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Elmsley Rose

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Elmsley Rose

30 November 2011

Hands, Hilda - Church Embroidery - Ancient and Modern

I wrote recently how pleased I was to find a copy of this book. Then "Anonymous" put in a comment that the book is available on-line!

Thankyou Anonymous! Now we can all share in the beautiful beautiful designs and detailed text.

Much padding and couching going on.......

This isn't a proper review - I'm not awake enough for that - Mary Corbet reviews it at

The patterns! The patterns! 


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23 November 2011

Howard, Constance - Design for Embroidery from Historical Sources

I've gotten a bit sick again - that's why I've been quiet, but I have quickly read Constance Howard's Design for Embroidery from Historical Sources.

The book is a cross between  

Barbara Snook's Historical Embroidery  which describes history on design change and technology/materials, with lots of design *drawings*, which - althought I can provide no source, I have read are not terribly accurate (but the book is good although fairly brief)

Embroidery Masterworks; Classic Patterns and Techniques for Contemporary Application by Virginia Churchill Bath, who talks about re-designing various extant items from many periods using techniques for 'more modern tastes" (which one might freely ignore or maybe like a particular idea, it's not like she's adapting them to machine work!) but talks about the original implementation of the embroidery in technical detail as well.

There are many many useful small pattern segments drawn in clear black and white in the book and black and white (not great) photos of extant items. I'd like to do so many of the projects! It's very educational to read.

Here's one page :

Mary Corbet recently featured the hard to find needlework bookshop
In the Ecclesiastical section (coz those projects are mixed silk and goldwork - just what I like) I found the Hilda Hands book!!!!

I've wanted this book for years - ever since Mary featured part of one project from it at

I've never ever seen the book on sale and I have searched for it periodically.

Here is the piccie of the project - I imagine the rest of the book is similar....the Great and Only Mary reviews the Hilda Hands book at the link above. :-)

It was only $35! :-) Bette from HardToFindNeedlebooks is lovely, and very helpful.


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21 November 2011

Competition Winner!

Thankyou for all of the entries. I have a lovely name now - "A Thistled Heart", suggested by Lia de Thronegge.
 I have a bit of a thing about Thistles (as well as roses) - I collect images of them as well.

Thankyou Lia! Please contact me at a_velvet_clawATyahooDOTcomDOToz, where 'oz' is replaced with "au" with your address. Also, could you please leave a comment here, and also on Facebook Historic Embroidery on how you find the Merino wool to work with? I hope you enjoy using it as much as  I do :-)

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15 November 2011

Competition! My first!

In the post I said that I felt that after a long period of lesser health, I felt it was a better idea to re-start practical embroidery with an easy project, rather than The Bishop’s Cope project which I want to get as technically correct as possible.

New Project – to be done in Renaissance Crewel Wool, Elizabethan Range,


Now – I haven’t come up with a better name for the project than “Woolly Flower”.

I’d like to have a competition, just for fun.
If you can think of a cool name for this 1661 piece, add a comment below.

The person who provides the name I like the best will win a plait of 100% finest Australian Merino wool top. This is an absolute joy to do stuffing with – SO much easier to handle than normal wool or artificial filler.

This is a bit of a specialise present – really for the interest of er, people who stuff small things (such as raised work) but I’m a bit short on ‘cool things to give away’ but I couldn’t have a competition with a prize, now, could I?

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New functionality for my blog

I've added in a screenshow. It's got about 150 images in it, and they are supposed to be shown randomly. Random, my foot. This is the standard "Blogger Screenshow Widget". I think I'll go looking for another one that *does* show the images randomly, but meanwhile, this will do.

There is a LOT more functionality yet to be added to my blog, including (hopefully, if my blog builder Clyde can programme it - he should be able to) a Table of Contents for all my projects, initially shown with an image for each project. On selecting a particular project, all posts will be listed, with one image per post so you can see what was being done in the post and select that post if you want to.

I'm also completely separating out my Calligraphy and Illumination work from my Embroidery work. There will be radio button at the top of the blog, the user chooses one of the two subjects and then only posts from that subject will be shown. I still get an awful lot of hits on the Calligraphy and Illumination work in my blog - it's important that the work isn't lost  - but it confuses and complicates the blog to have Projects, Sites etc for both subjects showing at the same time.

