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Elmsley Rose

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Elmsley Rose

25 December 2011

A couple of ideas on cord and goldwork edging of applique


From Grace Christie, Tapestry and Weaving :

The colour of this cord (used to edge an applique) is important, since its colour may increase the expanse of either the applied part or the ground.
Sometimes a double cord is put round, and in this case the inner one is attached to the embroidery before it is cut out of the frame, and the second attached afterwards. 
The inner one is often of a colour predominating in the embroidery, and the outer one of the colour of the ground. 
Gold cord is very usual; if a coloured silk one is used it must be a perfect match.
The ordinary twisted cord looks best attached invisibly; to do this, slightly untwist it whilst stitching, and insert the needle in the opening thus formed.
Some kinds of flat braids look well with the fixing stitches taken deliberately over them and forming part of the ornamentation.
Bunches of silk are sometimes couched round with a buttonhole or other stitch, but whatever the outline may consist of, it should be a firm bold line.

More on edging applique with “bunches of silk”

Couching is the name given to a method of embroidery in which one thread is attached to the material by another one.
Sometimes not only one thread but a number of threads are couched down together; or it may be cord, braid, or metal thread that is attached to the material in this way. Figure 88 shows some couching in progress.

clip_image002Fig. 88.

The method probably arose through the difficulty experienced in passing either coarse or very delicate threads through a material.
Couching is constantly in use with gold thread embroidery, and it is further discussed in the chapter upon that subject, where also is described an entirely different method, which is to be recommended for couching other as well as for gold threads
Couching is useful in a variety of ways, e.g. for carrying out work in line or for outlining other embroidery, applied work for instance, which is frequently finished off by means of a couched thread; in the case of a difficult ground material, it is one of the most manageable methods of working.

A particular edging 

Source :

Plate No. 38.

Detail of cut linen, embroidered with coloured silks and silver-gilt and silver threads.
Italian, late sixteenth century 

Near the edge of the cut forms is a double silver-gilt thread; then follows an edging of green silk in button-hole stitch.
The stitch, while finishing the edge of the ornament, is carried over the silver-gilt threads, and secures them.
This metal thread is passed from one portion of the design to another, forming loops to assist in uniting the whole pattern.
The leaves and flowers are partially worked in coloured silks.

-- I don't like the 'looping' outside the appliqued pieces, but the green buttonhole with it's 'legs' extending over two couched silver cords sounds pretty

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23 December 2011

Happy Turkey Day

to everyone. Thankyou for being such wonderful friends, and providing so much fun and interest for me in the last year :-)

13 December 2011

More On Crewel Excitement

EDIT :-  I will look into the making of the right side of this flower when I eventually do a Jacobean piece, and write a tutorial.

I wrote a post on a lovely entry on the EGA's blog on some Jacobean wall hangings in their collection at the post with those stvpendovs close vp shots.

There has been some discvssion abovt the stitch vsed in the leaf above - the direct link is in the Comments section.

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11 December 2011

Free Pattern - Flower Over Cord Padding

 From the Encyclopaedia of Needlework by Therese de Dillmont

 Firstly, some backgrovnd information :

Gold embroidery on a foundation of cords .—In the old ecclesiastical embroideries, especially those representing the figures of saints, we often find thick whip cords used as a foundation, instead of cardboard, for the good reason that the stiff cardboard does not give such soft and rounded contours as a cord foundation, which will readily take every bend and turn that you give to it.

Lay down as many cords as are necessary to give the design the requisite thickness, in many cases up to 8 or 10 m/m. in height, taking care to lay them closely and solidly in the centre, and graduate them down at the sides and ends. When you have finished the foundation, edge it with a thick gold cord.

The heavier the design is, the thicker your padding should be, and cords a good deal thicker than those which are represented in the drawing should be used, as the more light and shade you can introduce into embroidery of this kind, the greater will be its beauty and value."

Scale stitch worked in gold thread and purl on a cord foundation (fig. 250).—Begin by covering the whole padded surface with gold or silver thread, then sew on short lengths of purl, long enough to cover six or eight threads, 2 or 3 m/m. apart, as shown in the engraving.

 These stitches in dead gold purl are then surrounded by shining or crimped purl.

FIG. 250.
AND PURL ON A CORD FOUNDATION. Fig. 250. Scale stitch in gold thread and purl on a cord foundation.
You bring out the working thread to the left of the purl stitch, which you take on your needle, put the needle in on the other side, draw it out above the little stroke, and secure the crimped purl with an invisible stitch.

The Project :-

" (fig. 251).—The half finished flower, represented here, was copied from a handsome piece of ecclesiastical embroidery enriched with ornament of this kind. 

The finished portions on the left hand side, are executed in silver and gold purl, whilst the egg-shaped heart of the flower is formed of transverse threads, carried over the first padding, and secured by a stitch between the two cords.
In the subsequent row, the catching stitch is set between the cords, over which the first gold threads were carried."

Gee- not many instrvctions!

Other points :-
~ which parts are silver and which are gold.
I think the basket covching in the 'egg shaped heart' alternates gold and silver threads. 
Some elements look darker than others in the diagram - perhaps the darker color indicates gold? The even coloring in all the elements except the 'egg-shaped heart' perhaps indicates that each element is either entirely silver or gold.
~ the couched outline of the 'egg-shaped heart'.
~ the looping stitch vsed jvst ovtside the 'egg-shaped heart' is the "Scale Stitch" described above.
~ the cord used in the interior looks to be something like Grecian Twist, whilst the cord outlining the exterior elements looks to be an untwisted cord.
~ the diagonal covching on the 'tail' in the bottom middle of the piece
~ the oes decorated with pvrl

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9 December 2011

Hands, Hilda - book download problem

Vpdate,  13th Dec - the site owners have told me that it was a temporary problem and is now fixed :-)

Firstly, my 'ewe' key isn't working, so please excse the fnny typing.

Kimberly S jst tried to download the Hilda Hands Chrch Embroidery book from the site and it gives errors for opening the PDFs and EPb files. I went for "All HTTP files" and fond that yo can access the color PDF from 

I'll tell the site managers. Meanwhile, if yo want it - there yo go.

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