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Elmsley Rose

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Elmsley Rose

28 June 2011

Off With the Butterfly's Head!

I put up a photo of the "Finished Butterfly" yesterday.

This morning, I realised that the Head just wasn't working. It's part of an Electyra beetle's wing (I have yet to post on attaching it) which I thought was pretty cool - but it isn't 'sitting in' with the rest of the embroidery. I intend to replace it with a head done in the same way as the body, to bring it together a bit more.

I also asked if anyone could think of suggestions to cover the raised stem stitch of the body.
I got two replies. One, I've lost - I'm so sorry. I've just searched all my e-mail (it was a mail).

The other was a comment on the entry by Rachel of VirtuoSew Adventures. She suggested Cloud Stitch.
"Open Filling Stitches" was the phrase I needed! (of which Cloud Stitch is one).

I found it and other open filling stitches in Mary Thomas' Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches.

I took a liking to Fancy Stitch, but I intend to use copper Kreinik filament to cover the body, and the twisting of the thread needed in that stitch - I can just imagine going insane because part of the filament has broken, and I'm stuck out in the middle of the open network of stitches. It needs to be simple.

I'm going to look more into Open Filling Stitches. I don't want to use the threads of the purple Raised Stem Stitch band to provide the base of the stitching, because that will pull the threads apart to expose the felt. Raised Stem stitch is just wrapped around a line of thread - not directly tied to the ground itself.

I'm thinking of laying the base small vertical stitches on the body/head of the Butterfly in the green Gilt Sylke Twist thread that I wrapped the antennae with (I have to post on that, too :-). That would bring it together further, and green, copper, and purple look good together.

So next time you see the Butterfly, he/she (it's up to Julie to decide) may look a little different :-)

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27 June 2011

Dolby, Anastasia - Church Embroidery, Ancient and Modern

The Textile Blog has a fascinating and thorough review of Church Embroidery, Ancient and Modern by Anastasia Marice Dolby, published in 1867 at

Here's the first two paragraphs of the review.....
"In 1867, Anastasia Marice Dolby published Church Embroidery, Ancient and Modern. The book was produced as a practical and technical guide for the use of embroidery for ecclesiastical furnishings. Although certainly pitched at an amateur audience, she did have professional help and reference guides from a number of individuals including Daniel Rock the English antiquarian and ecclesiologist who had a specific interest in church history and a practical approach to church functions such as the Mass. She is known to have used his Hierurgia or the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which he originally published in 1833.
Dolby also considered herself to be a professional, rather than an embroiderer of leisure, a section of society to which the book was largely aimed. She had been a court embroiderer and termed herself 'late embroideress to the Queen.' In this respect, she felt that she had the connections, professionalism and the skills base to produce a confident book concerned with the correct approach to ecclesiastical embroidery.
The book itself while not giving detailed plans and pattern work as such, is largely a practical guide to church embroidery…….."

There is also a long list of fascinating live links (to Amazon books, tho I haven't checked them all) at the end of the review.

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Finished but with a Question

I’ve skipped two posts on how I finished the Butterfly (coming up!) but I had a question I wanted to ask of y’all.
Here he (she?) is :
I think the purple body (done in raised stem stitch band) is a bit plain. But it’s going to be just about impossibly to embroider *into*. The rows of packed stem stitches will get all mucked up.
I’ve considered couching over the top in copper Kreinik, but I don’t know what pattern to use since the body changes in shape so much.
Any ideas? Or do you think it’s ok as it is?
Do you know what the head is made of? *grin*. It was easier than I thought!

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24 June 2011

Oh, if only it fitted![0]=materials&ga_search_query=Pure&ga_filter[0]=handmade&ga_filter[1]=needlecraft&ga_filter[2]=supplies&ga_noautofacet=1&ga_search_type=vintage&ga_facet=vintage

Vintage Silk Black Sheer Bodice Open Back Chandelier Beading Sequins Evening Gown Floor Length Size 12 on Etsy
Vintage Silk Black Sheer Bodice Open Back Chandelier Beading Sequins Evening Gown Floor Length Size 12 on Etsy Vintage Silk Black Sheer Bodice Open Back Chandelier Beading Sequins Evening Gown Floor Length Size 12 on Etsy Vintage Silk Black Sheer Bodice Open Back Chandelier Beading Sequins Evening Gown Floor Length Size 12 on Etsy Vintage Silk Black Sheer Bodice Open Back Chandelier Beading Sequins Evening Gown Floor Length Size 12 on Etsy Vintage Silk Black Sheer Bodice Open Back Chandelier Beading Sequins Evening Gown Floor Length Size 12 on Etsy
Perfect for any formal glamorous occasion is this floor length pure silk black beaded evening gown by d’ore. The sheer silk bodice, full sleeves and open back make this evening gown red carpet worthy!

