Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Karahana, Finished

Back in May, Pam left a comment about the couched threads

… I am curious about the couched thread between the leaves -- is that removed afterwards and then something else put in the space? …
© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

I’m sorry that I ignored your question at the time Pam, but I wasn’t ready to reveal the 'secret' of the couched threads. You were half right, the threads are removed but nothing is put in their place, they are there to create an even space between the individual elements.

When I completed the first petal, I was sorely tempted to remove the yellow thread between the petal and the turn over to see how it looked but that would have been like reading the last page of the book when I had only read the first chapter. I determined to leave the couched threads in place until all the gold work was complete and then savour the moment when I removed the threads and could see Karahana truly finished. (Yes, I do realise how sad that sounds.) And as if that isn’t sad enough, I decided to remove the threads in reverse order to that in which they were stitched.

First to go was the short length of orange thread between the fifth and sixth petals.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

These first two photographs show how different the gold looks with the spacer threads removed so that the background silk shows between the separate elements.

It can be a bit fiddly removing the couching stitches; I find the easiest way (once the first few stitches are removed) is to gently tug on the spacer thread. This lifts the couching thread and forms a loop into which you can insert your tekobari and then gently remove the stitch.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

Some of the stitches won’t come, usually because you have caught the thread with a subsequent stitch. When this happens, it sometimes helps to turn the frame over and work from the back.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

This is when you are grateful that your sensei advised you to couch the spacing threads in white couching thread. Imagine if you had used the same orange thread that you used to couch the gold!

Eventually, the only spacing threads that remain are the double row that I couched between the flower center and the petals back in March.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

And then even they are gone and Karahana is finished.

© JEC/Carol-Anne Conway

It feels as if I have been stitching this Phase for a long time, but both Phase I and II took me 12 months where Karahana has only take 6 months. I have really enjoyed stitching this design and hope to do another gold work design in the future but in the short term I will be happy to get back to stitching with silk.

Thank you to everyone who left comments or emailed support and encouragement throughout this project, I greatly appreciate your kind words about my work.

Happy Stitching


Susan Elliott said...

Your work is beautiful. Funny, we were taught to stitch our spacing threads in the same color as our foundation and we did not remove them. You must have been looking at my piece this whole time thinking it's not finished! LOL I'll have to ask my teacher about this on Saturday when I go to class. Congratulations again...

Anonymous said...

Wow, I didn't know it would make such a difference but it really does. Your work is beautiful.

NormaH said...

That is the most exquisite piece you've done yet and I was enthralled with your butterfly pieces!

Jane said...

This is spectacular, great to see how it changed as the couching threads were removed. Absolutely beautiful

Jane said...

Well done, it looks lovely. I'm very happy you feel well enough to hold a needle again.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful piece of work and what a difference it made taking out the spacing threads.

Anonymous said...

Its beautiful and slad to see you stitching again talk to you soon Sue

Lil said...


Unknown said...

That is so beautiful.

Vivian said...

As always, your work is breathtaking!

sharonb said...

I wanted to add to your list of people who have congratulated you. It is a really a very beautiful piece and you should feel proud - well done

Jeanne said...

This is gorgeous, Carol! Thanks for sharing the secret of the spacing threads.

JoWynn Johns said...

Just want to add my appreciation of your beautiful, WAY beautiful work.

I've done the EGA Silk and Metal Thread Embroidery correspondence course with Kay Stanis, so I know what it takes to do such splendid work. This is truly magnificent.

I'm glad Mary Corbet directed me to your site.

KV said...

Playing catch-up here today -- this piece is so exquisite! It has been a true adventure watching it progress . . .

Kathy V in NM

Anonymous said...

I have always wondered how folks achieved those perfectly spaced lines. Thank you for this wonderful blog. I am flipping through your archives and just wanted to let you know you really have something special here. Keep up the good work, this is all very lovely!