HNW - Elizabethan Needlework [longish]

Reid, Andrew (MED_GEN) reida at
Tue Jul 6 23:56:50 PDT 1999

Sarah Randles wrote
"...I think that it needs to be used in conjunction with some other books to
get a better impression of the period feel, since I think the projects are a
bit modern...I came to the conclusion that the pieces she shows are a bit
too neat, by which I mean that they are too regular and measured up, while
the original pieces were worked more by eye, which gives them a more vibrant

I got this feeling too based on the pieces on the book covers, I haven't had
a chance to look through them yet though.

She also wrote:
"I think, too, her use of DMC makes the pieces a bit flat, which would be
rectified by using a silk to a certain extent, and ideally a hand-dyed silk
with a bit of variation in colour to get some of the variations evident in

I'm a recent convert to silks, I just started using them for my first
attempt to do Elizabethan slips.  The effect is so much nicer, well worth
the cost differential.  To get subtle gradations in colour, could you
possibly add in one strand of a slightly darker or lighter shade when you
are using multiple strands?

And this:
"I'd recommend using it in conjunction with George Wingfield Digby's
Elizabethan Embroidery, if you can get hold of it.  It's sadly out of print,
and the photos are only B&W, but it is available in some library systems,
notably the ACT public library system.  I'd also recommend having a look at
some paintings with Elizabethan embroidery, and if possible some colour
photos, to get a better feel for colour variations and general

I recently bought "The Embroiderer's Flowers" in paperback (author escapes
me at the moment, but I have the book at home if anyone would like more
details).  One of the most appealling things about this book are the many
full colour pictures of period embroidery, along with woodcuts from pattern
books, portraits etc.  Sure it's slanted towards flower representation but
there is lots of information about period design and techniques that can be
gleaned from this book.  I have a friend here who owns a copy of the
hellishly expensive "Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd" by Janet Arnold
(US$180- yikes!), and there are many many B&W close up pictures of
embroidery in it.  *sigh*  Each page a revelation!

"So, how about I set Elizabethan embroidery for a Worshipful Company of
Broderers (Lochac/Australia) comp for some time next year?"
Oh yes please!!  There was an Elizabethan Embroidered Slips contest run
sometime last year (SCA - Lochac Principality Arts & Sciences contest I
think) but I found out about it a bit too late to try and make an entry in
time.  I freely admit to a bias, anything 'Bethan is fine by me...

Andrew Reid
(SCA - Bartolomeo Agazzari)
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