This page has moved to a new address.

Elmsley Rose

blockquote { font-style:normal; padding:0 32px; line-height:1.6; margin:0 0 .6em 0; } p {margin:0;padding:0}; abbr, acronym { cursor:help; font-style:normal; } code {font:12px monospace;white-space:normal;color:#666;} hr {display:none;} img {border:0;} /* Link styles */ a:link {color:#473624;text-decoration:underline;} a:visited {color:#716E6C;text-decoration:underline;} a:hover {color:#956839;text-decoration:underline;} a:active {color:#956839;} /* Layout ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { #wrap { background-color:#473624; border-left:1px solid #332A24; border-right:1px solid #332A24; width:700px; margin:0 auto; padding:8px; text-align:center; } #main-top { width:700px; height:49px; background:#FFF3DB url("") no-repeat top left; margin:0;padding:0; display:block; } #main-bot { width:700px; height:81px; background:#FFF3DB url("") no-repeat top left; margin:0; padding:0; display:block; } #main-content { width:700px; background:#FFF3DB url("") repeat-y; margin:0; text-align:left; display:block; } } @media handheld { #wrap { width:90%; } #main-top { width:100%; background:#FFF3DB; } #main-bot { width:100%; background:#FFF3DB; } #main-content { width:100%; background:#FFF3DB; } } #inner-wrap { padding:0 50px; } #blog-header { margin-bottom:12px; } #blog-header h1 { margin:0; padding:0 0 6px 0; font-family:italic; font-size:225%; font-weight:normal; color:#612E00; } #blog-header h1 a:link { text-decoration:none; } #blog-header h1 a:visited { text-decoration:none; } #blog-header h1 a:hover { border:0; text-decoration:none; } #blog-header p { margin:0; padding:0; font-family:italic; font-size:94%; line-height:1.5em; } div.clearer { clear:left; line-height:0; height:10px; margin-bottom:12px; _margin-top:-4px; /* IE Windows target */ background:url("") no-repeat bottom left; } @media all { #main { width:430px; float:right; padding:8px 0; margin:0; } #sidebar { width:150px; float:left; padding:8px 0; margin:0; } } @media handheld { #main { width:100%; float:none; } #sidebar { width:100%; float:none; } } #footer { clear:both; background:url("") no-repeat top left; padding-top:10px; _padding-top:6px; /* IE Windows target */ } #footer p { margin:0; padding:0; font-family:italic; font-size:94%; line-height:1.5em; } /* Typography :: Main entry ----------------------------------------------- */ { font-weight:normal; text-transform:uppercase; margin:0; padding:0; font-family:italic; font-size:94%; line-height:1.5em; } .post { margin:8px 0 24px 0; line-height:1.5em; } { font-family:italic; font-weight:normal; font-size:200%; color:#8B0000; margin:0; padding:0; } .post-body p { margin:0 0 .6em 0; font-family: italic; font-size:150%; } .post-footer { color:#211104; font-size:74%; border-top:1px solid #BFB186; padding-top:6px; font-style:italic; } .post ul { margin:0; padding:0; font-family:italic; } .post li { font-family:italic; line-height:1.5em; list-style:none; background:url("") no-repeat 0px .3em; vertical-align:top; padding: 0 0 .6em 17px; margin:0; } /* Typography :: Sidebar ----------------------------------------------- */ h2.sidebar-title { font-weight:normal; font-size:120%; margin:0; padding:0; color:#211104; font-family:italic; } h2.sidebar-title img { margin-bottom:-4px; } #sidebar ul { font-family:italic; font-size:86%; margin:6px 0 12px 0; padding:0; } #sidebar ul li { list-style: none; padding-bottom:6px; margin:0; } #sidebar p { font-family:italic; font-size:86%; margin:0 0 .6em 0; } /* Comments ----------------------------------------------- */ #comments {} #comments h4 { font-weight:normal; font-family:italic; font-size:120%; color:#29303B; margin:0; padding:0; } #comments-block { line-height:1.5em; font-family:italic; } .comment-poster { background:url("") no-repeat 2px .35em; margin:.5em 0 0; padding:0 0 0 20px; font-weight:bold; font-family:italic; } .comment-body { margin:0; padding:0 0 0 20px; font-family:italic; } .comment-body p { font-size:100%; margin:0 0 .2em 0; font-family:italic; } .comment-timestamp { font-family:Verdana, sans-serif; color:#29303B; font-size:74%; margin:0 0 10px; padding:0 0 .75em 20px; } .comment-timestamp a:link { color:#473624; text-decoration:underline; } .comment-timestamp a:visited { color:#716E6C; text-decoration:underline; } .comment-timestamp a:hover { color:#956839; text-decoration:underline; } .comment-timestamp a:active { color:#956839; text-decoration:none; } .deleted-comment { font-style:italic; color:gray; } .comment-link { margin-left:.6em; } /* Profile ----------------------------------------------- */ #profile-container { margin-top:12px; padding-top:12px; height:auto; background:url("") no-repeat top left; } .profile-datablock { margin:0 0 4px 0; } .profile-data { display:inline; margin:0; padding:0 8px 0 0; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; font-size:90%; color:#211104; } .profile-img {display:inline;} .profile-img img { float:left; margin:0 8px 0 0; border:1px solid #A2907D; padding:2px; } .profile-textblock { font-family:Verdana, sans-serif;font-size:86%;margin:0;padding:0; } .profile-link { margin-top:5px; font-family:Verdana,sans-serif; font-size:86%; } /* Post photos ----------------------------------------------- */ { border:1px solid #A2907D; padding:4px; }