Designed with a high collar two hook and eye closure it is embellished with chandelier beading and sequins throughout the evening gown.
~~ Go to the link at the top to see the thumbnails as full pictures - particularly the last one!

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20 June 2011

A New Project!

If you didn’t see that I posted yesterday (about a set of links to free internet ‘palette construction from images’ tools), well, scroll down :-)

I’ve been making embroideries for friends for the last 8 or more months. I’m going crazy. I NEED to get back into the Elizabethan world.

While waiting for some purple thread for the Butterfly, I’ve started the next and final thankyou present – a marigold. I’ll post about that presently.

It’s not a big project, so I’ll be “free” in a month or so, maybe less.

I have my  Elizabethan Historical Sampler sitting there as a UFO. But the whole *point* of the Sampler is to try as many new stitches and techniques as possible. My health just isn’t up to that at the moment – it’s a bit hard to think and learn a lot when you feel ratty. The medical specialist programme I’m now on will guarantee I’ll feel pretty ratty until at least November – but I should be much healthier and stronger at the end of it :-) :-)
So I wanted something that I already had the skills to do, but was Elizabethan (and beautiful, of course).

I made a file of prospective projects, then I chose one after thinking for a day :

It’s the bookmark of a Cope that Julie gave me! The dragon will be especially fun! There’s some silk shading in his wings, the cross and the leaves above too. Surface couching work on the silver thistle (or I’m going to make it surface couched, anyway). Perhaps I’ll use kid for that red patch in the middle? Gold kid. I’ll need plenty of pearl purl, that’s for sure!

Lots of ideas! I’ll be using DMC for the Cope piece although I’d prefer to do it in silk, but it’s too expensive.

My initial choice was this motif :
I just adore the colours in it, and like the lightness of the scrollwork. But it occurred to me that I’d just done lots of split stitching for the Butterfly wings, so didn’t really want to do a repetitive stitch project again so soon.

Meanwhile I’m be Butterflying and Marigolding away :-) I’m a big post behind on the Butterfly – He has a body, legs and antennae now.

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19 June 2011

Extracting the colours from an image of an embroidery

I'm nosing around for a new project at the moment, (yes, I know, weeks ahead) and having picked one possible extant item as a prospect, I went to work extracting the colours from the image. This was just for fun, and to have a bit of a play.

Of course, working out the colours by eye isn't impossible, but it's maddening when there are lots of colours close together. Plus, being close together, the appearance of a particular hue (did I get that right?) is affected by the hues that surround it.

I discovered an awfully useful link -   

It lists 30 plus scheme generators and other color tools. So far, they've all been free, except one that had a 15 day trial period.

So far, I like the Colors_Pallete_Generator (free) the best. It generated  49 colours. (The most I got from the others I tried was up to 10).

Of course, I'll print out all the schemes, and compare them to the image before actually picking the colours. But I find having automatically generated colour schemes a great way to start off picking out the correct colours on an extant embroidery :-)

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9 June 2011

Lost medieval embroideries and Tudor Roses/Rosettes

Embroideries worth millions found in London flat clearance.....check it out ....

If anyone finds some follow up details, I'd love to find out more....

On the Textiles blog today, they feature a book by Nathaniel Wittock about stained glass, written in 1828.

There are a few samples of Tudor Rose and Ecclesiastical designs shown  - enough to get me very interested.

From the blog :

I found the FULL book at

It is about *how* to make stained glass, so there's a lot of clicking needed to find the images. There's only a few suitable for embroidery, but hey - I have a big weakness for Tudor Roses/Rosettes.

This paragraph from the Textile Blog, caused me great amusement

"It must be remembered that the book was published in 1828 and the date does set a certain amount of definition to the parameters of the decorative work featured in the book, particularly that of the glass work. The 1820s was the period of the reign of George IV, rather than his regency, and was therefore part of the dying days of the Georgian period. Many during this period were well aware that the best days of the House of Hanover were long gone. It was considered by the later Victorians in particular as a tasteless episode where every whim and eccentricity was indulged. They were particularly scathing as far as the architectural and decorative arts were concerned. The irony that later generations would feel the same about the Victorian world was probably beyond their understanding, as it no doubt is when concerning our own contemporary world."

