With the Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend comes the cooking, the cleaning, and the time spent with guests; it has been a few days since there was time either for Ecclesiastical Sewing and Embroidery or posting on the website. So this evening, before jumping back into ongoing church embroidery projects, I want to spend a little time talking about hand embroidery tools.
The list of tools for hand embroidery is endless. I do not have a great deal of tools to use with Ecclesiastical Embroidery Projects; however, the tools I have work well, although they are heavily used.
A nice pair of embroidery scissors is a must. These scissors are used many times throughout an evening’s work. The ones I have are not fancy or expensive. They are functional, and that is all that is needed at the moment. There are many scissors available to be purchased for Hand Embroidery, coming in a wide range of prices. It would be nice to have a beautiful pair of embroidery scissors someday, but for now, function is all that is asked of them. The little blue scissors has been in the collection for a while now. They still work fine, but since they are the older pair, they will become the scissors used for cutting goldwork thread, especially the pearl purls and check purls.
Next up on the tool list are tweezers. Having a good pair of tweezers is a must when working with goldwork threads for hand embroidery. The above assortment of tweezers are in the embroidery notion box. The reason for so many tweezers is that I have yet to find the perfect pair. Three of the tweezers came from the health and beauty department from a large retailer. The tips lack a precision grip. The top pair is from a goldwork supplier. It is am improvement over the retail store tweezers, but still not perfect. The middle pair is a “cotton pliers” for use in the medical field. This pair provides the best grip on the goldwork threads………….but there is a problem with these. The inside of the tips on the cotton pliers, have metal ridges to grip the cotton roll for medical use, but when used on goldwork threads, the metal ridges damage the goldwork threads. The search for the perfect tweezers for use with goldwork embroidery continues.
The oft neglected thimble is something that should be used more frequently. Years ago, in a tailoring class, the instructor taught us to use a tailor’s thimble, which has an opened end, for pad stitching. Years later, this is the only thimble I still love to use. It works perfectly for pushing a needle with the side of the finger. Whenever the embroidery gets tough, the thimble comes out.
An awl or as it is sometimes called, a tailor’s awl, is used in sewing for making holes in fabric when attaching eyelets, turning points on cuffs, collars, and pockets, and for guiding materials while sewing at the machine. The list of uses could continue indefinitely.
For hand embroidery, an awl come in handy for assisting with laying embroidery floss as it is pulled through the fabric to avoid tangles, and to smooth stitches. It is used to “walk” the embroidery thread from the front side to the back as the thread is being pulled . An awl can also be used to place holes in the fabric for plunging goldwork thread tails. Available in the notion’s department at most sewing stores, a tailor’s awl can range from inexpensive to a moderate price.
Saving the best for last. This is The Best Laying Tool. It is available from many needlework shops, including Stitchville USA. This is a wonderful tool. It was a little pricey and had to wait on the list for quite a while before it was purchased. Every day when the needles and embroidery floss are out, The Best Laying Tool is pulled out as well. It is a wonderful tool that fits the hand well, is exquisitely balanced, and feels reassuring to use. It is used for making holes to plunge Goldwork Thread Tails , especially the larger threads such as Rococco. When working with flat silks, as on the Agnus Dei and Easter Pulpit Fall, using a laying tool is a must to keep the floss from tangling as it is pulled to the back. It also helps smooth the flat silk on the surface to give that satin finish.
With all of these tools on hand, what could be missing? While the list of tools that one could acquire could be endless, there is one goldwork tool that would be useful, and that is a mellor. A mellor has a sharp, pointed end that could be used as a combination laying tool and awl. But the opposite end is what makes a mellor. That end is broad and rounded. It is used to “push and prod” goldwork threads into the exact spot needed. It can place threads in position and keep them there while the stitches are being sewn. The uses of a mellor with goldwork embroidery would be endless.
Stitchers from the UK might be familiar both with the wooden mellor, and the shop Lauralin. There are many shops that have the metal mellors, but the wooden mellor is new to me. Perhaps some of you have used a wooden mellor. While at Lauralin be sure to check out the goldwork supplies and see the beautiful colors of the 371 thread. Imagine using those lilac, blue and green shades! While I have never ordered from the Lauralin shop in the UK, it is still fun to browse through the available suppliers and to see new tools and supplies available for hand embroidery from around the world.
So, do you have any favorite tools or something on the wish list this Holiday Season?
Solo Dei Gloria
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Filed under: Agnus Dei, Christian Symbols, Ecclesiastical Sewing, Hand embroidery Tagged: 371 Passing Thread, Agnus Dei, check purls, Christian Symbols, cotten pliers, Easter Pulpit Fall, Ecclesiastical Sewing, Ecclesiastical Sewing and Embroidery, embroidery scissors, Flat Silk, goldwork embroidery, Goldwork thread Tails, Hand embroidery, Hand Embroidery Tools, Lauralin, Mellor, pearl purl, Rococco, sewing awl, Stitchville USA, tailor's awl, tailor's thimble, The Best Laying Tool, wooden mellor