Stuart Silk Purl Flower – Month 2

Couched Loops and Chipwork
Couched Loops and Chipwork

There was quite a lot to do in the second month, learning new ways to wrangle silk-wrapped purl.

The first element was composed of the loops of purple, short lengths bent in two and controlled by an extra small couching stitch to hold them in place.

This is a technique I’m sure I’ve seen before, and I must say I rather like the effect, although I found it rather worrying to do. The purl is small and fragile, and I think that at the moment I still don’t quite have the headspace to do as well as I would like.

Shaded Loops
Shaded Loops

I do think, however, that the time for just not doing it is passed. If I want my skill to come back to me, I will have to use it! Who was it who said, “the more I practise, the luckier I get”? I would like my embroidery to be good because I have worked at it, not because I “just got lucky”!

The next was chipwork, which is just like chipwork in ordinary purl except for the added terror in case the silk wrapping comes off..

And then I got more practice with those nested loops, with the added adventure of adding shading as I went along.

Couched humps and chipwork
Couched humps and chipwork

Finally, there was more chipwork, and some little raised humps. These are made of purls stitched on like beads, but with a stitch slightly shorter than the length of purl chosen.

Again, these are not quite as consistent as I would like them to be, although I carefully used the ruler provided in the instructions to cut the lengths.

More practice needed!


  1. Beautiful result! It must have taken a long time to add stitch on all those purls, and so neatly, too. I love the shading.

  2. What a fun piece Rachel! My only encounter with silk wrapped purl was in the Hampton Court kit by Jenny Adin-Christie. And I quite liked it! However, I was not made to loop the stuff or to cut chips. The idea of the silk comming off, just makes me shudder …

  3. Carolyn Foley says:

    It looks delicious.!

  4. Lady Fi says:

    Very nice!

  5. Susan says:

    Thanks for being able to get a closeup. I had thought you were making bullions, but up close, I can see what you’re talking about. I don’t think I’ll be incorporating those purls on my crazy quilts!

  6. Sue Jones says:

    They look very neat loops to me. Silk-pearl chipwork sounds like a nightmare to do, and I can only stare at your results with admiration. I don’t much like the look of silk-pearl, but you have clearly got the techniques well in hand.

  7. Terrie says:

    Such nice composition of stitches.

  8. Catherine says:

    It sounds like you are learning a lot with these materials. And such a variety of different materials too! They certainly do create a lovely effect, though the thought of the silk coming off would probably be enough for me to ‘think’ too long! I like your quote of ‘the more I practise the luckier I get’. Very true – we do have to practice to become proficient!