Saturday, July 14, 2012

Historical Embroidery Patterns: Plates 15 -17

The following sketch was done from bed hangings, the property of the Earl of Powis, at Powis Castle.

The design is a bold one of big leaves worked on the usual thick white hand-made linen. Undoubtedly the wools used were green at the time of working, but have now changed to beautiful shades of blue to indigo. Each leaf throughout the work has a thick contour in rope stitch of the four shades of the wool used, and the stem is most effective, done in squares of Cretan stitch in the same four shades.

This bold leaf is mainly carried out in block shading, but the colors are unusual. Indigo for the outside edge, soft brown the central block, and light green for the inner; in the second leaf the green is employed only for the line of veining; the two leaves or sections on the right-hand side are treated as follows—The upper one has outlines of brown, between which blocks of "buttonhole" in indigo are worked, the intervening spaces being simply decorated by a loop stitch in green wool. The sprays are in satin stitch, which is one of the best for small sprays to be worked solid.

A very handsome leaf, in the working of which many stitches are employed. The curved scroll at the top is carried out in block shading in blue to pale green; the curved section on the right is marked out in squares filled alternately with satin stitches, with a simple French knot in each square, and by a square trellis secured in the centre by a cross stitch; the scroll below this is outlined in crewel stitch, and filled with laid work or strands of wool thrown across from edge to edge and couched by back stitches at the points of intersection.

The three leaves at the root of the stem are carried out in block shading in shades of grey green, the leaf above is outlined in crewel stitch and filled with fancy devices worked in buttonhole stitch with darning background; the centre motive is a solid mass of French knots, well raised and blue in color. I have seen this same motive carried out in three shades, the lightest group at the point, the darkest at the back.

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