There are also a lot of cosmetic changes to come. For fun, here's the new header that I've built in Photoshop :

It will go under the ornate gold bar at the top of the blog.
Not all of the buttons are there yet. This header will replace a lot of the sidebar widgets in my blog. The Project List (table of contents) should be there (hey, where did it go?). From the colours in the header you might get an idea of how I'm shifting the colours of the blog appearance from orange and sepia to sepia, green and maroon. Kind of a Victorian/Grunge look.

Here's my Blog Name :

And instead of those orange squares at the beginning of each post :

I've heard complaints that double column blog layouts are too crowded. I intend to use the left column for lists, and the right for graphics (badges etc).

I've added a link to my Pinterest boards on the right hand side. Pinterest is a virtual pinboard, composed of as many pinboards as you like, usually separated by subject.

My boards are :

* Colour Palettes
* Favourite Embroideries
* Inspiration for Embroidery
* Projects I might do
* Favourite Art
* Jacobean Kits to Consider.

It's very simple to pin something - hit the Pin button in your toolbar and all available images from that webpage will appear and be able to be Pinned to a particular board. Most importantly, Pinterest retains the link back to the source - so it's just a matter of clicking on the picture to go back to it's source.

I love it.

I hope that you enjoy these two collections of piccies. (the screenshow and the Pinterest boards).

There's plenty more to come in my 'new blog' - this is just a very initial first step.....I want the 'perfect' blog where information is accessed easily. All those research posts! - the formal long ones will appear under "Some Writings", the Document of the Day posts will appear under "Have a Cuppa", as well as appearing as posts in my blog when I post them. The table of contents takes care of the Projects that I've made. See - nicely compartmented! :-)

13 November 2011

Crewel Excitement!

Needlework News featured a post today from EGA America. It discusses a series of Jacobean hangings in brief. What excites me about this entry is the closeup photos provided. They are just magnificent!

Inspiration here, folks!
Thankyou, NeedleWork News

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9 November 2011

17th Century Samplers - Article from the V&A

The part I like best, apart from all the interesting information and the pretty images, is the poem :

" In 1688 the following list was published to explain 'The School Mistris Terms Of Art For All Her Ways Of Sowing':'A Samcloth, vulgarly a Sampler
Plat-stitch, or single plat-stitch which is good on one side
Plat-stitch, or double plat-stitch which is alike on both sides
Spanish stitch, true on both sides
Tent-stitch on the finger
Tent-stitch in the tent
Irish stitch - Back-stitch
Fore-stitch - Queens-stitch
Gold-stitch - Satin-stitch
Tent-stitch upon satin
Fern-stitch - Finny-stitch
New-stitch - Chain-stitch
Bread-stitch - Fisher-stitch
Rosemary-stitch - Mow-stitch
Whip-stitch - Cross-stitch
Raised work - Needlework Pearl
Geneva work - Virgins Device
Cut Work - Open cut work
Laid work- Stitch work and through stitch
Lap work - Rock work
Frost work - Net work
Purle work - Tent work
Finger work
All of which are several sorts and manners of works wrought by the needle with silk…'.

........." The clearest exposition of both name and form is to be found in Mary Thomas’s ‘Dictionary of Stitches’, 1934, and in the index she usefully groups stitches according to their function. The great variety of stitches has evolved because each stitch has a particular function."
Lots lots more including technical tid-bits, but I'll let you read it, if you are interested :-)

(gotta have a piccie!)

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2 November 2011

Exciting new Detached Buttonhole Class

From the Essemplaire newsletter :

"We will start a new on line class early next year of a thimble holder, this is a reproduction from the Burrell and will either run for two or three months. Perfect for those of you who want to brush up on their detached buttonhole skills as well as working the feathers on a separate ground and attaching them afterwards. Details to be posted later. "
Oh my - this is one of the things I've always wanted to make! I've seen a couple of versions.
If he only holds a thimble, imagine how tiny weeny some of these feathers are!

Now ... to find out how much it cost. I'm not doing Glittering Gentleman's Nightcap - $ way out of my range, in spite of all the extra stuff I could learn on top of doing the project by doing the course.

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