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1 June 2011


Where I last left you I’d outlined the big front wing in purple DMC and was going to add a second outline – of the knitted gold thread.

That’s the front wing finished. :-)
The small back wing was still in the small frame that I had used for it when filling the wing in with split stitches and purple ‘wing pads’ in the same design as the front wing.
The colours in the various photos below look different practically every time, but this is pretty accurate – a bit pink on the copper split stitching…..IMGP0259
I was going to make this small back wing a detached piece. With an extra trick – because this back wing would stick up from the main forest green ground with the big front wing, it’s underside would be visible. I needed a neat backing on the back wing.
I’ve never read of anyone putting a separate backing on a detached wired piece, but I thought I’d give it a go anyway.
This is what I finished up with :
The ‘plunging wires’ of the back wing aren’t plunged through the main ground yet – my finger is just holding the back wing in place. This photo shows where I end up at the end of this post. The rest of the text talks about how I got there.
I used two pieces of florist’s wire instead of just one to wire the back wing, because they were of a fairly light gauge, and they had to support two layers of material, (the split stitched front and the backing fabric).
Below, the wiring is part attached to the edge of the wing. I used the darkest copper DMC thread to attach the wire using a simple oversew stitch. (Buttonhole stitching that wire was yet to come)
I attached the wires counter clockwise around the wing because I’m LH.
You can see that I began at the front tip of the wing, where it would be attached to the main ground. And yes, that DMC thread on the needle IS copper, even if it looks purple! Really!
And here it is, finished. I put a bit of a bend near the end for fun when photographing it. IMGP0275
I could have used any suitable piece of material as the backing, but I noticed that the purple ground I’d been split stitching on went well with the forest green main ground the front wing was on, so I thought I’d simply use the unused part of the material that was in the small frame.
I took the piece out of the frame, and doubled the material over. I pinned it in place to make sure the back covered the front, and cut along the folded edge along the bottom to give me a front of the back wing and a backing piece, in two separate pieces. I couldn’t just sew along the bottom fold, because the bottom of the back wing has small curves in it.
I then addressed the issue of the wires extruding from the front split stitched piece. I needed them coming out from the back of the backing, in order to be eventually plunged down into the main ground to attach the back wing to the main piece.
So I plunged the wires through the backing piece. Just a hole with a large needle and hand feeding the wires through one by one – no loop required.
I sewed a buttonhole wheel where the wires emerged on the backing piece to keep things neat, and strengthen that hole.
I also removed the paper from the wire to avoid any problems with the paper ‘gathering up’ when I plunged it through the main ground. Taking it through the backing piece has loosed the paper, as you can see in the photo.
I then buttonholed right around the edge of the wing from the front in order to hold the front and the backing pieces together :

After some judicious Fray Stopping, I cut the wing out.
Because I’d stitched the front and back together with dark copper thread, the copper stitches showed very obviously on the plain purple back. So I couched down some smooth purl to cover the copper stitching on the purple backing.
I added some of that thick gold knitted material to the very edge of the wing. (So – around the wing for the fourth time!)
On the back, I pinched the purl covering the red stitching on the back together with the knitted wire on the edge with my fingernails, so the back had the two rows of gold metal thread touching as much as possible. In some places, (bottom front, mainly) they were too far apart for this.
The purple of that DMC thread that I used to outline the big front wing and the purple material used for the backing of the back wing matched! Serendipity! There was still a bit of a border of purple fabric that I’d left when cutting the detached wing out, and I left that there when I attached the gold knitted thread, so it looks like the back wing has been edged in purple thread in the same way the big front wing has. The width of the purple fabric edge varies slightly, but I was unable to get too fussy with it, without the risk of cutting into the split stitches of the wing itself.
The couching of the thick knitted metal thread to the edge of the back wing isn’t very good. I was fighting my way past purl on the back and pushing into the buttonhole stitching on the front that I’d used to attach the front and the back of the back wing together, and I was tired at the time.
The stitches are at an angle, instead of being perpendicular to the couched thread. Oops. The gold couching thread needed to travel over the purple border, because the purl is behind the purple border on the backing.
I haven’t plunged the wire of the back wing onto the main ground containing the front wing yet.
Taken from the side, this shows how I shaped the back wing a little, for interest.
This photo also has quite accurate colours.
Next…..antennae, legs, and the butterfly body! Then the attachment of the back wing, and I’ll be finished! (except for the finishing).

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