Monday, February 10, 2014

Blue Russian: Antique Metal Mesh Purse Inspiration

The Snowflake Robe Is Done

Morning all!  Welcome back to the Blue Russian blog-stitch!  I should mention I've added new threads to the Materials List. They are in bold blue so they will jump out at you.  Remember, I reorganized the supplies list by manufacturer (roughly) to make it easier for you to go shopping, so do check the list carefully to make sure you didn't overlook something.

Keep working the background if you haven't finished it.  I need to order a second card of the SP17 Petite Silk Lame Braid.  Once I have that I will finish step one of Staggered Crosses and then finish the beading in step two.  It all takes a while but is nice uncomplicated stitching once you get in the rhythm of it all.   (Hello, Olympics!)

I had originally intended to work on the ermine trim on Santa's outer robe this week, but I decided that the front of his inner robe needed to be stitched first, otherwise the fur trim was going to constantly get in the way.  So today's lesson is all about the blue snowflake robe Northern Light Santa wears.

I thought a blackwork pattern, particularly one of Ann Strite-Kurz's lovely designs, would be perfect but I decided in the end that I would stick to the design as painted and try to recreate the look of an antique mesh purse.  Are you familiar with these?  The metal interlocking mesh looks like chain mail painted with a design.  Both of my mother's older sisters had purses like these.  They were all the rage in the 1920s.  They are beautiful to handle.  The mesh flows like liquid metal fabric but has a silver glint to the painted design.  Here is a selection of metal mesh purses to give you an idea of my inspiration.

To recreate this look for Santa's robe, you need to use a modified Or Nue' technique.  Classic Or Nue' uses colored silks to couch gold metal threads, with the silks creating the pattern on top of the gold.  Check out what Anna Scott (former editor of Inspirations magazine) is creating in Or Nue' on her blog--this is what Medieval embroiderers did on ecclesiastical garments.  Note that the silks are added in irregular areas to make the pattern.

What I am doing is a bit more like Burden stitch as the couching pattern is regular.  I will use a brick stitch-like couching stitch over a silver Kreinik base.  Here is the basic stitch--

The brick stitches that couch down the underlying long stitches are indicated in the blue and black straight lines.  You can create a pattern by changing the color of the tie down threads and that's what we will do.

As you can see, each channel of the needlepoint canvas has a line of metallic thread (the silver holographic Kreinik #001L in size 8 fine braid) across it (the red arrows in the chart).  The stitch is worked one row at a time.  Lay down the silver in a row between two canvas threads, then couch it in place using a "brick stitch over two" pattern with either two plies of the Splendor lighter blue S860 or the Splendor darker blue S914 or one strand of the glow-in-the-dark white Petite Treasure Braid PB300* or one strand of the Kreinik 001L.  Note that you will need to slide the needle creating the brick stitches under the silver thread of the previous row.  (If you don't have a good color copy of your Santa to use as a reference already, make a copy before you start on the snowflake robe.)

*You can substitute regular white Petite Treasure Braid PB10 for the glow-in-the-dark version.  Note that I did NOT use the white Petite Silk Lame Braid because it is a little too fat to couch the silver Kreinik with. All my couching threads need to be roughly the same diameter.

The secret for a nice smooth look is to work one row completely before starting the next.  Lay down the base line of silver, making sure it isn't twisted or too loose, then work from one side of the robe to the other, changing colors as you go to match the underlying paint job.  Use your color copy of the canvas to help tell where the colors change if necessary.  Manage all those needles and threads, keeping them well out of the way of each other so you don't tangle things on the back. (I used lots of magnets to park my needles to keep them out of the way.)   I worked from the bottom up but you can work from the top down if you prefer.  When you finish, go back to the first row and do small compensating straight vertical stitches to create a smooth edge.  Here is a photo of the robe underway, so you can see the sparkle this technique creates.  It is even more prominent in person but cameras are blind to bling.

The Or Nue' Snowflake Robe Under Construction
With the Olympics in Russia on television this week, this is a good area to stitch since it is not complicated.  Just keep the various threads you aren't currently using out of each other's way until you need them again so you don't tangle them on the back side.  I will post in two weeks on the next area since the Or Nue' technique takes a while and most of us still have background to work on as well.

Before I forget, Vicky DeAngelis is promising to blog-stitch another Russian Santa.  She has chosen the Holly Hills Santa.  Isn't it fun to see all the different versions of Leigh's little Santas?

Questions? Email me at chillyhollow @ and I'll get back to you by the next day.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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@ Copyright 2014 Jane M. Wood. All rights reserved.


Unknown said...

Looks like it is the vertical/hortizontal version of the Web stitch which is on a diagonal. Beautiful choice of thread also. So snowy and wintery looking.
Ann W-S

The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

I've never heard of something called a Web stitch but it sounds like the perfect name for this done on a diagonal. It probably is one of many laid stitches, none of which I know the name of. Thanks, Ann. It does look like the blurry snow storms we've been having.

Unknown said...


Question - do you mean S914 in the fifth line of the paragraph that begins "As you can see…" (describing using the silks to stitch over the laid silver)?

Thanks so much for this blog stitching experience!

The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

Yes, good catch! Somehow the 4 got dropped off the end. I'll make the correction in the text. Thanks!