Friday, 16 March 2012

Well, I just couldn’t wait to try this out..

I finally had a chance to return to the Elizabethan Stitches chapter concerning ‘Bordered Turns’.  Then had a rummage through my archive of historical examples and came up with this repro.

Guess what it is?

Peacock feathers 1

Apart from it being a riotous burst of colour to herald the Spring and all things green and juicy, this colourful rendition represents Peacock feathers.  Or put it another way…

Peacock 3

This became this…

Peacock 2

Peacock 4

As you can see, the design contains lots and lots of lively colour switching and blending.  Because the outline is not stitched first, or indeed afterwards, but is simultaneously formed, you can switch colours to your heart’s content.

I’ve based this study on close analysis of a fine Forehead Cloth stored at the V&A, that also features lots of complex roses and stunning goldwork stitches. 

I’ve tried to follow their colour palette as closely as I can but started off going a bit wrong.  I had stitched too many rows with the same colour, realising my mistake I decided to continue anyway, because I could kind of tell that my approach was going to work. 

Looking at these macro images now, I can see that maybe I should have worked across in one complete journey, leaving the central plumage out?  I’m not sure, and might have to try it again.

Apart from that, I managed to establish that such a complex pattern is actually very quick to make and is not difficult at all.  I only used one length of thread for each row, so there were a lot of threads dangling at the back when I came to do the second stage.  However, strangely enough, the threads did not become tangled, and dealing with the back of the work, felt a lot like weaving.

I have a weird feeling that as DBH is so similar to woven cloth, I cannot help but think the virtuosity the Elizabethans had with this stitch had a lot to do with their understanding of what you could and couldn’t do with narrow woven bands….


My PDF file

Anyway, on the subject of Corded Detached Buttonhole.  I made a quick promotional video, with some nice music, about the Research Document that I am selling on Etsy, here it is:



Gotta go ppl!


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