Elmsley Rose

25 November 2008

Historical Sampler – Dusty Pink Rose II and Mrs Christie’s Flower II

In the entry

I talked about how I was moving house at Christmas and that this would tire me out for a few months, since I have a neurological disease. I then talked about motifs that were easy to stitch, to ease myself back into the Sampler after that. Those motifs included doing the layers for the detached Dusty Pink Rose.

Well, plans change, (my new housemate has continuing work commitments) and the move has been delayed until May/June.

Meanwhile, I had a cold this week, so did some relatively brainless work on the first detached layer of the Dusty Pink Rose.

The Dusty Pink Rose

Here’s the first layer, finished down in the middle as far as the cordonette.


I found that the darkest and mid colours of pink were SO similiar that I just used them interchangeably. The different is visible if you look carefully. I wasn’t getting a shaded effect so I thought I’d go for a random affect (assuming it was even spotted)

While I was working the layer, I thought

“well, if it doesn’t quite come to the centre, I can stretch the detached buttonholing a bit to make it fit”.

Some of the length of the cordonette into the middle of the petals seemed to disappear as I buttonholed. Getting pulled into the petal shape itself I guess, rather than downward.

When I’d finished, I saw that the centre was just too large and I needed to do some punto in aria (buttonholing ‘in the air’).

I went around and around the middle a few times in the lightest pink, in Detached Buttonhole without Return (since there wasn’t anything to attach the returns to) and ended up with this :


That fits the base much more nicely.

I got the corners a bit rounder (the centre was quite rectangular) by skipping stitches at each ‘rectangle edge’ and pulling the next stitch tight to pull the rectangle edges together.

Looking at the middle right petal (the last one done) and the one counterclockwise to it (the first one done) it can be seen how much my detached buttonholing has improved. The tension is far more even and it looks far smoother.

The next step is to outline the edges of the petal (the cordonette) with cake wire, in buttonhole stitch (a’la Jane Nichols) in thread to match. – and then I’ll be finished with this layer and only have two (smaller) ones to do.

Mrs Christie’s Flower

I then finished the laid work circles, using Jap Gold and red oxide DMC thread.

I ‘sewed’ with the Jap, which wasn’t a very good idea. The thread stripped an awful lot but it beyond my patience to plunge at the beginning and end of every thread length!


I then cut a felt circle a bit bigger than the centre. (About 2mm)

I stitched closely in straight stitches about 1 mm wide two thirds of the way around the edges then started stuffing it with wool.

Mrs Margaret Barrett and Ms Paula Hewitt have been kind enough to supply me with wool to use in these cases – thankyou both!

Here, it’s stuffed, with the extra protruding out.


I managed to de-stuff the centre when cutting off the excess. – so you can see the amount of wool necessary to stuff the centre


Having stuffed it back in again, I discovered that there was too much felt. You can see the excess poking up. I needed to cut straight across the remaining unfastened felt to decrease it a bit.

I then closed the gap with stitches.


And a lovely smooth bulgey centre it is!


The issue next was how to do a base cover over the felt without flattening the centre by putting too much tension on it.

I don’t know if there is an accepted way to do this, but what I did was a ridge of straight stitches across the top of the centre first. Then I stitched, picking up from a centre stitch down to the outside of the circle.

The photo shows the ‘top’ side done, and part of the ‘bottom’ side.

I used the red oxide again to help bring out it’s use in couching the Jap.

Next, I’m going to add 2mm plate in a cross over pattern over the top of that base. Finally, I plan to add a circle of Pearl Purl around the base of the centre. Fiddly, what.

