Stuart Silk Purl Flower – Month 3

Silk Purl Couching Silk Purl
Silk Purl Couching Silk Purl

The small leaf was rather “meta”, in a way, because long “stitches” of silk purl were couched down with shorter ones. I’ve likened it to Burden Stitch, or even the couching form used in some opus anglicanum, and it includes colour changes as well.

All of these techniques have been simple enough in concept, but the execution isn’t simple at all. Spacing, angles, and cutting the lengths are all, as The Australian would say, non-trivial (mathematician-speak for “quite tricky”) and practice may make perfect in the end, but it hasn’t done so yet!

More Silk Purl Textures
More Silk Purl Textures

The final leaf was worked by alternating the hummocks and simple couched techniques of earlier months. In a way this shows that it is possible to create new textures by “layering” or “overlaying” techniques, so the only limits are in the stitcher’s imagination.

It creates an interesting ribbed effect, although with all my care, the raised hummocks aren’t all raised to the same degree. That said, I defy anyone looking casually at the real thing to notice the fact – at only about three inches by five, that would be a lot of detail to be able to distinguish!

And there are other dazzlements in store…

All spangles added
All spangles added

The final detail is to add spangles, which are reliably confusing and dazzling to the eye.

Just imagine all that flickering in the candlelight and shadows of the silk purl textures casting mysteries over each other!

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this Online University course. Now I only need the time to sit down and read the extra information and watch the videos!


  1. Elaine says:

    Wow that looks amazing! Are you going to frame it or is it part of a larger piece of work?

  2. Lady Fi says:

    That is a very cool stitch!

  3. Sue Jones says:

    How good it looks when you see the whole thing! I am not a fan of this style of work -silk pearl always looks too heavy to me – but the different ways you’ve used it balance the overall design, with the leaves having enough interest and variety, without distracting from the flower. And the spangles work the real magic.

  4. Oh, I love the effect of burden stitch-a-like with the silk wrapped purl! Something I’ll need to try out someday …

  5. Catherine says:

    That looks brilliant Rachel! It sounds like a great experience where you learnt a lot, and have created a beautiful piece for future reference too. I loved the ‘Australianism’ too! Are we really the only ones to say that?!

  6. Lin Tarrant says:

    Beautiful! I love the shading on the leaves. xx

  7. Sheryl says:

    Stunning embroidery, just love this piece which looks very tricky.

  8. Karen says:

    Wow! All that loveliness in a 3X5 inch piece! Your work, as always, is just gorgeous.

  9. Carolyn Foley says:

    Yes I agree, non- trivial is the right description.

  10. karen says:

    such beautiful, detailed work….I take my hat off to you. Incredible..