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Historical Sampler – SnowDrop IV; and Pearls and Roses I

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5 January 2009

Historical Sampler – SnowDrop IV; and Pearls and Roses I

Um, there has been a slight accident involving a cat, a glass of cordial and my camera power pack.

Until some batteries arrive, I shall be photograph-less. I’ve done my best to provide lots of pretty pictures all the same.

I've finished the snowdrop. :-)

It's outlined in silver passing, has a red centre in satin stitch, then 5 lines of Lurex over the red meeting at the centre.


The next section I’m working on is shown below.


It is largely inspired by Madonna Contessa Ilaria Veltri degli Ansari’s Embroidered Elizabethan Gloves, shown at

Here’s a close-up of the relevant bit:


I’m using the idea of

  • pearls for sepals for the rose
  • pearls inside looped Purl (she used Bullion) for the buds.

Looping purl is described in A-Z of Goldwork by Country Bumpkin. (page 95)

My rose looks more like a classic Tudor Rose. The picture below shows a double rose (two layers of petals) whereas I’m doing a single (DogRose).


(page 43, The Embroiderer’s Flowers, Thomasina Beck)

Here’s one done in goldwork, from Goldwork Embroidery by Mary Brown (page 25)


(spider web stitches form the second layer of petals in this one)

I know I’ve seen DogRosees done in thread for the main part of the petals, and then the ‘foldover’ at the edges done in purl, but I can’t find any pictures. They are hiding from me.

My design plan for my Rose is :


I’m up to the final step – adding the purl pearl around the edges of each overlap.

The petals were done in three shades of pink.

I made a false start with the buttonholing. I needed to start from the middle – it’s a little hard to buttonhole from a curved edge and be decreasing stitches. Not impossible – but certainly simpler to start from the other end.

I found that when I reached the curved edge that I didn’t necessarily need a Return thread for my buttonholing – it sometimes stretched over the inner curve of the overlap on some petals, so I just did Detached Buttonhole (no Return).

I had some adventures with deciding what to cover the overlaps with.

  • I first tried Rough Purl laid vertically to the petals. However, I’d still be there until next Christmas adding purl lengths if I kept doing that. From memory, this is how it is usually done, and I can only admire the embroiderers that have the patience. I would have needed at least 10 lengths per overlap. At least 50 lengths to cut and place? Ouch.
  • I tried doing Pearl Purl following around each overlap, to follow the curve of the flower – but it just looked wrong because I’ve never seen one done like that.
  • I tried using Broad Plate, with the idea of bending the edges into the curved shape of the overlap, but I couldn’t get the end of the Plate to secure itself (I’ve had this problem before) so I gave up on that idea.

I ended up using Lurex in straight stitch, and it looks fine.

Adding the Pearl Purl to edge the overlap is giving it a good finished and well defined look.


I will also do some buds, of pearl purl with pearls in the middle as Ilaria did.

Also as part of the design, I’m going to feature a similiar flower :


This link leads to the home page of Historical Needlework Resources, 16th C. I’ve had a look through most of the links and can’t find where this image specifically came from.

Edit 25th Feb : This is the Italian States/NeedleCase/Venice/More Detail. The original image is

That looks like more Pearl Purl, as far as I can tell.


I have a couple of comments to make :

Passing Thread, if thin enough, can be used to embroider with (several books say this – Zimmerman’s Metal Thread book comes to mind).

But it’s a complete agony to get it through the ground. A needle grabber is needed.

Maybe my passing thread is a bit too thick?

Lurex is much much easier to deal with, but it tends to crack and show the inner silk core under the tension of a curve. That can be clearly seen on the Ladder Stitch coming from the red dogrose that I did very early on.

I’m getting some Papillion, and will have a play with that. I’m at the stage where I can do a bit of the vine up around the strawberries.

Another option is Benson and Johnson 371.

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Blogger The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

Rose, Mary Corbet's blog mentioned sales going on. Look at the Hedgehog link. They have Gylte Sylke Twist on sale for $16+ which works out to over $26 for me with shipping as they are in Australia but it may be cheaper for you. I thought of this while you mentioned various threads you were trying on the newest pearl rose. I love pink and roses. Can't wait to see it.

Here's the link.

Monday, January 05, 2009  
Blogger Elmsley Rose said...

Thankyou sweetie.

I'm a regular reader of Mary's. :-) She's actually provided a huge amount of off-line help in getting me started, especially with the needlepaintings I've done.

GST - I've got the (original) green. I'm finding it hard to justify the cost of another when I'm on a pension, especially since the AU$ died, and when I want silks and own exactly 6 skeins (Sol D'Algier in Creme, and 5 x3 yards of Splendors Filament). (I've decided YLI is rubbish as silk)

The green is good because I can use it in leaves/calyxes and therefore all over the place.

But you were right - if I did, I'd get the carnacion!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009  

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