Updated: February 27, 2018
I have always been afraid to use silk gauze. First there’s the eye thing — I don’t do well with magnifiers. Second there’s the mesh size thing, I tend not to like things which are that delicate and small.
But Kreinik has taken silk gauze out of this world and into the world of basic needlepoint with silk gauze in 18 mesh. It comes mounted or unmounted. Since retail is 3 or 4 times the cost of canvas, I like the mounted best. You can order on-line through Kreinik’s excellent on-line mall or your LNS can order it for you.
In 2011 I had a chance to make the piece pictured above on 18 mesh silk gauze and it was tons of fun. I can’t wait to make more. Last week I stitched a quilt portrait pn this same gauze. It’s so pretty!
Silk gauze is often not sold by the inch, the way canvas is, but is sold in precut sizes mounted in mat board. This is because the silk is expensive and the mat board provides the unworked margin. I also found that the mat board is it’s own frame, so the project was very portable. You can also buy it in 1/4 yard lengths, costing almost as much as a yard of mono canvas.
Silk gauze also has a couple of other important characteristics, you need to consider when using it. The threads are pretty much translucent, so they can almost disappear against the background as you stitch. I found having something solid and dark as a backdrop worked best. The printed skirt I was wearing wasn’t good, but the dark carpet was.
You can see from the picture of my stitching just how transparent it is, the thread ends on the back can be seen easily.
The threads are also thinner than mono canvas, more like the size of interlock or a bit thinner. This could mean that you need to use slightly thicker threads, but I found I didn’t.
You also need to stitch with a looser tension. This is for several reasons. First off, the mat board isn’t that sturdy, so it’s pretty easy to bend or even to have the gauze come off. Second, silk gauze is woven like interlock canvas, so there isn’t “give” in the intersections. Pull too hard and you will have a mess.
I loved using it and I loved the results. My mind is bursting with possibilities for using this ground and I’m going to be trying some experiments over the next couple of months.