I finally had the set-up for the Tudor embroidery class done, and today I battled filament silk for the better part of the afternoon. Each individual strand is hair-thin, and it will catch on anything and everything. But I managed to get the sections I wanted to stitch today done.
I should mention the design transfer process for this project. To be historically accurate, we used the prick and pounce method. If you haven't run into this before, basically, you prick holes in a paper copy of the design. You place this paper copy on the fabric you're going to stitch, and rub pounce ( a powder--the kind I have is charcoal-ish) over the pattern with an applicator of some sort. Of course, I had to get a specific tool for this, but you can also use a roll of felt. The powder is pushed through the holes in the paper pattern. You end up with dots that outline the design area, and you connect the dots. I think historically you used paint and a fine brush but a Pigma pen works nicely these days.
However, you also get a lot of the pounce powder on the fabric. You turn the fabric (already mounted on its frame) upside down and tap on the back to shake off any loose pounce--better to do that over the trash can--I took mine outside and did it over the porch railing since I didn't want pounce all over the house. If that doesn't get rid of the excess, you can use a brush and brush it away, or blot with a clean towel.
Well, I tried all of those methods, and I still had pounce on the fabric that I didn't want. In fact, the brush seemed to spread the pounce around more. One of my fellow classmates also had the same problem, and the teacher was very reassuring--it will all be covered with stitching. However, I had concerns about the silk becoming soiled or discolored by the pounce. I went ahead and connected the dots, but I worried about the smudge.
I set the frame across the room and stared at it for a couple of days. I even dreamed about that gray smear one night. I began to wonder why I hadn't used my light table and the Pigma pen from the start, other than wanting to be historically accurate.
I do not know what made me think of this. Desperation, maybe. I got out the vacuum cleaner, removed the head and wand so I just had a short part of the hose, and I vacuumed that sucker.
And all the excess pounce was gone. It was amazing. I now feel as if I can move forward with this method of transfer.
In other news--alas, I had to rip and restitch the vine on the stitcher's envelope. One of the strawberries would not have looked like a strawberry if I hadn't. But all is well now, and I even got the lighter green leaves stitched.