Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Metallic thread without core

In Japanese embroidery metallic threads are numbered according to their thickness, #1 is very fine, while #8 is quite thick. Only #1 and #2 metallics are considered fine enough to use for stitching, any above #3 thickness are couched using a fine silk thread.

Three thicknesses of gold thread, from top to bottom: #8, #3, and #1

As most embroiderers out there will know metallic threads are composed of a gold or silver section wound in a spiral around a fabric core. Sometimes for very fine work in Japanese embroidery it is necessary to use a thread which is even finer than the #1 shown above, in order to achieve this the core is removed from a #1 thread.

To do this first cut a length of thread and holding it towards one end gently untwist it so that the core is exposed.

Untwisting the core

Once you get hold of the core hold the metallic gently and, pulling on the core, gradually ease the metallic section down the core and off the other end.

Pulling the core

Once the core is completely removed the metallic section which is left can be combined with a silk thread (1/2 or 3/4 of a strand) and used to stitch fine motifs giving them just a hint of gold or silver.

From top to bottom; core of #1 metallic, #1 gold without core, #1 gold with core