I don’t think that the actual flower needs to be outlined. I think the flower would be overpowered by outlining.

Labels: , ,

20 November 2008

Historical Sampler – Mrs Christie’s Flower



Fig. 92 shows a flower carried out in laid work. The tying-down threads can often be made use of in one way or another to further decorate, or to explain form, by means of contrasting colour, change in direction, and so on.

The laid stitches in this flower are taken from the centre outwards and fixed in place by couched circular lines of thread.

The centre of the flower has a geometrical filling, composed of a couched lattice pattern with French knots between.”

- “Embroidery and Tapestry Weaving”, Mrs A.G. Christie



My camera is playing up atm, but here’s the base, laid in split stitches.

Yes, that mis-placement of the main part of the vine joining to the flower is really annoying me, but I can’t fix the pen line.

I’ve started the couching in Jap gold, using oxide red as the couching thread.

At first, I was going to use Double Chain Stitch, suggested in Jane Zimmerman’s book as a filling for petals

for example


Double chainstitch, from “Samplers and Stitches”, also by Mrs Christie.

I learn it from Mary Corbet’s instructions at

but it occured to me that I had no guidelines to keep my chain stitches in line – not even the canvas itself since I’d laid down a layer of split stitches as a base.

Then I had a go in Ladder Stitch. I thought it’d look nice done in a contrasting colour, with the edges of the Ladder Stitch at the edges of the petals.

But Ladder Stitch just wasn’t happening for me that day. So I ended up doing what Mrs Christie suggested  - circles of laid thread, using the oxide red contrasting couching thread (“tying down stitches”).

I don’t know what I’m going to do in the centre – but it will involve goldwork.

Labels: , ,

15 November 2008

Historical Sampler – The final Strawberry and Mixed Purl Leaves

First – the last strawberry.

I was going to do it in Trellis Stitch, but knew I’d go through hell trying to do the wraps, as I explained in my last post.

So – sweet and simple – Vandyke Stitch sepals, Satin Stitch fruit and a Pearl Purl outline :


Now …. onto something that I was scared of, but found was actually quite easy, if a bit fiddly.

I wanted to do a couple of leaves using two different kinds of Purl laid together – I just love the images I’ve seen of it done (Tanya Berlin has a lot on her site, linked from her Purl supplies)

First – the felt :


I was working from Country Bumpkin’s A-Z of Gold Embroidery (that wonderful book!) and it showed 3 layers of felt in the construction of these leaves.

I only did one layer. These leaves would stand out enough with all this gold, without making them really high.

The first leaf was Smooth Purl and Pearl Purl, used alternately.

My choice was dictated in part by what Purls I had. Mary Corbet very very kindly sent me a sampler of various Purls, and these are what I was using for this.



The second leaf (the bottom one) was in Bright Check Purl and Pearl Purl.

I wasn’t certain the combination worked at first, but I do like the look of it.



If you look at the edges, you can see that they aren’t perfect.

Perfection would be

: cutting the lengths so they are perfectly staggered

: cutting the right place on the purl itself, so you don’t have a bit sticking up towards you and deflecting/reflecting light differently.  With pearl purl – to have the coil turning downwards at the cut point, so it looks neat.

and also, of course, cutting the purl to the correct length.

The book says to cut the lengths all at once at the beginning but I found it easier to cut them as I went along. I just didn’t think I could cope with multiple small/tiny lengths floating around the place.

I did find the Cutting Mat from Tanya Berlin very useful when doing the cutting. It makes the purl stay in place.

I did throw my Smooth Purl down on the quilt in front of me at one point – and ruined most of it.

It caught at several places to the quilt, and stretched out as I tried to remove it.

I tried using a not-too-badly stretched part, but then it stretched out further when my needle and thread was inserted through the middle of it.

The purl should definitely live on the Berlin Cutting Mat unless in hand or in it’s bag. Next time I use Purl I think I’ll cut it into 5” lengths first. Better to have a miscellaneous piece at the end than catch the end of a long piece somewhere (and it does catch easily!) and ruin heaps of it.

The killer quilt :


Here’s the sampler so far :


It only took me about 3 hours to do the two leaves, which is probably very slow. I was surprised at how little time it took.

The placement of the two butterflies, outlined in Royal Blue but on opposite sides of the sampler, can be seen here too.

Labels: , ,

13 November 2008

Historical Butterfly – Another Butterfly II


I did not have fun with Trellis Stitch. It was just horrible to do.

Not how to do the stitch itself – but that because the butterfly is between the Dusty Pink Rose base, and the strawberries, and I kept bumping into them with my needle.

