Monday, April 30, 2012

Up to my ears in Gold!

Greetings from San Francisco where I am working on my Advanced Goldwork project with the Royal School of Needlework. I cannot believe I have already completed Day 3 of 10 of my module.

I designed a whimsical project not knowing if it would be allowed, and a more traditional Jacobean project just in case the first one was rejected. I was delighted when my tutor, Sarah Homfray gave the "thumbs up" and I could begin working my adorable Humpty Dumpty design. This character has always been near and dear to my heart. As a child, I happened on the most charming over-sized stuffed Humpty Dumpty I had ever seen at a nearby gift shop. Christmas being only a few days away, it was the only item specified on my Christmas list. Although it was quite expensive, I knew if anyone could afford to buy it, Santa could.

My mother, the single parent of four girls, knew how much that stuffed Humpty Dumpty meant to me and on Christmas Eve, she approached the store manager and with all the fortitude she could muster, explaining how slim his chances of selling it after Christmas. The manager was convinced and a sizable price reduction was administered, making the unusual item affordable. Needless to say, I was completely overjoyed that Christmas morning at the sight of my Humpty Dumpty. I kept it throughout my teenage years and when I moved out, I made throw pillows from his stuffing for my first apartment, unable to bear throwing it out.

Here are a few pics of my design and progress so far. I have managed to stay on target with my work, completing the pricking and pouncing in order to transfer the design onto the fabric and lacing up my slate frame on Saturday, completing the padding (applying felt) on Sunday, and working the pants today in laid work. Tomorrow, I hope to complete all the plunging (bring the thread tails to the back) and beginning the laid work on the hands. Stay tuned.
Pencil drawing of Advanced Goldwork project, featuring Humpty Dumpty. Notice the thread breakdown and stitch plan. This design is taken from a 1930's Nursery Rhyme book.

The pink gingham silk dupioni is the fabric I have chosen for my piece. What you are looking at is the goldenrod colored felt applied to the fabric. The gold threads are a combination of Japanese gold #5 and Roccoco gold. The white padded felt areas are the hands, which will be stitched in silver threads.

This is a closeup of my work in progress. Note the yellow paint lines on the fabric, which will be covered with metal threads. The dark areas are where I have couched the threads in place with purple silk, facing out to light lavender to create coloration and shading to the pants. All the ends will be brought to the back and tied off. For now, they are held in place with hair tape so they don't get caught in my stitches.


  1. Wendy, I love your design, we don't see enough of Humpty Dumpty anymore. Your work to date is awesome - keep us posted as you progress - love looking at it. Very much appreciate your hard work and effort.
    Have Fun

  2. Hi Wendy! I'm so excited to be able to see your project. Thanks for sharing the pictures! Wendy Danley

  3. Wendy: What a great project! I'm really enjoying your postings and all the pictures. Thanks for sharing. Kris Curtis

  4. Wendy, What a beautiful way to bring that childhood memory back to life, and a great way to put Humpty Dumpty back together again!
    Carol Z.