You last saw the Golden Acorn in July, when I was thoroughly fed up with it.
Since I’d got so engrossed in stitching that I’d neglected to pay attention to the details and had to unpick the lot, when I came to re-stitch I decided to put in the braid stitch in silver first.
I found the silver to be a more temperamental thread than the gold, although structurally it was exactly the same. However, these threads are all made more or less by hand, and must be hugely susceptible to temperature and humidity.
I know from my textile technology studies that natural fibres – such as cotton, wool, and silk – are susceptible to environmental conditions, because the basis for the success of the Lancashire cotton industry was due in no small part to the fact that ideal conditions for growing cotton are far from ideal for turning the cotton into cloth. In fact, nowadays, textile factories are built with climate control, because the speed of modern production demands that all possible variables be thoroughly ironed out.
In the same way, if you visit a woollen mill, you will see piles of wool at various stages of production, just sitting there. If you are a time-and-motion person you’ll get very uptight about this, and talk about “Just In Time” manufacturing – only to be told, in no uncertain terms, that if you want to pay for all the failed batches that will result from not allowing the wool to relax (technical term – yes, honestly) between processes, you’re welcome, but the manager won’t let it out of the factory with their name on it.
The silver and gold threads we are using have natural fibre cores, so sensitivity to climate is only to be expected!
I found both of the two main stitches in the strapwork, Ceylon stitch and Braid Stitch, rather troublesome in metal thread, although Braid Stitch in pearl cotton is one of my favourites. There’s no denying that they produce a rich and exotic effect once they are in place, though!
I became slightly fed up with tent stitch – there was such a lot of it! – while I was working this, so I’ve been giving myself some time away from it. I’ll get started on the next one of these when I feel ready for fine tent stitch again.
I’m also waiting until all three are stitched before I decide which to finish to create which stitching accessory. If I recall correctly, there’s a scissors keep, a needlecase, and a pincushion. I suspect they’ll end up in that famous Winter Decoration Corner I keep threatening to do!