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Elmsley Rose

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Elmsley Rose

25 January 2009

Double Detached Buttonhole Leaves

Double Detached Buttonhole is simple. On each loop, you do two knots, instead of one. You get what appears to be more of a spacing between each ‘set’ of knots.
The best part of the leaves above is the dark olive green on the left leaf. The outmost light olive green is a bit of a mess – I was working right up against the frame and had a bit of difficulty. I did it twice, with no better results.
The picture is a bit fuzzy – you can’t see the pattern you get across the rows formed by the ridges of knots very well.
The leaf on the left is Double Detached Buttonhole (with no Return)
The leaf on the right is Double Detached Buttonhole with Metal Return (which covers Double Detached Buttonhole with Return as a stitch to be completed).

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24 January 2009

Pearl Rose II and Detached Buttonhole without Return Leaf

Here’s the Pearl Rose with
- spiderweb stitch in the centre in Passing thread
- detached buttonhole with return in 3 shades of pink
- pearls for the sepals
- the foldovers done in Lurex satin stitch, outlined in Pearl Purl.
The outlining in Pearl Purl made a huge different to the foldovers. Much neater, and has really made the Lurex look good. I wish I had before and after photos.
Also, the pearl “flower” of 5 pearls that I showed as an original in
and some ‘buds’ – pearls outlined in milliary wire.
They need stems to attach them to the vine (I will do most of the stems on the piece in one big effort once I start doing the main vine)
I still have to do two more, below the lowest ‘bud’,  which are simple loops of pearl pearl with a line of pearl purl down the centre.
The idea for the buds with a milliary wire outline (although she used bullion) and using pearls as sepals came from Madonna Contessa Ilaria Veltri degli Ansari’s Embroidered Elizabethan Gloves, shown at
When I did my list of Elizabethan stitches, it occurred to me that I’d never done simple Detached Buttonhole WITHOUT Return.
So I did the leaf in DMC in order to tick off that stitch.
It’s vein is in Twisted Chain Stitch, done at an angle – if you look at it at ground level you can see it’s Twisted Chain Stitch but from above it looks a bit lengthened and strange. I’m not sure that I did it properly.
I showed the original of this leaf in
- with the pink to match the pink of the rose, and ‘variegated thread’ – two differently coloured threads together. That section stands out a bit of course, because it’s thread is twice as thick.
Now, this is the reason why I should never leave my sampler in it’s “resting place” on my couch facing *forwards* even for a minute :
I swear I’m going to have to roll a Pet Fur roller over the piece eventually – I’m forever picking off cat hairs. This is Jasper, btw. He seems to have a real affection for cuddling up to the sampler. (and this is my ‘embroidery corner’ :-)
I’m currently working on some Double Detached Buttonhole Leaves. I’ll show them once I have one completed, and show pictures of
Detached Buttonhole without Return,
Detached Buttonhole with Return and
Double Detached Buttonhole without Return
leaves that I’ve done.
After that are two leaves with Double Detached Buttonhole on Metal Return. (This is those 3 leaves left standing undone on the top left of the sampler –a real nuisance working right up against the edge of the frame at the points)

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14 January 2009

Jane Zimmerman’s “Art of Elizabethan Embroidery” Sampler and more….

In my post on Elizabethan Stitches, Jane Zimmerman’s name came up an awful lot.

I value Ms Zimmerman as an embroiderer that has been teaching for 40 years, and, as her career winds down, is continuing to provide information to the Elizabethan, Blackwork and Canvas embroiderer via her new website.

I reviewed her book “Art of Elizabethan Embroidery” at

This is available from her site at

It states on the website that she won’t ship overseas, but (being an OS customer) I asked her about this, and she said that she is willing to ship her books overseas as long as the customer is willing to pay the postage.

“Art of Elizabethan Embroidery” has a colour page showing a completed sampler.

Elizabethan Panel

Parts of this sampler are then used through out the book as black and white illustrations.

The instructions for the full chart were available from her site recently as a 6 day Christmas special but she has decided to make it available in the longer term (information about the sampler is not currently on her website). Edit 17/1 - the chartpak is now available on her website, under "Instruction Kits"

Her description of the sampler is

“My personal “piece de resistance” of teaching projects is available as a chartpak for the first time – and a very special chartpak. All 25 images used in the instruction booklet are now in full color!

