When I started my embroidery business many years ago, freshly out of the Royal School of Needlework, I simply continued to use the materials they use there. It was very convenient. I was familiar with the product, and I knew where to get it. After a while, I discovered products I liked better and so started to swap things out as and when needed. When the catastrophe of BREXIT became final in 2021, I needed to find even more replacements for 'typical' British products or pay 19% extra tax + a customs handling fee. One of the last products I have so far not found a replacement for is pounce powder. Theoretically, you could make your own from drawing charcoal (white chalk powder is easily available in a good art store). Practically, though, it is very messy, and you might end up with a black powder that smudges your white embroidery fabrics when you apply the baby brush to brush the excess off. Not good. So, I still ordered my pounce from Sarah Homfray. However, she has been having supply problems herself. Time to find an alternative. And no, it won't be an aqua trick marker :).
To my surprise, there is a small family business in Germany that has been making and selling pounce since 1876! That's like since dinosaurs roamed the earth. The only drawback: there's no black. They do white, light blue, yellow and red. I decided to order the white and the blue. On their website, the blue looks rather dark. In real life, it is VERY light baby blue (DMC 3747). Main question: is the pounce suitable for the prick-and-pounce method? Let's run a few experiments!
For my experiment, I used a small pricking from my collection. Pinned it to 46 ct linen that's on my slate frame at the moment. Rubbing the pounce through was not a problem. It made nice small dots on my fabric. Although the blue is very light, I found the dots easy to see. I was working in front of my window: no direct sunlight and no additional artificial light either. I used some iron gall ink for part of the design and some watercolour paint for the rest. The ink was nicely inhibited by the pounce so that it didn't spread. The only blobs are actually in the area where there was no pounce dot. The pounce also worked well with the paint. Overall, I had the impression that my brush did not clog up as much as it does with charcoal pounce.
Once the paint had dried, I brushed the excess pounce off with a baby brush. The pounce was easy to brush off and it did not leave a trace on the fabric. The design lines are crisp and easy to work with. I think I have found myself a new favourite pounce! How historically accurate coloured pounce is, is difficult to say. We know about the white (chalk/burnt bone) and the black (charcoal). And possibly a yellow. Unfortunately, not much research has been done on the actual materials used in the Middle Ages. I did not yet experiment with the white pounce as it looks and feels exactly the same as the white pounces I already have.
The pounce powder comes in a box with 10x 100 gr bags in one colour. Most stitchers won't go through a kilo of pounce in their stitching lives. Besides, you probably want more than one colour. Maybe order as a group? Or see if they are willing to sell a combi-pack where you get a 100 gr bag of each of the four colours? Although I could see the light-blue dots perfectly well, I am going to order a box of the red and the yellow pounce as well. If those colours behave as well as the blue did, I will see if they are open to selling specifically to embroiderers and doing the combi-pack. It is probably a market they have not thought of. By the way, their pounce is normally sold for those puff machines with which you encircle a person wearing a skirt that's too long and needs shortening.
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