More Experiments!

I have a rather nice circular wall mirror that my uncle passed on to me, which was his mother’s. That makes it close to a hundred years old, more than likely, and it occurred to me one day that it might enjoy having a stumpwork oak leaf frame.

Then one of the other embroiderers who joins in Hand Embroidery Hour on Twitter, the textile artist Caroline Hack, mentioned a new toy – a pen which allowed her to draw and create plastic outlines. Now, I know that there is perfectly ordinary cake-decorators wire to do the job, but I wondered whether this new material would add anything to the experiment. Like the star she is, Caroline drew a few oak leaf variations for me to play with, some with veins, some not, some using more passes of the pen, and some not, and posted them.

My first experiment plays with gauze. I’m thinking that the oak leaf frame might include some fabric leaves, as well as needlelace. After all, the mirror is a foot across – a wreath would involve a LOT of leaves!

So in this case, I have entrapped my leaf shape between two layers, tacking roughly around the edges to control the second piece of gauze, and very carefully down the central vein so that the leaf shape would stay where I wanted it to. Even by my standards, this is an odd proceeding…

I thought that while I was throwing experimental ideas together I would see whether the slight “spreading” qualities of floss silk help to cover the plastic outline, because gauze tends to ladder if you stitch it too closely. I don’t mind that if it’s part of the plan, but it’s better to know how to avoid it if you want to!

It was certainly an interesting experience. I didn’t quite get the floss silk to spread as much as I might have hoped, and there were some rather tense negotiations between the needle and the few points where there were two separate lines in the leaf shape.

I haven’t yet had the nerve to cut it out!

Episode 56 of SlowTV Stitchery is now live. In which I continue to make progress, almost silenced by the unnerving freedom offered by a Year of Experiments..


  1. Making a stump work mirror frame is an excellent idea.

  2. I am very intrigued by the plastic manifesting pen you mention here, I wonder how flexible the resulting object is; whether it has the ability, like wire, of being bent to create a more shaped item. I wonder too whether the slipperiness of a plastic “wire” might be a disadvantage. I shall watch this space – and Insta of course. I love the idea though, it could look really delightful.
    Your comment about the next fishy idea being difficult because you’ve forgotten what it was really made me laugh – we all do that don’t we? Have an idea, think, of course I won’t forget, and promptly do just that. I have a small army of half filled notebooks which were supposed to record “the next great idea”, but sulked on a shelf unused while the ideas just flitted away!!

  3. Sue Jones says:

    This looks an interesting experiment. I wonder how brittle the plastic lines will become? I suspect that wire might be safer, but what a fun thing to experiment with!

  4. Lin says:

    Sounds like and interesting pen. Looks like you are having fun with your leaves. xx

  5. Carolyn F says:

    I too am really interest in that pen. It sounds as though it could have lots of potential.

  6. Jen Mullen says:

    It will be interesting to see where your new experiments take you.

  7. Sheryl says:

    I like the mirror frame idea and am interested to see how this new challenge of yours develops. The pen sounds like a very useful tool.

  8. Ooh, never heard of one of these pens – must go and research it.