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Elmsley Rose

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Elmsley Rose

29 April 2009

Golden Pomegranate

Here is the original of the Golden Pomegranate – from one of the gloves at
That’s purling on the outside edges, so I decided to built it up in felt.
I did one layer for the centre of the fruit
and two layers for the leaves and the ovary at the bottom.
Note that one of the leaves hits against a wasp *headdesk*
I then outlined the leaves, ovary and the inner part of the fruit in chain stitch. I used 3 DMC threads, except for the inner part where I used 2, for textual variety.
I added sequins to the tips of the two leaves that I had tips for.
I discussed what the stitch right in the middle could be with Mary Corbet. She came down in favour of raised buttonhole stitch.
I tried passing thread for the buttonhole stitch, but it was far too stiff and I got ‘ovals’ going over each horizontal thread instead of the thread pulling down into the next stitch.
I tried using DMC thread as the base lines, but they snapped under the pressure.
I ended up using Lurex as both the base threads and the buttonhole stitch thread. I pushed the stitches tightly against each other with my fingernail. It was an easy stitch to do.
And here it is with the purling done. It’s messier on the right side, and I like it that way. It seems more ‘natural’.
The actual fruit is on a bit of a tilt, but I put the top sequin slightly to the left, making it look crooked. I just need to move it over a wincy bit. (You can see if you draw a straight line vertically up the pomegranate). The tip is wide enough to take it.
Why can I not spell pomegranate? Thankyou, spell checker!
I have been being very quiet because I’ve actually been working on another project! It’s a piece of calligraphy for a friend. The next few entries will be about it.

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13 April 2009

A Gift, The Blue Leaf and a Troublesome Trefoil

Firstly, Paula Hewitt of The Beauty of Life ( sent me a gift the other day.
Designs by Lesley Turpin-Delport and published by Inspirations.
Some of these insects are just *perfect* for filling in some odd small spaces I have on the sampler. (eg the butterflies).
Thankyou Paula!!
The Blue Leaf
Remember the base of the blue leaf that I described in a recent entry? It’s embroidered in satin stitch onto the ground.
Here’s the working of the top, detached layer, in a separate small frame :
The edge are a mess – but that’s why you put buttonhole stitching around the edge.
I don’t know why there are white threads around the right edge.
It looks much better now, huh, except for a piece of thread sitting in the middle. (oops – but I wasn’t that worried because the stem was going to cover it).
I hadn’t yet trimmed the loose dark blue thread ends when I took this photo so it looks a little messy.
While I was buttonholing, I incorporated florists’s wire 2/3 of the way around (it isn’t there for most of the dark blue side.)
I’ll sew down the dark blue part, and let the rest “fly in the air”. Because of the wire, I’ll be able to manipulate the shape to stick up from the leaf below it (which is exactly the same).
I could have wired right the way around, but I thought it’d be easier to sew to the ground if I didn’t have to sew over wire.
The finished blue leaf (with the loose threads trimmed):
It’ll now be cut from the ground, and go into the envelope with my detached layer for the Dusty Pink Rose, to be added to the sampler later on (or else my thread will endlessly catch on it).
The Troublesome Trefoil
I said that I drew the trefoil directly on the canvas without practicing first. I drew the wrong shape. This is what I meant to draw :
This is from the Plimouth Project. Of course there are lots of variances in shapes of trefoils, very popular in Elizabethan times, but the shape I drew just isn’t right.
I did learn a couple of things :
  • In handling the individual shape formed by a colour (a rectangle with a point at each end) I learnt to fill in each of the points just far enough down so that I could get a horizontal line across from one point to the other.
I then buttonholed right across the trefoil, using the bottom edges of the points as the starting and finishing points, until I reached the edges of the trefoil, as shown below :
(Note that my points are much wider and bigger than Plimouth’s)
  • I finally, finally “listened” to the Thistle Thread instructions and did my Reverse Chain stitches over 3 threads.
To date, I’ve always done them over 2 threads. This leads to a very dense coverage, where you can’t really see the stitch, as shown in the photo of the borage below :
I am Not Happy with this trefoil.
1: It just looks wrong.
2: As a result of me playing with shape, it *touches* the blue leaf. Motifs in Elizabethan embroidery didn’t touch, unless it was the occasional leaf against a vine. It was bad enough chopping off the end of one of the points so it wouldn’t hit the bird.
3: the buttonholing in the light green looks just terrible (after 2 attempts each). You can see the diagonal lines formed in the dark green. And the mess in the light green.
I don’t know whether to blame my tools. The light green was one strand of YLI. The dark green and the yellow were 1 strand of DMC. It seems strange that I was successful with the DMC and not with the YLI, without blaming the thread.
I’ve used YLI in detached buttonhole heaps of times before – but I was doing it so much more densely.
I’m inclined to frog the whole thing and do it again (without YLI). But not yet – I want a break doing another motif or two before I come back to it, or I’ll strangle it.
Any suggestions on fixes/revisions are Most Welcome.
Maybe if I did a floating leaf over the top (like the blue one) at least the chopped off point won’t be so obvious (it’ll be up in the air so won’t hit the bird).
The colour layering looks wrong. An extra green? More of the yellow at the top, coming further down? Alter the shape where the top ‘triangle’ (yellow, light green, dark green) comes in at too acute an angle into the light green further down?
Here’s the sampler so far :
I was going to teach myself spiral trellis stitch and do those two circles to either side of the big Pearl/Purl rose (they are holding me up from doing a heap more vinework) but I think that I need some fun, so I'm going to do a pomegranate next instead.

