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Historical Sampler – A Rose and Two Buds II

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24 August 2008

Historical Sampler – A Rose and Two Buds II

The EverTite Frame

Firstly, I’ve gotten the embroidery onto the EverTite frame.

I followed Mary Corbet’s instructions

I found that I could get the frame together with the assistance of the heel of a shoe.

Mary recommended finishing the edge of the material and it is a good idea. I didn’t and I’ll have to, because white threads are coming off everywhere.

It tightened up to drum-tightness beautifully. I’m very pleased with it.

The Rose and Two Buds


Here it is – where I got up to last night, with the ends from the couched stem waiting to be plunged.

I didn’t know how to plunge the ends of the Jap thread when I started, and made a real mess of it for the ends outlining the rose.

I ended up couching the cut ends of the thread on the surface, and covering the couching with the pearl.

I’ve got it figured out now, and the ends outlining the bud are plunged properly :-)

Left-Handed Detached Buttonhole Stitch

I’ll call my ‘working sampler’ (where I practice stitches) my ‘doodle cloth’ to save confusion.

Practicing detached buttonhole stitch (D.B.S) on my doodle cloth I found that I remembered it from doing my embroidered book cover. (yay)

I used DMC for the practice which was a mistake. The stranding meant thread separation which, further down the thread, led to difficulty. Especially since I was practicing with a Sharp, not being able to find a Tapestry needle. A tightly wound thread like Perle thread would be much better to practice with.

Being left-handed, I realized that I did the knots upside down – with the needle coming from under the strand-across and the loop, instead of over. It looks the same, except if the bottom line isn’t connected to the bottom outline, as shown in the red rectangle below – you can see that the diagonal lines go the opposite way.


Gilt Sylke Twist and Detached Buttonhole Stitch

Embroidered with Gilt Sylke Twist (G.S.T.) is lot like I imagine it would be to embroider with wire.


The photo shows how it ‘springs' up.

I was using the D.B.S instructions from Thistle Threads, with a Reverse Chain outline, instructions from the same place (as linked from the Plymouth Embroiderers' Blog)

Very handily, the example was a calyx, which was exactly what I needed for the buds.

My first attempt on the doodle cloth was a bit of a nightmare. To get the tension correct, I found that a bit of manipulation of the G.S.T. with fingernails, and careful tightening of each knot was required.

I found that pulling the bottom loop almost tight before doing the last 'needle over the thread' was a good idea.

It was a bit much to try increasing and decreasing stitches, and use GST all in one step.

So I had a go using just a rectangle and went much better.

I had missed a couple of loops on the calyx because I found it difficult to see the G.S.T. loops. This is why the outline of the rectangle is done in Perle thread - just to make the outline loops a bit clearer while I practiced.

I did notice, when practicing the calyx, that it's important to try and get the number of outline chain stitches equal in number on each side.

You can bodge it a bit, re-using holes if you run out on one side, and I got away with it because the calyx was really small. I was going cross-eyed counting threads over which to do the reverse chain stitch, which is how I ended up with an uneven number.

The Thistle Thread instructions recommend doing the reverse chain stitch and hence the D.B.S. over 4 threads. I thought this would be a bit big for my little motifs, and experimented. I ended up doing the chains over 2 threads.

Once I stopped being frightened of the G.S.T. everything was fine.

It does have a tendency to twist up around the needle eye and needs to be carefully disentangled.

Shortening the tail of the thread by simply tugging the needle along a bit (as you do with normal thread) is a big mistake - a great way to break the gold twist.

Once the gold twist is broken, the silk thread in the centre fluffs out, and the thread is useless.


Historically, motifs were outlined in Pearl Purl or in two lines of passing thread.

I found that the Jap Thread I had suited the rose and bud I've done the best, but only using a single line. (Unfortunately I don't have every size of every thread!)

So I've cheated here.

The Stem

I had used a lot of black pen lines in getting the stem straight, and I needed a stitch that would cover those lines.

I tried first with Braid Stitch. I taught it to myself from the Country Bumpkin's Embroidery Book (clear instructions) on my doodle cloth and then tried it with the Lurex thread on my Historical Sampler.

It was terrible. The Lurex is fairly stiff, and I couldn't get it to bend in the way I needed.

So, back to the doodle cloth and I learnt Heavy Chain Stitch.

I tried with Lurex on the doodle cloth this time, and it worked well.

But the stitch just didn't provide enough coverage, when done in Lurex thread, to hide the lines.

So I ended up doing laid work.

The line is thicker than I think it should be, (or the rose smaller) but them's the breaks.

I was very tempted to do the couching stitches in green (because it's a stem) but I haven't seen laid work couching threads in anything other than red/orange or gold, unless it was Or Nue.


I forgot to mention the snail when I initially described this motif. He's there now, done in YLI silk, with two tiny eyes.

His eyes are on his head, rather than on the ends of his stalks, because that's how they were done, and otherwise it looks funny, even if it's biologically incorrect.


I've learnt heaps and heaps in doing this and haven't yet finished this motif.

However, I want to cheat and move onto a more exciting flower. Nothing involving anything like long and short stitch (ie satin stitch in another form) for at least a few days, please. I have so many exciting ones to choose from!

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Blogger Constance said...

It's looking good, i'm sure it will be beautiful when finished. makes me what to start something like that. I have been practicing the stitches on a sampler so maybe i will one day.

I tried to send you an email the other week but it cam back as a reject. not sure why, but my (spam friendly email is

i had a go at the detached button hole stitch. apart from doing them too far apart, i think i got the hang of it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008  
Blogger coral-seas said...

Wow, Megan you are making really good progress and it is looking great.

Isn't the GST fabulous. May I share with you a couple of things that I found useful. Instead of threading the needle in the normal way, half hitch the GST through the needle eye, leaving only a short tail. Use short lengths and treat is gently. Use a darning needle or cocktail stick to 'hold' the thread while you pull the thread through the stitch. Don't pull on it, but use enough tension to stop the thread from twisting around itself. (This works with other threads and may help prevent those knots you are getting.)


Saturday, September 06, 2008  
Blogger Elmsley Rose said...

Thankyou! ! I'll give your tips a try next time I'm using GST :-)

Sunday, September 07, 2008  

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