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Elmsley Rose

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Elmsley Rose

30 July 2008

Historical Sampler – Two Roses and a Bird


I sized and printed the motifs I want in the largest circles in the middle of the piece

- two roses, and a bird.

Edit : Both designs are shown in Fashion in Detail, 17th-18th C

The bird also appears in the Victoria and Albert museum collection

Date 1600-1625

Techniques : Leather and satin, embroidered with silk and metal thread, edged with silver-gilt bobbin lace and spangles

Museum number: T.42&A-1954

The roses are 6cm in diameter, (2 inches and a bit) and the bird is 6x7 cm.

Here's the rose in detail :-

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28 July 2008

Bunch of Poppies – First Blue Poppy



I’m appreciating using a scroll frame rather than a hoop. I had tension problems on the linen when I did Rust Red Iris on the hoop.

The placing stitches are on the rightmost petal of the blue poppy, ready for the rest to go in.

I find putting placement stitches down first a huge help in guiding me as I do a shape.

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27 July 2008

Historical Sampler - Bird

I’d like to do a bird on my sampler, but there’s not a lot of room for one. To place one sitting on top of one of the scrolling vines (where they normally go) – well, it’d have to be a really small bird!

The other option is to do one in the middle of the design, instead of a medium sized flower.

design_ready_to_trace copy

This is the bird I’d like to do :-


As you can see, he involves a few different techniques of goldwork.

I’d give him a wavy line of vine to sit on, rather than the straight line that is there now. This is also a way to make more room for him between those bulges of the scrolling vine.

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26 July 2008

Document of the Day

I just adore the long and short stitch, and goldwork designs in this -

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25 July 2008

Historical Sampler – Company for the Motifs

scrolling_and_detached copy

The photograph above shows the kind of design I want to do.

Unfortunately, it’s a terrible photograph. It could be seen marginally better if clicked upon for a larger image.

It’s from the Batsford Book of Canvas, Mary Rhodes –

"Panel embroidery of the late sixteenth century.

This panel … is worked on linen canvas in tent stitch with couched threads and some raised work.

Victoria and Albert Museum."

It actually has at least detached motif. There’s that flower on the left hand side, about half way down, unless I'm mistaken.

The Elizabethans did raised work. That is, they stuffed some motifs (eg leaves) with cotton, wool, string or hair.

It wasn’t until the 17th C that stumpwork, with detached leaves and flower petals, (usually done in a buttonhole stitch) commenced.

This is a late 16C piece that seems to combine the two.

In the same way, my sampler will be a mixture of the 2 centuries – containing a scrollwork framework (very typical of the 16thC), some raised work (16thC) and some of the detached work typical of stumpwork (17thC)

The panel contains canvas work, which I won't be doing.


I've been thinking about the motifs.

In 16thC scrolling vine designs, a flower usually doesn't sit alone within it's own 'circle of the scroll'.

It has with it leaves, maybe buds, a second flower (maybe partially opened) or the relevant fruit with it. (I'm thinking here in terms of fruit of pea flowers and pea pods).

The 17thC stumpwork was usually some kind of scene, usually containing a sun and clouds, people, maybe a building, and flowers and animals on the same scale (ie disproportionately large).

In collecting the designs for these 17thC motifs from places on-line like the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, I've got the motifs, but nothing to surround them when I place them in within the scrollwork. The flowers in the stumpwork pieces often appear on a single stem with a leaf or two.

So I'm turning to Pattern Books and extant pieces of embroidery that are of similiar scrollwork design to find some company for them.

This is my best source :


from the Catalogue of English Embroidery by John Nevinson, Plate XI. (again, the larger image is clearer, but unfortunately not by much. The bits at the edges are more visible that in the interior)

Edit : The picture is also shown in "The Embroiderer's Flowers" by Thomasina Beck, page 64
It can also be seen far more clearly at

There are heaps of scrollwork pieces but they often have just leaves as company. This piece has lots of interesting additions.

Other sources are



Embroidery Pattern book, early to mid 17th century, English. V&A museum, London

  • and any other suitable extant embroideries that I can find.

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22 July 2008

Bunch of Poppies – Red and Purple Poppies Finished!


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20 July 2008

Website of the Day

Ruth O’Leary’s Textile Art and Embroidery



Also, check out the dodecahedrons for more 3 dimensional goldwork

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16 July 2008

Learning Silk Shading/Long and Short Stitch/NeedlePainting

I was reading a book a couple of days ago, and noticed something funny. I compared it to my other books.

It's about embroidering the second and consecutive lines in Long and Short stitch.

The first line is staggered to two lengths - that's a given.