In was during the second half of the 16th Century that Tudor needlework “burst into flower”. Barbara Snook, English needlework teacher and author, wrote that it was during Elizabethan England that garden and country flowers…appeared on coifs and bodices, on tunics and skirts, on collars and dresses, on men’s indoor hats and upon gloves. They flowed over bedspreads and long pillow covers and over cushions, not in any riotous abandon, but with great vigour and variety in treatment, exquisite treatment and sensitive drawing….I have always been fascinated by Elizabethan embroidery history, this whimsical design of 16th century domestic linen work being a culmination of years of study.

The project is executed on closeweave linen in polychrome silk floss and gold metal threads and paillettes, using 20 surface embroidery stitch variations and techniques, some obsolete for over 300 years. The stitches include the elusive plaited braid stitch in addition to open Ceylon, heavy chain and many variations of detached buttonhole.”

$45 + $5 S&H

You can contact Jane re the chartpak at

as it is only available at special request, not generally through her website.

This is an opportunity to do Metal Thread Double Detached Buttonhole on Silk Thread, or one of the other variations of Detached Buttonhole that I mention as listed by Ms Zimmerman in my Ellizabethan Stitches post and my book review post under instruction. And also to see the individual elements in better detail, being in colour in the chartpak.

Ms Zimmerman does ask her customers to note that she is not often at the post office so it may take some weeks to receive an order.


I have recently bought one of her 3-in-1 CDs – 3 books in one.

- The Art of English Blackwork

- The Greater Tudor Era 1585-1625

- The Art of Stumpwork

These are described in greater detail at

The individual books have sold out but you can still get them as the 3in1 while stocks remain.

I’m looking forward to them eagerly. You can zoom in 300%!


I can’t finish my look at what Ms Zimmerman offers regarding Elizabethan education without mentioning the educational material she offers on her site.

Under “Stitches and Techniques” she is regularly adding information on Needlework Techniques .

She already has two papers on Or Nue, which I found very informative and I’m looking forward to :

CHAPTER 3 - The Traditional Techniques of Metal Thread Embroidery, Part I
General - Handling Japanese Metal, Smooth Passing and Fine Braid
CHAPTER 4 - The Traditional Techniques of Metal Thead Embroidery, Part II
Solid Filling with Japanese Metal, Smooth Passing and Fine Braid
CHAPTER 5 - The Traditional Techniques of Metal Thread Emboidery, Part III
Novelty Solid Filling with Japanese Metal, Smooth Passing and Fine Braid
CHAPTER 6 - The Traditional Techniques of Metal Thread Embroidery, Part IV
General - Handling Twist, Crinkle, Purl and Plate
CHAPTER 7 - The Traditional Techniques of Metal Thread Embroidery, Part V
General - Techniques of Raised Work

and also Needle Stitch Variations (which is on canvas work – her other big interest, although I don’t know a thing about it.)


she has

(1) The Medieval Embroidery Technique of Or Nuè
(2) English Medieval Embroidery
(3) The Art of English Blackwork
(4) Elizabethan Era, Part One
(5) Elizabethan Era, Part Two (Costume)
(6) Elizabethan Era, Part Three (Household Furnishing)
(7) The Art of English Canvas Embroidery
(8) The Art of Stumpwork
(9) The Golden Age of Samplers
(10) 18th Century English Embroidery
(11) Eastern Embroidery

The underlined papers are the ones that are currently available.

All of these papers are in PDF format, for free.


There’s more on the site, including cyberclasses - but you can look yourself, – her home page is


(Picture from her instruction kit)

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10 January 2009

Elizabethan Stitches

I want to try as many Elizabethan stitches as possible on my Historical Sampler. (I don’t know if I’ll end up being able to do them all, In fact, I very much doubt it! :-)

I thought I’d list out all the Elizabethan stitches I know of, and show links in my blog to where I’ve used them in my sampler.

I’ll add in a link to the appropriate blog post/s as I use each stitch.

RSS feeders will get an update each time I re-publish. I hope that’s not too annoying.

I could just list the stitches and tick them off as I go, but I thought pointing more directly to useful tidbits I’ve come across on each stitch would be helpful. This project is going to end up with an awful lot of entries, and I’m going to get lost in what I’ve written and forget what I’ve discovered.

