Thursday, January 30, 2020

Embroidery Designs - Holly Berries

I was recently reflecting on embroidery designs and decided that I would like to have more items decorated with my heraldry and with holly. Luckily, holly berries (or, at least, berries that could be holly) seem to have been quite a popular sixteenth century motif and I didn't have any trouble finding several designs.

From The Trevellyon Miscellany (1608) available on Pinterest

From The Trevellyon Miscellany available on Pinterest

From The Trevellyon Miscellany available on Pinterest

From The Trevellyon Miscellany (1608) available on Pinterest
From A Scholehouse for the Needle (1632),  individual pages reproduced on Pinterest

From A Scholehouse for the Needle, individual pages reproduced on Pinterest

An extant coif c. 1590 held in the V&A Museum, London

Embroidered panel c. 1600 available at Pinterest and held by the V&A Museum 

Coif decorated with currants or holly held by the Embroiderer's Guild London and reproduced in Elizabethan Stitches by Jacqui Carey ISBN 978-0-9523225-8-0, p. 84

Design from 'Ein New Kunstlich Modelbuch' by Peter Quentel c.1544, page 13r
Available at The Metropolitan Museum

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Embroidered Collar and Cuffs with Pony Detail for a Knighting Gift

Last year I was honoured to attend the elevation of a friend to the Chivalry. I wanted to make a small gift as a memento of the occasion. I decided that embroidered collar and cuff panels for a shirt would be appropriate.

I based my design on a band from the Trevelyon Miscellany(1608); a modelbuch for artists which has a breathtaking array of designs just crying out to be embroidered. I copied the design, and simplified it as well as adding in pony's heads - an element of the recipient's heraldry. I traced the design out onto tracing paper. I photocopied the design and reduced it in size so that the same basic design was used for collar and cuffs (but smaller in size on the cuffs). I then modified the design slightly so that it would fit into the size panel required to go around the wrist.
I traced the design onto my base fabric using a window as a light source and a Frixion marker.
The base fabric is linen and the embroidery worked in Guterman silk in split stitch.
Sometimes you just need to take a break and rest the eyes and re-energise! 
The project was a little challenging as I was on a strict time deadline and I was still having issues with my wrist and hand from the injury in Nov 2018 and my underlying health problems. My stitching is not as fine or as accurate as I would like, which is disappointing. It also took at least twice as long as my usual slow pace.
I love designing embroideries, but I think my favourite moment is when the marker is ironed away and the stitches remain.
The finished piece. I left it in a single panel so that the pieces cannot be lost until it is made up into a garment, and because people make shirts slightly differently and I wanted to allow plenty of fabric for turning under. (Base fabric is zigzag stitched on the edges for durability until it is cut into panels.)

I also can't recommend Modelbuch Muse enough - it is a wonderful information base relating to Renaissance dress as well as lovely embroidery designs to try:

Portrait photo credits: S.J. Taylor - many thanks!

Monday, January 20, 2020

Award Cords Completed and Sent

My first lot of award cords are finished and have been delivered. I enjoyed experimenting with different braiding styles and I will continue to work on these when I have time as I imagine that the Crown and Barons and Baronesses always require award cords.

Friday, January 17, 2020

A time of reflection...

I hope that you all had a happy and productive festive season and (hopefully) a nice break. Here in Australia, December is the end of the school and college/university year, and many businesses close over Christmas to give their employees annual leave. It can be a strange time of year if you get to enjoy the break. It also tends to be a reflective time for me; time to think about the year that has passed and to start making plans for the new one.

This particular Christmas break has been less festive than usual due to the terrible bushfires ravaging many parts of Australia. I am lucky to have only been impacted by mild smoke and this time didn't even have to pack the car in preparation to evacuate. However, many friends have lost homes and belongings. As a former wildlife carer, the knowledge of what the wildlife has suffered and the impact on ecosystems is just devastating, and events have certainly impacted the mood of most people that I know.

I have been surprisingly unproductive over the break, even for me! Last year was horrible for me in relation to my health, and my responsibilities and obligations have been weighing heavily on me of late (as well as current affairs). I did a lot of planning and researching, but not much actual sewing or crafting. It was actually good to take a break.

As usual, I have an almost never-ending list of projects that I want to start, or things that are waiting to be finished. I am prioritising things for other people, and I am very aware that there are a lot of projects waiting to be blogged.

I got some lovely Christmas gifts, which made me feel very spoiled. I collect acrylic and enamel brooches and pins, and I got some of those. I also got some books and fabric, so I was very very happy. (Honestly, just being safe and enjoying good food and friends and family would have been enough, given what so many Aussies are going through at the moment.)

I got this book for Christmas, and I am looking forward to continuing my cord making experiments during the year.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a happy and healthy year in 2020. May all your projects be speedily and satisfactorily completed!