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Historical Sampler – A SnowDrop to the Rescue

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20 December 2008

Historical Sampler – A SnowDrop to the Rescue

I needed to find a motif to cover over the waspish bee. It was a bit tough, because there was the main area of his body, then legs extending for quite a distance.

I found that my main influence was the bulk where the body was – I needed something to cover that entire.

Thanks to my trusty “The Medieval Flower Book”, Celia Fisher, (and a quick check that it was an English native species at The Checklist of English Native Plants), I decided upon a SnowDrop.

snowpea_4  (from Ms Fisher’s book)

I had needed to select a three petal-ed flower, because there wasn’t room for 4 petals – the gap in between the petals, if there were 4, would show some pen marks, unless the flower was absolutely huge.

I decided to pad the flower in felt for several reasons

  • the ground was a bit stretched in places from unpicking and I didn’t want to embroider directly upon it
  • ensure coverage of the black penmarks
  • to improve the appearance of the satin stitching to come

(see “Some Notes on Satin Stitch” by Mary Corbet,

- the “pattern” I needed to cut from felt. As the snowpea would be in white, I used silver felt (I didn’t have any white felt) :


- the felt sewn in place :


Now, I’ve never seen flowers actually encroaching upon each other in Elizabethan/Tudor embroidery – but this is a ‘fix’ and I’ll just have to go with it.

Fitting the felt around the Campanula was easier than I expected, thanks to the tiny amount of stretch that felt has.

For the petals, I am going to use a slightly (ever so slightly) green tinged cream in DMC, single strand, to satin stitch over the top. I did start stitching in Madeira Poly cream – but it was so shiny, it made the flower stand out too much.

I may decided to do those ‘hoods’ in a different stitch for emphasis.

I’m going to have to stamp on any inclinations to do needlepainting here. The embroidery of the period was 2 dimensional. The ‘hoods’ cry out to be needlepainted.

I may also layer the centre more. I outlined it in pen because the edges were a bit hard to see – the felt ‘met’ too well in places.

I’m not overall happy about this motif – but I think it’s the best I can do in the circumstances. The size of the flower is balanced by the Dusty Pink Rose on the other side of the sampler.

Ear infection update – oh, gods! I haven’t been commenting on people’s blogs much – sorry. I’m hoping to be well enough to go to Sally’s on Christmas Day.

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Blogger The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

I love your snowdrop. You may think it's not that great but I really like it. Can't wait to see how you avoid the historical pitfall of needle painting it!

Jane, cheering you on from CH (by the way, feel better soon-it's the pits to be sick at Christmas)

Sunday, December 21, 2008  
Blogger JoWynn Johns said...

The snowdrop will work just fine, especially as you'll have twining lines intersecting it. The problem solving is fun, don't you think?

Do hope you're feeling better soon.

Sunday, December 21, 2008  
Blogger Elmsley Rose said...

Thankyou both for encouragement both embroidery and health-wise :-)

Sunday, December 21, 2008  
Blogger Paula Hewitt said...

i hope you are feeling better. and i think the snowdrop will be a fine fix.
have a great Christmas - i hope you are well enough to go to Sallys too.

Sunday, December 21, 2008  
Blogger Jane said...

I'm with everyone else. I think the snowdrop will work well. And as for authenitc, I'm sure Elizabethan/tudor embroidrers had to do this kind of 'fix' (haven't we all!), so to my mind it makes it more real not less.

You have my sympathy on the ear infection as well, I had one earlier this year, horrid aren't they.
Feel better soon.

Sunday, December 21, 2008  

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