My sources for the stitches are

  • “Elizabethan Embroidery” by George Wingfield Digby

(source :

  • “Guide to English Embroidery in the Victoria and Albert Museum” by Patricia Wardle

(source :

  • “The Art of Elizabethan Embroidery” by Jane Zimmerman
  • The Plimouth Embroiderer’s Diary

  • “Three Raised Stitches in Elizabethan Embroideries” by Sabrina de la Bere

  • "16th Century Samplers" by Carol Hanson/Caryl de Trecesson

  • “Embroidery Stitches found in Period” by Mistress Octavia Jenon de Treves, OP and added to by Mistress Catherine Lorraine, OL OP.

from which I’ve used

Table 1 : A Pictorial History of Embroidery by Marie Schuette & Sigrid Muller-Christensen

Table 6 - English Medieval Embroidery by A. G. I. Christie

Table 7 - Batsford Book of Canvas Work by Mary Rhodes

Tables 3 and 4 are repeats of the Digby and Wardle lists that appear in the Grimfells PDF with two exceptions. Two extra stitches are listed under Wardle in the Treves document. Their source is listed as Wardle (Treves).

The opposite situation occurs with another Wardle stitch between the two lists.


I’ve left out the

canvas stitches, blackwork, whitework, applique, beading, pattern darning, eyelets and cord stitch, hemming stitches,

from my list. (and my project)

I’ve linked to entries that provide some tidbit of information about a stitch, not all of the entries that mention the stitch in passing

Stitch Source Link
Back Dig, Ward, Zim, Hanson used as an outline wherever Trellis stitch is used
French Knots Dig, Ward, Zim, Hanson, Christie

Chain Dig, Ward, Zim, Hanson, Schuette et al, Rhodes
Reverse Chain (line) Zim,
generally used as an outline for any type of detached buttonhole work (as per Plimouth recommendation)
Reverse Chain (filling) Zim
Twisted Chain Zim  
Heavy Chain Zim
Laced Chain Zim  
Double Chain (line) Zim  
Double Chain (filling) Zim

Square Double Chain Wardle (Treves),
Note : Square Chain is also known as Open Chain or Ladder Stitch (different to the Ceylon type Ladder Stitch)

ref :

but can’t find anything for Square DOUBLE Chain
Braid Ward, Zim, Hanson
Buttonhole Dig,Ward, Zim, Hanson

To be clear about this stitch, which has some debate about it’s name, I’m using which is referred to as the relevant diagram in the Surface Embroidery Stitch list at
Plaited Braid Dig, Ward, Zim, Plimouth, Hanson
Coral Dig, Zim, Hanson
Long and Short (Needlepainting) Dig, Ward (Grimfells), Schuette et al, Hanson

Stem (Crewel) Dig, Ward, Zim, Schuette et al, Christie, Hanson  
Split Schuette et al, Christie, Rhodes, Hanson
Speckling Dig, Ward, Hanson  
Satin Dig, Ward, Zim, Hanson, Schuette et al, Christie
Ladder (line) Dig, Zim, Hanson  
Ladder (filling) Zim  
Herringbone (Plait) Stitch Dig, Schuette et al, Hanson  
Interlaced Herringbone Zim  
Fishbone Hanson  
Feather Schuette et al, Christie  
Outline Zim
Overcast Zim
Oriental (Romanian) Stitch Digby, Hanson  
Ceylon (line) Zim, Plimouth
Ceylon (filling) Zim  
Double Ceylon Zim  
Open Ceylon - Overcast Zim  
Open Ceylon - Woven Zim  
Open Ceylon - Threaded Zim  
Vandyke (line) Zim
Vandyke (filling) Zim  
Loop (line) Zim, Hanson  
Loop (filling) Zim  
Loop Variation 2 Zim  
Threaded Double Back (Threaded Dot Stitch) Zim  
Detached Buttonhole Dig, Zim, Plimouth, de la Bere, Hanson
Detached Buttonhole with Straight Return Zim, Plimouth, de la Bere
Detached Buttonhole on Metal Thread Foundation Zim  
Metal Thread Detached Buttonhole on Silk Thread Foundation Zim  
Knotted Detached Buttonhole Zim  
Up-and-Down Detached Buttonhole Zim  
Up-and-Down Detached Buttonhole with Straight Return Zim  
Up-and-Down Detached Buttonhole on Metal Thread Foundation Zim  
Metal Thread Up-and-Down Detached Buttonhole on Silk Thread Foundation Zim  
Double Detached Buttonhole Zim  
Double Detached Buttonhole with Straight Return Zim
Double Detached Buttonhole on Metal Thread Foundation Zim
Metal Thread Double Detached Buttonhole on Silk Thread Foundation Zim  
Raised Effects with Detached Buttonhole (worked on needlelace pad) Zim, de la Bere  
Semi Detached Detached Buttonhole with Straight Return (with buttonhole bar) Zim, Plimouth, de la Bere  
Trellis Stitch Zim, Plimouth, de la Bere  
Spiral Trellis Zim, Plimouth  
Woven Web Stitch Zim  
Surface Darning Stitch Dig, Zim
(called “Braid Stitch” in this entry)
Bullion Stitch Zim, Hanson  
Hollie Point de la Bere

