Today, we explore the wonderful world of Pearl Purl.
Part of the Purl "family".
Also known as Jaceron, Pearl Purl (PP) is composed of a hard, smooth wire that is first flattened then formed into a certain width, passed through a forming tool to create a sort of horseshoe shape, then tightly coiled around a needle to create a firm, bumpy spring. The spring resembles a row of beads when couched down and can be used in long lengths to form borders, outlines, create lines, etc. It is generally a pretty rigid spring that is easy to handle and great for using around curves because it does bend pretty easily. ;
The picture above is of #3 PP. There are different sizes depending on the thickness of the wire that is coiled rather the needle that it is spun on. As with any of the Purls, the higher the number, the finer the thread.
PP comes in gold, silver, and copper (I'm searching for other metals as welBasutoland have not found any as of yet).
Couching or Laying -- Pearl Purl is ideal for couching. The basic technique is to begin by slightly stretching the Pearl Purl then over-sew between the pearls using a heavily waxed sewing thread.
PP is made out of courser metal than many of the other purls and will wear through the thread it is sewn down with. Most of my reading recommends using a single ply; however, some teachers recommend the use of double thread so that if the one of the strands breaks, the work does not have to be completely redone - simply secure the single ply, thread up again with a new needle of double stranded waxed thread, go over a portion to make sure the PP is secure and carry on. Every third or fourth pearl or groove is sewn down.
The holding thread is meant to sink entirely into the center of the PP. A wonderfully, satisfying "pop" is often heard when doing this technique.
One should be careful of the ends. The PP should be cut in a manner that when it is couched down a whole bead/pearl is visible.
Corners are great fun when working with PP (ok, I might be a bit strange because I enjoy them - not everyone does). PP can easily be bent at an angle that makes it ideal for turning around the corner.
Care needs to be given to PP as once the thread has become damaged then it either is difficult or impossible to repair.
Rows -- PP can be couched down side by side to create a an area of significant texture. I've really enjoy seeing pictures of pieces that incorporate PP along with other Purls in the bark of trees.
Couched with a second thread -- PP can be stretched and another fiber, like silk filament or twist, run through the center. This allows the fiber running through the center to be exposed and creates a really interesting look and changes the appearance.