Millefiori Brooch – pearl purl

This is FUN! Really, really fun! Making something so small and so pretty that I’ll get to wear is a treat! Why haven’t I done this before? Well, I don’t know, except that I’d never seen anything like it before.

The small size of the project means that progress is relatively quick; I do one step and can see a difference in only an hour or so. That’s great, especially at the beginning of a school year for a teacher – one of our busiest times. The small size of the brooch also means that I don’t tire of doing anyone thing because nothing takes that long to complete before moving on to the next step, which will be different from the previous one! This is really a perfect project for me.


As you can see from the photos, I’ve been working on getting  the pearl purl couched down all around the outside of the brooch and all around the edge of the heart in the center of the brooch. Once again, the instructions are very clear. Bring the needle up next to the gold passing threads, lay the pearl purl next to the couched down passing threads, lay the pearl purl you are attaching inside the thread and take the needle down angled slightly through to the back. Actually, Jenny’s instructions are longer and more complete in the book of instructions but you can get the general idea…I hope!

DSCF3215Couching down pearl purl is one of my favourite techniques in metal thread work: I love the little click or pop sound that it makes when the thread snaps into the groove between each of the golden pearls.

When couching the pearl purl inside the heart shape, it’s equally important to bring the needle up close to the couched passing threads and angle the needle back under them a bit as your needle goes to the back. During this process, I had to continue to be careful not to pull too tightly so the soft padding didn’t get squished due to overzealous tightening of each stitch.

DSCF3226As I stitched on the pearl purl I was grateful for Jenny’s tip to keep the passing threads on the front (not plunged through to the back just yet and the ends of the threads covered in tape. I would have been catching my needle on them had they been plunged through – even if they were secured. As it was, I did catch the ends of the threads in the loop of my working thread and, had the tape not been on the ends, probably would have unraveled the thread and I would have been really angry. Great tip!


After the heart was outlined both inside and out the last bit of pearl purl to stitch down was a circle in the middle of the heart shape. I drew the shape on the felt first, using a coin that was the right size. This stitching was the most interesting, as I was working over a hump and the pearl purl had to curve quite a bit as I stitched it down. It wasn’t difficult, I just had to be careful. My number one tip for metal thread work is GO SLOWLY. Let each stitch take as long as it takes and it will most likely turn out very well. If you hurry, you can be 100% sure you will make a mistake and damage the delicate metal threads.


Below is the heart with all the pearl purl attached. Even at this unfinshed stage I think it looks just lovely.


Below you can see the height of the padding on the heart. Remember the whole piece is a little less than 4 cm or 2 inches from tip to tip. It’s possible I’ve padded it more that Jenny intended – my ability to measure the height of the padding wasn’t good. I tried a ruler and a tape measure and still wasn’t sure so I went with what looked about right.



The next steps involve using the beautiful colored purls and seed beads to add detail outside the circle. I can’t wait to get started!

What project have you been doing lately that you just fell in love with?!

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