In the past two weeks, we have explored the early 15th century gold embroidery from Venice, Italy. One of its characteristics is the ornate orphrey borders with the twisted columns. I've always been curious how they were made! So out came the cotton padding threads and the gold threads and off I went.
This kind of embroidery is best done on a slate frame. If you would like a reminder of what this is and how to set it up, please have a look at my instruction videos. Next, you will need to attach your string padding. The original uses two different kinds of padding. There seems to be something like soft cotton underneath the twisted columns. And a thinner string is used as padding on either side. I've used two thicknesses of the same cotton string for the padding. In order for the gold threads to be able to sit crisp on the padding, make sure that you couch down your padding well.
The gold thread used in the original embroidery is a passing thread. In my recreation, I've opted for Stech 70/80, which is comparable to passing #3. I was also curious to know what the difference would be between a gilt and a real gold thread. I worked the main part of the sample with the cheaper gilt and the bottom section with the real gold (more yellow). I prefer the real gold :). It is a tat better at going and staying where I want it to go and stay. The result is a bit crisper. Still not as crisp as the original, but closer. If you have the opportunity to try different brands of passing thread, please do and see how they behave.
Working over this amount of padding will cause slight problems. Although you place a couching stitch over the gold and in the 'groove' of the twisted column, the gold is not very securely attached in this place. The twisted padding threads are also very round. Your gold thread wants to 'escape' and roll off. This is also visible in the original embroidery. And it comes as no surprise that the embroidery is most damaged in this area.
My Journeyman and Master Patrons will find a downloadable PDF with this stitch sample on my Patreon page. As I am travelling in the coming week, there will be no blog post next Monday. I will be visiting various Diocesan Museums in Germany and the Netherlands. All my Patrons will be able to virtually travel with me as I hope to be able to post some pictures along the way. There will also be a meeting of the Medieval Embroidery Study Group for my Master Patrons on Saturday the 2nd of December at 19h CET. Details can be found on my Patreon page.
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