Progress on the Thistle

Oblique View

Oblique View

I rather like the texture of the layers and layers of viscose gimp, in this photo. Every now and then an oblique view is exactly the right one, and it’s a gorgeously over-the-top effect, isn’t it!

I did find myself beginning to feel rather tied in knots by all the twisting and turning, and progress slowed noticeably as the number of layers increased and the difficulty of holding the strands just firmly enough also increased.

Worth it, though, I think!

Leaf Detail

Leaf Detail

The leaves required some slightly careful management. I wanted to use fishbone stitch, because I wanted a simple leaf so as not to detract too much from the flower. However, fishbone stitch does use rather a lot of thread, and I was just a little nervous about whether I would have enough of my lovely wool to do the job.

So I thought, first of all, that I would use the light and medium shades together. They aren’t flat, solid colour; they shade a little either side of the main colour, and this brings a little variation to what might otherwise have been a somewhat monolithic element.

Then, secondly, instead of taking the thread across the back from side to side, I devised a variation which changed slightly the pattern of the crossing in the centre. You can see in the detail in the top right hand corner, that there are two sets of threads in each section. There are only small back stitches running down the outside edges, and down the vein in the middle, so the amount of thread on the back has been minimised.

Not At All Happy

Not At All Happy

I originally hoped to use the layers and layers of viscose gimp as the base for another layer, of silk wrapped pearl purl, and of coloured wire purl.

Unfortunately, when I’d done it, I decided that I really didn’t like it at all.

It adds nothing to the design, and in fact, it even detracts from it. Out, out, out!

So having taken it out, rather grumpily, I sat back to consider whether or not I have finished the piece at all….


  1. Lady Fi says:

    The texture in that thistle is wonderful!

  2. Penny says:

    Oh my gosh — you’ve so beautifully utilized the materials and your handwork. Its just wonderful!!

  3. Terrie says:

    Very pretty textures. Stitching really patience challenging. You’re diva!

  4. Sue Jones says:

    The piles of gimp are really juicy seen side on. I’ve never much liked silk-wrapped purl, so I cheer your willingness to take the pieces out. Looking at real thistles, suggests that whatever you run into the bottom of the gimp (if it needs anything) ought technically to be part of the bracts, and thus come from out of the green part. No, I don’t have a solution, but I am sure you will come up with one! I do love the colours of that gimp!

  5. jenclair says:

    Beautiful work on the thistle!

  6. Wonderful work on the thistle!

  7. Janice says:

    Your work is beautiful. I agree that the purple additions weren’t right. Sure you’ll find the solution!

  8. deanna7trees says:

    wow. that first image is gorgeous and mind boggling.

  9. Cynthia says:

    The purple viscose is just stunning! Actually, I rather like the gimp, but you don’t, and that’s what’s important. I’m looking forward to see what you end up doing.

  10. karen says:

    wow Rachel…fabulous images. The gimp looks amazing, absolutely gorgeous and almost alive.

  11. Helen says:

    I think it looks fab. As someone who seems to be constantly using beads at the moment you could embelish the base of the flower with beads in each of the small sections.

  12. wendy says:

    It looks lovely. The effect of the gimp is just wonderful and I like the subtle shading of the leaf, very clever!

  13. Jillayne says:

    Oh yes – it’s fabulous! I love gimp – it’s fiddly, but so worth it… I love your thistle, and enjoyed reading about varying the stitch construction so as to ensure you had enough thread… I’ve had to do that myself a time or two. It isn’t always easy but you’ve done it beautifully here Rachel.

  14. Anita says:

    I love it.. The gimp layers add a wonderful texture and makes this thistle more beautiful than the usual stumpwork flower…what is the ground fabric ?

  15. Carolyn says:

    The gimp layers really do add texture to it and I can see why you unpicked the next layer. Having said that I also see why you wanted to add another layer. Just let it sit for a bit and it will tell you what you need to do.

  16. Christine B. says:

    I am visiting from the stitchery link up at Super Mom No Cape but I couldn’t leave a message on the post you linked…. so I’m leaving it here! The canvasswork was beautiful! 🙂 x

  17. I have a strong affection for thistles! The gimp layers are gorgeous. I would want to keep stroking them, (but I’m odd like that!) I do see why you took out that layer – but have no doubt you will find a way to achieve the final look you wanted!