I’m going to have to start photographing it in two sections – it’s just getting too big!

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5 April 2009

Bits and Bobs and a Leaf in Blue

I did that leaf in fishbone stitch, then tried a coral knot vein. The vein didn’t work because the knots were pulling at the laid fishbone stitches.
I did (what is the opposite of stem stitch called?) and wasn’t happy with the short stitches.
I’ve redone it with longer stitches IMGP0035
Instead, to ‘tick off the usage of coral knot stitch’ I did a blossom, filled with coral knot stiches :
He’s the one with the blue stripe, fawn and ecru.
I was going to do a loop of purl there, with a hoop of a different purl “holding it down” at the top. Oh well – it was the perfect shape and size for this.
I have already done one motif from this cushion :
Pillow for a cross with depiction of stylized vegetal ornamentation
Late 16th – Early 17th century
Ground of silk material; embroidery with gold, silver and silk threads, silver and gold purl; pearls; sequins applied in couched stitch and in relief technique. Trimmed with metallic lacework and tassels of gold thread
Here’s the flower
:borage_cushion_flower (look familiar at all?)
and here’s the bud
I was going to do the bud as per the cushion, when I was distracted and inspired by
from A-Z Goldwork pg 108. Look at that tail! It’s called “fish scales filling for sequins”.
The wing looks to have loops of purl between each sequin and at the breast the sequins are almost vertical, with loops of bright purl between them.
So, I fishscaled my bud :
I ran out of sequins before I finished. They are the smallest size you can get. I just love the effect. The ones at the top look loose coz they haven’t got any other sequins over the top of them yet.
And an outline in Pearl Purl, same as the Peacock’s tail.
Blue Leaf
I am currently doing a leaf based on this one :
Note it has a plain ground outlined in black, and then the raised layer over the top.
I’m doing a satin stitch ground
a) because I like these leaves done with satin stitch grounds, and
b) there are all those pen markings from when I drew the leaf
That’s the bottom layer.
I’m working on the top layer in a small frame.

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4 April 2009


My sampler is going to end up as a wall hanging.
I want to edge it in gold bobbin lace (with spangles – dream on!) as items from this period were.
I just had a look on Ebay for fun, and found a couple of pretty gold metallic laces.
They aren’t right, but jeez, they’re pretty!


There was an even nicer vestment lace, but the shop wouldn’t let me copy the pic and I’ve gone and closed the window now.

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1 April 2009

A Good Site of Historical Embroidery Images

contains photographs from the V&A museum.

There are some old 16th and 17thC favourites there, including many many views of the Laton jacket and a good photo of that panel of multiple slips, blackwork, redwork, some pinked and embossed work, gloves, swetebags and more. The photos enlarge nicely.

There are other items, including jewellery. There are more textiles under the Jewellery section.
contains some photos from the 13th to 20thC.

There may be more - I'm off to explore the Textiles and Laces page.......

Naergilien is a German lady, my age. What an excellent site!

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