Stretching the Wings

Trying new embroidery techniques and learning by doing is what makes sewing and embroidery so much fun.  When Ecclesiastical Sewing and  hand embroidery are being done for the Lord’s House, the joy is complete!

Ecclesaiastical Embroidery Angel Wing Detail
Ecclesiastical Embroidery Angel Wing Detail

This little detail on the Advent Set Angel’s Wing has been a matter of great thought – what and how to embroidery this?  Actually, it has been more of a stump or hurdle to over come.  There are a few thoughts mulling around, and a glimmer of an idea has perhaps taken hold.  But, it is something out of the “comfort zone.”

Living in an area without the option of taking classes in advanced hand embroidery necessitates a great deal of reading and study. The difficult part is to actually start “doing” the things one reads about. The technical know how is there, understanding the concept. It’s the practical, jumping in and getting the feet wet part that needs to get going. The other fear that may hold one back is the thought of wasting expensive materials. But if one never tries, one can never learn or gain experience. So here goes…………………………………..

Silver Pearl Purl being stretched
Silver Pearl Purl being stretched

This is Silver Pearl Purl.  On the surface, it looks innocent enough – until you touch it. And then – boing! it takes off and goes everywhere. It is uncontrolled; a little on the wild side, like a spring wound up to tight.  And yet, perhaps, that is exactly the problem. It is coiled and wound up. It looks like a tiny spring. No wonder it tends to be on the bouncy side.

But, bouncy as it is, it is easy to bring under control. It’s a rather simple matter.  One has to bravely be prepared to streeeeeeeeeeeetch the pearl purl. That’s right. STREEEEETCH. But not a lot. It is the teeny, tiniest bit of stretch, barely a tug, that brings this Wiley Critter under control.  It takes bravery and courage for the first time stretcher to get the job done.

Ready?  Grasp a tiny section of the pearl purl by a single tiny pearl with the tips of your finger nails. Now, here is the difficult part.


Give the Pearl Purl the teeniest, tiniest, gentlest, little itty, bitty tug.  You may have to do this one or two or more times.  Don’t over do it. At this point, the pearls are not being stretched apart. The springy-ness is being un-sprung – slightly.  The little, teeny, tiny tug relaxes the pearl purl so it won’t jump out of your hands or off the table. Tug a tiny bit, and set the Pearl Purl down. See the difference?  If it is still springy, repeat the process a tiny bit.  And that’s it.  Tame as a lamb, and ready to be used.

In the photo above, the pearl purl was stretched a little more, until the pearls or little beads were separate.

Winding embroidery floss between beads on Pearl Purl
Winding embroidery floss between beads on Pearl Purl

The pearl purl can then be stitched as is, or an embroidery floss can be wrapped around the pearl purl providing a two-tone accent of silk and metal threads.  There are special techniques for sewing pearl purl to fabric.

I think it is fun! Don’t be scared to try it.  I’m looking forward to doing more with pearl purl, and am still thinking of using this in some way on the Advent Angel Wings.  But that may involve more bravery with the use of yet another silver metal thread.

My apologies for not having the camera ready for all of the shots. I will try to add a few photos of some of the relaxing stretches of the pearl purl in the next few days. Until then, happy stretching!

Solo Dei Gloria

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Filed under: Ecclesiastical Sewing Tagged: Ecclesiastcial Embroidery, Ecclesiastical Sewing, Silver Pearl Purl


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