"(on the second and consecutive rows) you need to remember to stagger the length of the stitches at both ends"

- "Beginner's Guide to Silk Shading" by Clare Hanham

"Although these stitches (on the second and consecutive rows) are worked in long stitch only, vary their lengths slightly to give a soft uneven line, not a straight one"

- "Redoubte's Finest Flowers in Embroidery" by Trish Burr

- "Beginner's Guide to Goldwork" by Ruth Chamberlain
(I put in the whole paragraph because I couldn't find a single brief statement)

So it looks like those rows can be done in different ways.

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Historical Sampler – Design Ready to Trace



Here it is – with all the extras removed, leaving the basic design I’ll be working from :-)

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14 July 2008

Bunch of Poppies - Red Poppy


I ended up taking out all of the stitching and re-doing it.

I’m very pleased with the result. The large lower petal is still a bit V shaped at it’s apex, but oh well. I’m not doing it again.

I’ve even put in the chain stitching over the edge of the petals that require it.

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12 July 2008

Historical Sampler – The Design

I was looking at having either one or two repeats of the original design.

One repeat – the motifs came out a bit too big.

Two repeats joined together – didn’t leave me much space between the vines to put in leaves (unless I wanted to use tiny rose leaves like in the original design, which I don’t)

So I compromised.

I laid one repeat over the top of the other and did a join, missing out what would have been the middle and then sized it to the scoll frame (with 3 cm borders all around).

This took quite a lot of work, since the original image was slightly side on (so the book spine could be seen) so I started with 1/4 of one repeat, replicated, flipped it 3 ways, joined it together, scanned and printed another copy, matched up the join, took a photo of it (since by then it wouldn’t fit on my scanner) and then re-sized it. It took me awhile to get the process right and I currently have a lot of copies of the design at various sizes and configurations floating around *grin*


Next thing to do is to correct the flowers (circles) that have gone a bit ovoid during the joining of the quarters, so I can see how they really sit in the framework of vines.

(I don’t think I’ll actually trace the circles onto the linen.)

Also, some of the vine connections need a touch of adjusting – I need it perfect before I trace it off onto the linen.

I made an order from ThreadNeedle St, including

29-30 Count Legacy Linen
Fat Quarter                                                                                                                   and am currently working on a huge list of the supplies I’ll need, and whether to get them in Australia or import them from the U.S., based on price.

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6 July 2008

Bunch of Poppies – Starting a Red Poppy



I’ve started on a poppy – to give me a break before finishing/fixing the leaves. (on the left there)

The photo shows the 3-Dness of the felt padding really well.

There isn’t any thread padding to be seen – I’ve already embroidered over it.

I found, embroidering on the felt

  • I needed to use a definite 90 degree stab method, otherwise the felt ‘pushed’ itself to bulk up to the unembroidered part
  • It needed a little haircut after I’d done each layer, as working with it made it a bit fuzzy, and I didn’t want bright red fuzzy bits sticking up through the stitches.

I’ve made two mistakes.

  • The first – the left most circle.

With the folding over petal and the dark part that shows of the inner fold  - the topmost *point* of the fold-over needs to meet up with the topmost part of the inner fold

  • The circle further down and to the right

I've mucked up the stitch direction on the upper part of the petal. It should have been vertical, not leaning into the centre.

It's given me a 'V" shape in the colouring of the petal.

(there was some kind of brain disconnect between me looking at the photo in the book, which shows stitch direction and me actually doing it. Blame it on the TV programme I was watching at the time. I'm not worried by the mistakes - it's all in the learning :-)

I think that I can fix it by taking out the bottom of the V by adding some more of the medium colour there.

If that doesn't work, I'll have to re-do it.

Or I might just re-do it anyway - taking out the existing stitches, or it'll be way too bulky.

  • I also think that the other darkest part (at the top left of the poppy, next to the inner fold-over) needs a few strokes of medium red. (It has the shape of a long ovoid, outside another another long ovoid (petal) that is colour blended, although it doesn't show up very well in the photo)

At the moment it doesn't look very separate to the inner fold-over, apart from the change in the stitch direction of the two, and its like "what is it, what's it doing there?"

It needs to be clearer that it's a petal in it's own right, that's really dark because it's right at the back. Just a few stitches of the medium red, that's all.

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3 July 2008

Bunch of Poppies - Padding

There are two types of padding used in this needlepainting -

felt, cut to be 1mm smaller than the petal to be padded,

and two layers of stitching.

The layers of stitching are done at angles diagonal to the direction of actual embroidering.




You can’t really see the dimensionality, although I did try to capture it with the camera by taking the pictures with the canvas at an angle.

Doing the felt was a lot easier that I thought.

I found Mary Corbet’s recent comments on directional satin stitching from her blog in her recent posts about monograms to be of help when doing the thread padding.

I found that putting down threads every couple of mm to act as guidelines was a great help too.

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