GK monogram in goldwork

Goldwork GK monogram  (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

Goldwork GK monogram (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

I apologise for mentioning Christmas so early, but if you try to make presents yourself you have to be hard at it by mid November. Returning to the cathedral embroiderers at Christ Church I’ve been re-introduced to gold work and thought it might be enjoyable to embroider a couple of initials in couched gold thread to give as a Christmas present.

Framed GK monogram (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

Framed GK monogram (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

Surprisingly straightforward these two initials didn’t take long. The only problem is the usual one with gold thread – what to do with the long ends of metallic thread pushed through to the reverse. After cutting them I loosely  whipped them on to the back of the couching threads but it’s difficult to avoid a bit of a bump in places where there are several loose ends. Perhaps it would have been better to have drawn thicker letters so the metal thread could be turned on top rather than having to plunge beneath. But then the monogram would have had a very different look. Threads are generally so easy to bend to your will, it’s a bit of a shock to meet a thread that fights back.

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  1. Posted November 17, 2015 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    And my word, don’t metal threads have a mind of their own!
    One possibility is to mount the piece over thick padding, to absorb the bumps..

    • Mary Addison
      Posted November 17, 2015 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

      Yes, that’s a possibility but I shall have to play around with how to do it as, when mounted on card, it’s a bit of a tight fit with the frame anyway.

  2. Katie
    Posted November 17, 2015 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    That’s a wonderful look.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted November 17, 2015 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

      Thank you Katie, I’m glad you like it.

  3. Posted November 17, 2015 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    That is so beautiful. May I ask a question Mary? Do you draw the initial on the linen before embroidering or do you embroider by eye? I am guessing that when you embroider monograms with flowers and foliage (as seen on your blog recently) you follow some guidelines, perhaps drawing it on paper first, but maybe you are so experienced that you do this freehand too? Thank you for all your lovely inspiration in sewing and biscuit baking.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted November 17, 2015 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

      The initial design I work out on paper and go over with a black fine lined pen. I then use a small light box to trace the design on to the fabric.
      With the gold threads I did trace the line very faintly on the linen and embroidered over it.
      When I do whitework I usually draw my design on the linen, then go over major lines of the design with a couple of strands of embroidery thread in running stitch. I then wash the linen, roll it in a small towel (or two), leave it to dry a bit and then iron it while damp – but not very wet. Left in a warm place overnight it’s ready to start embroidery the next morning.
      I do add the details and extra leaves, etc. freehand and don’t always stick slavishly to the original design.
      I often use an ordinary pencil – which is probably very bad.
      Sometimes I wash the whitework after sewing if it looks too grubby and then I might add another layer of stitching to the initials to make them look fresh.
      Thank you for taking the time to add a comment. I am so pleased you enjoy the blog.

    • Ros
      Posted November 20, 2015 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

      For those like me who don’t have a lightbox, I’ve recently discovered that most tablets (iPad etc.) have a lightbox app that you can download for free. Works very well for smallish designs.

      • Mary Addison
        Posted November 20, 2015 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for this – a very useful piece of information. An iPad or similar would be a great size for something like a monogram and it might even be brighter.

  4. Katie
    Posted November 18, 2015 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the detailed explanation in your comment above. I appreciate knowing how you work–it provides both instruction and inspiration.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted November 19, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      I’m glad it’s helpful, Katie.

  5. Posted November 18, 2015 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    Gold thread sounds very tricky to work with. the gold does look very stunning against the white. I am sure it will be a much cherished gift. Don’t apologise for mentioning Christmas early- anyone making even a few gifts by hand has to think ahead! x

    • Mary Addison
      Posted November 19, 2015 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      We makers of presents may be quietly beavering away – I only wish Christmas television adverts would adopt a more softly softly approach, or perhaps even go away altogether. After being shouted out by shops in the middle of a perfectly innocent programme I feel like blacklisting those shops from my Christmas list altogether.

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