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Embroidery Sampler Project - First Mention

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10 March 2008

Embroidery Sampler Project - First Mention

Actually, I have mentioned this project before, in a list of projects that I wanted to do that I made a couple of weeks ago.

I want to learn a lot of different techniques, and learn how to put these techniques to use in a variety of ways.

For example, flowers made with detached buttonhole stitch.

  • You can buttonhole in 3 different ways (depending on your direction as you progress).
  • You can make them attached, semi-attached, or free (getting into stumpwork there).
  • There's hollie point and trellis stitch too, to name the other two Elizabethan detached stitches.
  • And there are all the different *designs* of flowers.
And that's just one example (a big one)

I plan to experiment with

  • the variety of Elizabethan stitches, as polychrome embroidery
  • stumpwork,
  • other raised and padded work, including with string, felt and cardboard
  • goldwork (just simple stuff - a bit of pearl purl in the centre of a flower, a padded leaf
  • slips
  • some rice pearls, if they will fit the design and/or beading
  • a flower I saw in "18th Century Embroidery Techniques" which was done in tambour but I can do with variegated thread and a crochet hook
I'm not doing any blackwork, because I haven't seen any blackwork mixed with anything except goldwork and it's a big area of it's own.

I'm mixing the techniques of the 16th to 18th centuries, but hope to do it in a tasteful and design-wise manner, whilst engaging in a (rather large) practice piece.

The piece won't have any practical purpose. It can't be worn or sat on because of the stumpwork. Think "long cushion" in terms of looks, and it'll end up being displayed as a wall hanging.

I want to do flowers and leaves. I've been collecting descriptions and images of various different ones from Elizabethan times. Maybe a few insects. (a snail or two?)
I've also been gathering all of the information I can on various techniques (like attaching pearls) from the internet and bought a pile of 'how-to' books from Amazon.

I've been discussing with the Historical Needleworkers' List whether it is best to work with linen or silk as a ground material, and if so, which specific type. They have been of great help and we have it down to evenweave tabbyweave linen, or Duchess silk. It will need to be able to support what will be a fairly intense and heavy (literally) piece.

Apart from knowing that I want a botanical theme, a major design decision to make is the design of the framework from which those flowers and leaves will 'hang'. The typical curling vine of Elizabethan times is the most obvious to choose.

My friend Kit of KJGraphics and I found a piece yesterday which provides a framework which I just love.

The Project Gutenberg EBook of English Embroidered Bookbindings, by
Cyril James Humphries Davenport

Looking just at the vinework (not the roses and leaves) - it's very elegant but
still has the characteristics of the Elizabethan scrolling
vine. (the roses are
lovely too, but I'm going to use a variety of flowers)

Kit is going to do some work to repeat the middle section to give me more
'nodes' to work with. In the design above those 'nodes'
are occupied by
roses and rose buds.

I want to place a slip in the middle of the piece. Kit is going to work on those
central tendrils so that they come to a point just
above (or below) what is
currently the central rose - rather than having a slip with 'tendrils' escaping
from it in all directions.

So there's two new decisions - the framework design, and the use of one slip
(I didn't know how many I was going to do)

I may put a border (an ornate one?) around the edges. That's a decision to
be made. I don't want to make so much work for
myself that the project
becomes un-doable. As it is, I'm looking at a year's work, I think.

Another decision to make is how the framework is to be actually constructed.
I do want to try plaited braid stitch, but I don't
want to do THAT much plaited
braid stitch. I've heard too many horror stories, but perhaps the Plymouth
Embroiderers will
change all of that (they certainly have enough of it to do
of their own).

Maybe goldwork materials and techniques, or interlace
techniques .....

And then slotting in my various flowers into the different nodes, and a variety
of leaves along the vines.

This project is months away from being actually started. I have a lot of
supplies to buy, lots more research to do (not least of
which being
*which* slip to use - there are so many gorgeous ones). I also have
the two long and short stitch projects, and
some calligraphy to do.

So this will be an on-going design process.
I'm thoroughly enjoying it :-)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow! I am really looking forward to seeing your progress on this (go on chuck in some blackwork too! grin). Ive been trying to leave encouraging messages about your iris, but blogger wont let me (i always blame blogger, but it might just be me) - I like the way it is looking

Monday, March 10, 2008  
Blogger Elmsley Rose said...

yeah - blogger can be evil sometimes. I lost a reply to a comment to DragonSally the other day, and I own the blog!

I've simply never seen blackwork mixed with anything but goldwork. I've seen all the rest mixed together. It doesn't really matter, coz I'm not SCA, but surely the designers then had their reasons.
I've got HEAPS to do in any case :-)

And thankyou for trying to leave comments. The thought was there!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008  
Anonymous Dragonsally said...

wow. that is stunning.

You really do like challengs, don't you

Tuesday, March 11, 2008  
Blogger Elmsley Rose said...


Keeps me interested

Tuesday, March 11, 2008  
Blogger MargB said...

Goodness me! This will be fun.I love blackwork but I also love the other things you have on your list. Also the design. I keep an eye on your blog every day to make sure I get my fill of eye candy! and now it is getting even richer!
Are you keeping a log on time spent on your gorgeous iris? It could be interesting.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008  
Blogger Elmsley Rose said...

No, I'm not keeping a log. I really must do that for a project one day.

Thankyou for enjoying my blog

Wednesday, March 12, 2008  

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