With Trellis Stitch you need your needle horizontal in order to make clockwise or anti-clockwise wraps around it, so there was lots of bumping.

I tried holding my needle up in the air and do it, but then I got myself in a mess with the thread. IT really is a lot easier to do if you do the wrap just as the needle emerges from the ground.

I don’t think I’ve done a very good job – I think it’s more a ‘matt of knots’  than actual Trellis Stitch.

I had planned to do the last strawberry in that stitch, but haven’t, since I would have had the same problem even worse. (I’ll post on that as soon as I’ve put it’s Pearl Purl on).

I’ll have to try the stitch again when I have more room to maneuvere.

The butterfly looks good with it’s Royal Blue outline, which picks up the other butterfly I just did, which also had it’s wings outlined in Royal Blue – across the other side of the sampler.

I padded the body with felt, and did split stitch on those coloured parts. The outline is in two threads, also in split stitch.

Labels: , ,

Historical Sampler – General Stitches in Period, and Colonial vs French Knots in Particular

I was interested in trying Colonial Knots for the spots on my butterfly wings because 'it makes a higher knot'* than the French Knot and I wanted my spots to sit up and be well visible.

* "The Embroiderer’s Handbook”, Margie Bauer (Country Bumpkin) pg 47

But I needed to know if Colonial knots were used in 16th/17th C European embroidery, in order to be technically correct in my sampler.

I found this reference to Colonial Knots,M1
(Needlework Through History – An Encyclopaedia, by Catherine Leslie)

So - originally used in Candlewicking, "most popular between 1790 and 1845". That's way too late.

I assume it's made it's way across into various dimensional embroidery styles since then, since it's *now* used fairly interchangeably with the French Knot. (but still not technically correct for our period.)

It’s also called the "Figure 8" knot.

Tutorials :
Words and diagram :
Video :


These are the documents I have on stitches used in period :

then to


(which has the stitch list from Digby)

I didn’t look into these for Colonial Knots initially – sometimes it’s more fun (and sometimes more informative) to take a broader path *grin*

but I have looked into them now, especially with a view to *any* other knots listed in period.

There were none. Just French Knots. So that’s what my butterfly got.


Labels: , ,

6 November 2008

Historical Sampler – Another Butterfly

This butterfly is from


Mary Corbet ventured a cautious opinion that it may have been done in trellis stitch, in the Plymouth style, but can’t see it in enough detail.

I’m doing it in trellis stitch anyway, since that’s the stitch I want to work with atm.

Note the hole where one of the spots on the wings has come out.

Somewhere (and I wish I could remember where), I read that such spots were sometimes done on a seperate piece of ground then carefully cut out and attached, and then stitched around. Given the deep whole remaining, it looks like this method was used here.

My butterfly is too small to do this with. I was all set to do it, but common sense prevailed. I’ll just do large French Knots.

Here he is, shown at about twice real size :


The wing shape is a bit different of course. They will start looking a lot more similar once the dark blue edging is put in. (I’ll do that in split stitch with several threads)

I did choose muddier colours than in the original. The Elizabethans used a lot of muddy (sallow) colours. I thought I’d show a representation of them here, in amongst all  the bright colours.

I’ve actually done a study on the colours used by the Elizabethans, and it’ll show up here in the blog once it gets some graphics processing done on it.

I was tossing up whether to do the body in gold in Ceylon stitch or follow the original image. I’ve decided to follow the original image, with it’s small sections of colours.

My trellis stitching is pretty terrible – I’ll get better as I go along.

I use my doodle cloth to learn a stitch, but not to practise it. I don’t mind if the stitching in my sampler shows a progression of skill as I go along – I am a beginner, and it’s whole point is to teach me the stitches. I’m not very good at doing 'boring’ practice, anyway.

Here’s the whole sampler again – a bit less fuzzy, but still with light reflection off the gold.

I tried sticking it in my scanner, but it wouldn’t fit.


Labels: , ,

Historical Sampler – A Rose and Two Buds : Detached Buttonhole with Metal Return

I re-did the bud of “A Rose and Two Buds”



(The pic is a bit fuzzy)

This time I only used one thread of YLI, in contrast to the strawberry with metal return, where I used two :


It is (just) visible in the calyx of the bud that longer stretches of the gold passing are visible. The two objects are about the same size. About twice as much gold is visible (funnily enough).

I’m definitely not happy with YLI silk. It has a fuzzy appearance – maybe wear from passing over the gold passing – but I’ve noticed that it has this appearance in general.

That’s what you get for getting cheap silk.

Labels: , ,