Wonky Pearls * How to Use Them
I love making pearl threads from six-strand threads, which are an embroidery staple. It allows me to have pearls in any of the fun hand-painted, dyed, or overdyed threads. That’s especially handy if I want to match the six-strand floss with the pearl, but it’s also nice to have all those interesting threads available in different weights.
I often use the finer pearls for stitching and the heavier ones for edge stitches and finishing. The heavier threads are strong and durable.Making traditional pearls is ever so useful, but it’s also just the beginning of what is possible. By adding specialty threads—metallics, fuzzy threads, ribbons, etc.—we wind up with some wildly interesting threads.
And we can keep going, combining handmade pearl threads for heavier and more interesting threads and cords, aka Wonky Pearls.
At this point, the wonky pearls can take on a life of their out, outside embroidery. They look great as ribbons for packages or wrapped around a wrist as a friendship bracelet.
But what can they do for your embroidery? They’re probably too big to pull through the fabric for regular stitching.
Three ways to use wonky pearls in embroidery
Couch the wonky pearl to the fabric surface. Couching a thread is a great way to create smooth curves in normally boxy counted thread embroidery. It can be a fun way to outline a shape.
2. Trims and Hangers
Ornaments, fobs, standups, etc. often have a trim around the edge masking a seam. This is a perfect place for wonky pearls. If you’re using twisted cord, stop! Wonky pearls won’t untwist when you let go of them, so they’re much easier to work with.
3. Bookmark Tails
If you make book thongs or ribbon-style bookmarks, wonky pearls are a fun alternative to ribbon. I like combining several interesting threads—wonky pearl plus individual strands of Fuzzy Stuff, chenille, rickrack, etc.—to make a tail or connect two bits of embroidery for a book thong. I will braid them together very loosely so that they hang together and intermingle.
Have you made wonky pearls yet? How do you use them or plan to use them?