Friday, 27 March 2015

Gulp............It's Time for Goldwork!

One of the reasons for starting this blog was so that I could chronicle my adventures with new needlework techniques.  Anyone that knows my stitching will tell you that I love adding bling and metallics to my work wherever I can.  Of course the ultimate needlework technique that embraces that to the max is goldwork and I've been dying to give it a try and now the time has come!

I've always been interested in different types of embroidery techniques and textile art in general.  I've done copious amounts of reading on the topic, but I can procrastinate no more!  I'd previously thought that goldwork would be a technique that I would have to admire rather than try for myself as I felt it was something that would benefit from being demonstrated in class rather than self taught from a book.  Whilst I would love to attend an RSN day class, the distance is just too far for me, so I figured I would just put the idea to bed. 

Until that is a stitchy friend pointed me in the direction of Sarah Homfray, who currently teaches for the RSN as well as running her own private needlework classes.  Sarah has a beginner's goldwork kit where the instructions are delivered entirely by YouTube videos which was just perfect for me and exactly what I was looking for.  So here are my goldwork supplies for my much anticipated new start:

Goldwork Kit and supplies
My kit, plus two other essential pieces of goldwork equipment: beeswax and a pair of goldwork scissors.  Goldwork scissors differ from ordinary embroidery scissors as they have one serrated blade which helps prevent the threads from slipping when you are cutting them.
So what's in the pack?  First of all there is the design, which is helpfully already transferred onto the cotton fabric for you and also includes a piece of calico backing to give added strength to your finished piece:

Goldwork design
Also included are all the other wires, threads, felt and needles you need to complete the design:
Kit contents

The types of goldwork thread used in the design (from left to right) are: Japanese thread, Rococco thread, Pearl Purl, Bright-check Purl and Wire-check Purl.

I am going to try very hard to slow down and pace myself when working on this design and channel the Slow Stitching Movement!  I won't share my progress stage by stage, but will probably do a big reveal once it's complete - no pressure that way!  If goldwork turns out to be something that I enjoy, the cost of materials makes it something that I would not be able to have on the go all the time, so I want to savour my stitching!  I have a terrible habit of "gobbling up" the projects that I'm really excited about.  I speak as a stitcher that finished the majority of her first large Chatelaine mandala (Chinese Garden) in 6 weeks!

On the other hand of course, I might be a complete failure at it and this may be my first and last post on goldwork - the point of the blog though is to keep me honest and accountable, so if I haven't mentioned this project in a while feel free to nudge me about it!

If you are interested in this techinique, obviously the stitching oracle Mary Corbet has written a plethora of articles on the topic.  I'm also a huge fan of Sophie Long's work (@sophieembroidery on IG) and love her most recent video using Pearl Purl and silk ribbons together.  There are so many talented artists out there, I'm just glad they share their work as I find it so inspiring!

So they'll be lots of couching of thread going on hopefully over the weekend and then I get to pick up Plum Pudding on 1st April to continue my SAL with Nic!  I'll be back before then though with an Operation Threadporn update and to see how March's stitching goals went.......

Happy Stitching!


  1. Wow, I wasn't really aware of goldwork until now. Looks really interesting! Hope you have fun with it :)

  2. Have fun with the kit Amanda. I was lucky enough to do a RSN day class with Kelley Aldridge to make a gold work bee. Challenging to get things cut to the right length and laying just right, but so lovely and blingy when you are down. Really enjoying your blog, having followed your stitching on the Chatelaine forums and Youtube.

    Godalming, Surrey

  3. I am so very excited to hear how you get along with goldwork! I am sure it will look just as beautiful as all your other stitching :)

  4. I am excited too, Amanda. Am looking forward to when you post about your goldwork project again with pictures. Thank you for the links. I am interested although not sure I'll give goldwork a go,but I love reading blogs and seeing others using different methods of stitching.

  5. Can't wait to see how you get on! It looks like the kit is good quality which is a promising start.

  6. "Pearl Purl" made me laugh every time I read it, which I needed today. I am so immature.

  7. I hope you will show us your project whether or not you feel it has been a success. It will be interesting to see. I am now going to go away and find out more about goldwork as I know nothing about it.

  8. I did a class in goldwork many years ago. It was interesting but too slow for me! I do think the resulting work is beautiful. I'm looking forward to seeing your piece finished.

  9. I hope you have a great experience learning this new endeavor.

  10. It's really exciting to be starting something new, I'd love to do a rsn say class aswell. Maybe in the future someday. I met Sophie Long once and she was very interesting to speak to and her work was very inspiring. I can't wait to see how you get on !!

  11. I'm looking forward to seeing how you get on with this. It looks beautiful.

  12. I'll be interested in seeing how you enjoy this project. Knowing you, it will come out beautifully.

  13. Good luck with your new stitching adventure! I'll be interested in hearing how you get on with it :-)

  14. Go for it Amanda. I've been lucky enough to do some classes with Alison Cole (I'm from Australia) and some of the techniques are not as difficult as they appear. From the stitching I've seen you do, I think you'll do fine. In case you're interested in having a look, here's Alison's website
    She specialises in goldwork and stumpwork and has some really beautiful designs. Enjoy your project. I'm looking forward to seeing more, and am off to have a look at Sarah Homfray's work.
    Stitching Bliss

    1. You lucky thing to attend some of Alison Cole's classes, I love her work! I'm also a fan of another Australian super talented embroiderer, Anna Scott - such talent and creativity I could only dream of!

  15. I can't wait to see the results, I'm sure you can do it :) I love Alison Cole's goldwork kit, I have a few of the butterfly ones on my wish list. Thanks for introducing me to Sarah Homfray. I just took a look at her youtube videos and they are an excellent resource.

  16. looking forward to more pictures

  17. I find Goldwork, Redwork, Blackwork, Stumpwork and Whitework very beautiful and intriguing. I don't plan on trying Goldwork, Stumpwork or true Whitework though. I look forward to living vicariously through you and this project.


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