So, although I had no time to stitch the butterfly before Christmas, and had no experience at all of using flat filament silks, I bought a kit, which I took out and began working a couple of weeks ago.
I began badly, by unintentionally using an archive pen to trace the design, instead of an air or watersoluble pen, meaning I had to cover all the edge.
Next I discovered just how difficult the filament silk is to work with. I am not an expert satin stitcher, and probably for that reason I don't like doing it very much. I had difficulty getting the coverage I wanted, found the thread caught on my skin and my nails - and anything else that touched it.
I dreaded picking it up and began to think this was a big mistake.
Then I remembered that Mary Corbet had used this kind of silk thread in one of her projects, so I visited her website and read everything she had to say about filament silk.
Thank you Mary! It made the difference between being able to finish the project or abandoning it.
Her first suggestion is to prepare your hands in the hours before you work with the thread. It is really good advice. I trimmed and filed my nails then used hand-cream for a few hours before taking up the work, washing my hands thoroughly before picking it up. No more snagging, no oil transfer.
I couldn't take up her advice to use a Japanese embroidery frame rather than a hoop, so I persevered with the hoop. I'm sure her advice is sound - I ended up with some sections that are not completely taut out of the frame. I can get by with it in a project this size but it would be advice I'd heed if I were to try this again.
It took quite a bit of patience to get the coverage, but became manageable with Mary Corbet's advice.
Gaps show up (upper black wing left) and can be filled with a new thread and an awl (result on right).
I began to appreciate the colour effects of the thread. It really does create its own shading, reflecting different shades in different light. It is quite vibrant.
The final touch was the gold thread addition to the stamens - a lot of fun and satisfaction at the end. It really adds a realistic dimension.
So I got there in the end and the result is very pleasing. I don't want to mount this, as suggested in the project. I've had an idea that I'm following up.
The account of whether it works (or not) will be another post!