Starting the Christus Natus Est Or Nué Panel

Christus Natus Est - Materials

Christus Natus Est - Materials

I know I should try to limit the number of projects I work on at once, but my fingers have been itching to start the Christus Natus Est Panel, and I finally decided to have a go.

I bought the silk thread (Pearsall’s Filoselle) and the gold passing thread, at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate last year.  The Filoselle is a beautiful stranded thread, and I’m using a single strand to couch down the colours of the thread, and a different, very fine thread to couch down the bare gold sections.

I was somewhat afraid that choosing to work my or nué panel in the circular and curving fashion would create considerable headaches, especially in starting the spiral at the centre of the circle, but actually it was fairly straightforward. I’ve put the gold thread into a little gauze bag, which keeps it from unwinding- mostly- and means I don’t have to worry about it snagging or catching as I work

Close-up of Starting the Or Nue panel

Close-up of Starting The Or Nué panel

As my spiral becomes larger, and the number of colours I am using in each circuit increases, the work will become slower, and more confusing, but so far, I am enjoying it very much. It would be much easier if I had a proper slate frame and trestles to stand it on, as I can see that the pins holding the calico to the frame will need to be moved occasionally as the fabric stretches. However, the silk thread covers the gold reasonably easily, and since I was aware from reading about the technique that the silk would distort the rows slightly, I’ve not been unduly disturbed by the way the spiral isn’t quite circular anymore. It won’t be that obvious when the piece is finished, after all!

In fact I’ve been enjoying myself so much that I  just have to be a little careful not to get so wound up in it that I stitch for too long and end up with fuzzy eyes!


  1. Susan says:

    I also work in a nonlinear fashion and have given up beating myself up for being that way. Sometimes one project needs to sit while you move to work on another. I always think it’s the universes way of helping me further skills I may need to make that piece that I put aside even better. This will be fun to watch progress. I’ve never used the Filoselle…but in Japanese embroidery — we re-wind our gold threads onto wooden spools called koma to keep the thread under tension as we work. Not sure if that will help.

    Looks great so far Rachel! And I’ll join you in the fuzzy eye department….All this overcasting of petals is taking its toll.

  2. This looks great! I am eager to see you accomplish more on this. I’m in awe of folks who create their own designs.

  3. It’s posts like this that remind me how many techniques there are in embroidery about which I know precisely nothing. Looks like fun, though! 🙂

  4. Lady Fi says:

    Who knew sewing was so complicated? I love that gold spiral of thread…

  5. Impressive spiral! I love the design, too.

  6. Elmsley Rose says:

    oooo….yummy – a new project!

    How do you intend to handle that point where the red and the blue cross over each other? Alternating red and blue couching stitches?

  7. Oh those fuzzy eyes! I am being strong and not starting anything new, but I want to and now I am really tempted. Do you like working with the Pearsall’s silk thread ?

  8. karen says:

    this is going to be fabulous. I love or nue….but watch those eyes!

  9. Lady Fi says:

    That Christus panel is so beautiful!

  10. Janice says:

    Yes, the first time I ever saw this technique the person doing it said it was addictive. ‘Just one more round….’ I’m so pleased you’ve started on this and am really looking forward to seeing how it progresses!

  11. coral-seas says:

    Ah, yes. I already have too many projects on the go and am seriously toying with the idea of doing one more … an or nué project 🙂

    I’m really looking forward to watching this develop. The design is lovely and I think it will translate well into or nué.

    What size is the panel, what size passing thread are you using and what thread are you using to couch the ‘bare’ areas.

    Sorry to ask so many questions but enquiring minds need to know 🙂

  12. Alex says:

    Love this. The design is so beautifully constructed and deceptively simple. The swooping curves draw the eye so surely into the heart of the design. I’m eager to see a bigger shot and see how it works out!