wire than silk; it took a little getting used to. I found that it is better to work with shorter lengths (I have a tendency to work with long threads even thought I know it is rarely best practice!) and that the thread sometimes needs to be eased into the stitch to prevent kinks forming. I needed to take my time and just enjoy working with this beautiful thread. I kept stopping to twist the shell under the light to see the gold sparkle.
After reaching approximately half way, I realized that the rows where distorting around the shell rather than going straight over the top and that they were not going to fully cover the surface. I went back across the work I had already done and eased the stitches open with my tekobari, which helped but it still doesn’t look like enough. I could open the stitches more but I think that will spoil them and the effect of the thread. I think it needs some filler rows but I’m not sure how to go about doing that. I know that detached buttonhole is used to cover heavily padded shapes or preformed shaped such as beads, so there must be a way to resolve this problem.
At the moment I am not sure how to proceed. I’m wondering if it would have been better to cover the shell with spiralling trellis stitch instead.