(debated for use in the 17thC)
Arrowhead Stitch Hanson ref:
Wirework Hanson  
Sequins Hanson
Goldwork Hanson  
Raised work Hanson
Laid work    
Laid and Couched Work Wardle, Treves, Hanson,

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5 January 2009

Historical Sampler – SnowDrop IV; and Pearls and Roses I

Um, there has been a slight accident involving a cat, a glass of cordial and my camera power pack.

Until some batteries arrive, I shall be photograph-less. I’ve done my best to provide lots of pretty pictures all the same.

I've finished the snowdrop. :-)

It's outlined in silver passing, has a red centre in satin stitch, then 5 lines of Lurex over the red meeting at the centre.


The next section I’m working on is shown below.


It is largely inspired by Madonna Contessa Ilaria Veltri degli Ansari’s Embroidered Elizabethan Gloves, shown at

Here’s a close-up of the relevant bit:


I’m using the idea of

  • pearls for sepals for the rose
  • pearls inside looped Purl (she used Bullion) for the buds.

Looping purl is described in A-Z of Goldwork by Country Bumpkin. (page 95)

My rose looks more like a classic Tudor Rose. The picture below shows a double rose (two layers of petals) whereas I’m doing a single (DogRose).


(page 43, The Embroiderer’s Flowers, Thomasina Beck)

Here’s one done in goldwork, from Goldwork Embroidery by Mary Brown (page 25)


(spider web stitches form the second layer of petals in this one)

I know I’ve seen DogRosees done in thread for the main part of the petals, and then the ‘foldover’ at the edges done in purl, but I can’t find any pictures. They are hiding from me.

My design plan for my Rose is :


I’m up to the final step – adding the purl pearl around the edges of each overlap.

The petals were done in three shades of pink.

I made a false start with the buttonholing. I needed to start from the middle – it’s a little hard to buttonhole from a curved edge and be decreasing stitches. Not impossible – but certainly simpler to start from the other end.

I found that when I reached the curved edge that I didn’t necessarily need a Return thread for my buttonholing – it sometimes stretched over the inner curve of the overlap on some petals, so I just did Detached Buttonhole (no Return).

I had some adventures with deciding what to cover the overlaps with.

  • I first tried Rough Purl laid vertically to the petals. However, I’d still be there until next Christmas adding purl lengths if I kept doing that. From memory, this is how it is usually done, and I can only admire the embroiderers that have the patience. I would have needed at least 10 lengths per overlap. At least 50 lengths to cut and place? Ouch.
  • I tried doing Pearl Purl following around each overlap, to follow the curve of the flower – but it just looked wrong because I’ve never seen one done like that.
  • I tried using Broad Plate, with the idea of bending the edges into the curved shape of the overlap, but I couldn’t get the end of the Plate to secure itself (I’ve had this problem before) so I gave up on that idea.

I ended up using Lurex in straight stitch, and it looks fine.

Adding the Pearl Purl to edge the overlap is giving it a good finished and well defined look.


I will also do some buds, of pearl purl with pearls in the middle as Ilaria did.

Also as part of the design, I’m going to feature a similiar flower :


This link leads to the home page of Historical Needlework Resources, 16th C. I’ve had a look through most of the links and can’t find where this image specifically came from.

Edit 25th Feb : This is the Italian States/NeedleCase/Venice/More Detail. The original image is

That looks like more Pearl Purl, as far as I can tell.


I have a couple of comments to make :

Passing Thread, if thin enough, can be used to embroider with (several books say this – Zimmerman’s Metal Thread book comes to mind).

But it’s a complete agony to get it through the ground. A needle grabber is needed.

Maybe my passing thread is a bit too thick?

Lurex is much much easier to deal with, but it tends to crack and show the inner silk core under the tension of a curve. That can be clearly seen on the Ladder Stitch coming from the red dogrose that I did very early on.

I’m getting some Papillion, and will have a play with that. I’m at the stage where I can do a bit of the vine up around the strawberries.

Another option is Benson and Johnson 371.

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