IHS Turning Corners


The fun part about hand embroidery is that one can read, study, and practice; test, learn, and grow. Yet on occasion, there is the that little something in the way the goldwork embroidery stitching goes that reminds me of a favorite story,

In two straight lines, they stitched their threads,

and plunged their tails and went to bed.

They smiled at the good and frowned at the bad,

and sometimes, they were very sad….

In the middle of their plight,

expert eyes turned on the light, saying,

“Something’s just not right…….” 

Oops! That’s not quite how  the Madeline Story goes, but so it goes with turning corners on goldwork embroidered couching threads.

Ecclesaistical Goldwork Embroidery
Goldwork Embroidery turning corners

The plight, or rather two plights:

First,  how to keep the ends “tight” when turning corners so the rows of couching are not wider at the ends than the width of the row of stitching.

Second: How to turn the corners without exposing the thread core under the metallic covering.

Turning Corners on Goldwork Embroidery
Turning Corners on Goldwork Embroidery


Knowing and experiencing these plights from previous goldwork projects, the original plan for the ISH Embroidery Design for the Rose Set Altar Frontal was to plunge the gold threads at the end of each and every row to avoid turning corners any more than necessary. That plan had to be scrapped early on because of the initial framing up of the project.  Once the project restarted, I decided to try the method of stitch one, turn one as described in the A to Z Goldwork book. This is working well. But………….

Wanting to take my stitching to the next level, there were these issues that bothered me. Yes, one almost needs to have a magnifying glass to actually see the problems. They are often barely discernible, but they were still THERE.  Reviewing goldwork pieces in the books and online, those problems do not appear to be issues. There must be a technique out there that is assumed knowledge, or something conveyed in courses taught by the master teachers. One of those simple little things that everyone “knows” but never bothers to convey when writing their books. Unfortunately, instruction by a live master teacher  is not an option, at least at the moment.  Like everything else with this, it’s searching, reading, and trying to discover.

Then, Saturday morning, my favorite mentor Mary Corbet from Needle ‘n Thread once again had the perfect tidbit ready and waiting as I devoured her post and the precious links shared in her article. In Mary’s article, she mentions Needlework Techniques by Jane Zimmerman, including a link to Needlework Technique Chapters found on her website. The answer to those pesky problems was right there in Chapter 4 Part II: two simple little techniques (among many); vast improvement in the end results.



No more peeking out of the core thread, no bulky corners  at the end of the rows. As an added bonus, there are other wonderful tips and techniques to be discovered that  are certain to make improvements in the way I handle goldwork threads for Ecclesiastical Embroidery  and church needlework Projects .

Thanks for the great tips, Mary and Jane.

Solo Dei Gloria

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Filed under: Ecclesiastical Embroidery, Ecclesiastical Sewing, embroidery design, Rose Vestments Tagged: altar frontals, church needlework, Ecclesiastical Embroidery, Ecclesiastical Sewing, embroidery design, goldwork embroidery, IHS Ecclesiastical Embroidery Design, Jane Zimmerman, Madeline, Mary Corbet, Needle 'n Thread, Rose Vestments


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