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Sampler of Elizabethan Linear Metal Thread Stitches by Melinda Sherbring

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17 June 2012

Sampler of Elizabethan Linear Metal Thread Stitches by Melinda Sherbring

Melinda Sherbring aka Eowyn Amberdrake (within the SCA) has developed a Sampler in order to teach various Metal Thread stitches from the Elizabethan period. The Sampler has been yet to published with the first audience being within SCA. Melinda is considering further publication, possibly self-publication, for a general audience.

I am honoured to have been asked by her to test the left handed version of the stitch instructions and to provide general feedback.

I can’t show her stitch instructions here, but I can show you my finished work, and comment on my own thoughts and discoveries as I work through the stitches. Melinda has also found publicly published photographs of some of the stitches that I can show you.

The stitch list is as follows :

Plaited Braid Stitch Variations

  • Standard
  • Flopped
  • Long Right
  • Long Left
  • Jumble
  • With a Twist

Ladder and Ceylon Stitches

  • Ladder Stitch
  • Silk Pair-Wrapped Ladder Stitch
  • Pair Wrapped Ladder Stitch
  • ZigZag Wrapped Ladder Stitch
  • Chained Ladder Stitch
  • Ceylon Stitch

Miscellaneous Stitches

  • Elizabethan Ladder Braid Stitch
  • Corded Lark’s Head Filling
  • Purl Chain
  • Double Pekinese Stitch

Chain Stitch Variations

  • Chain Stitch and Reverse Chain Stitch
  • Interlaced Chain Stitch
  • Elizabethan Double Vandyke Stitch
  • Heavy Chain Stitch
  • Long Armed Cross Chain Stitch
  • Threaded Double Back Stitch

Van Dyke and Pekinese Variations

  • Twisted Chain Stitch
  • Vandyke Stitch
  • Pekinese Stitch over Couched Thread
  • Bundle Couched Guilloche
  • Double Pekinese Stitch with silk edging
  • Pekinese Stitch, Skip 3


  • Maltese Cross

This list will be expanded in the future.

The Sampler can be done as a single piece or in a notebook format. I’m choosing to do the notebook format to give me room to record my experiments with each stitch.

Melinda recommends working in either Benton&Johnson #371 or #4 Passing thread. I’m working in B&J 371.

I have already worked my way through most of Jane Zimmerman’s “The Art of Elizabethan Embroidery”. The list of stitches in that book are listed here in a blog entry that I wrote a couple of years ago.

I have already “done” Plaited Braid Stitch.

Yes! I can now do Plaited Braid Stitch, thanks to Melinda’s instructions :-). I have 2 pages of notes that are all ready to write up and have completed my ‘page’ of stitching. I must also thank Kimberley Mitchell for some additional tips in working the stitch. I am *not* going to get into the “which diagram works” issue, but address practical issues such as which are suitable threads to use, how to work the stitch over curves and getting the thread tension correct.

So this post serves as an introduction to a series of postings about these stitches that will extend over the next few months.

I will be alternating working on the Sampler and on my Heart of the Thistle project and hope to complete the Sampler Stitches before my kits for the Thistle Thread Casket course arrive.

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Anonymous Rachel said...

Having the additional repertoire of stitches will add considerably to your Casket when you get started on it!

Sunday, June 17, 2012  
Blogger coral-seas said...

I shall look forward to seeing this series of posts.

Monday, June 18, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've set yourself a real challenge there, Megan - so many new stitches to play with! (And the casket course too - you are going to be so, so busy.) I'll look forward to learning how you get on.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012  
Blogger Ælfswyđ said...

As always, looking forward to updates! This sounds like a nice complement to the casket.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012  
Blogger floozina said...

This is not something that I have ever attempted (Mediaeval/Elizabethan embroidery) which is not to say that I don't admire it and its exponents tremendously. I can't wait to see evidence of this huuuuge undertaking, Megan, and I am very pleased to see you are actually taking it on.

Thursday, June 21, 2012  

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