[HNW] Linen versus Silk

Velvet Claw a_velvet_claw at yahoo.com.au
Sun Mar 2 04:57:10 PST 2008

Hi everyone,

 I came to a final decision on the embroidery books I was going to buy, 
(if you remember the "Can you help me build my embroidery library" 
thread and I've made the order. I just have to sit back and wait in 
an-tiiic-i-pation now! :-)

 I'm currently working on a needlepainting project, but there is a very 
large project that I'm intending to do and it will take some time in the 

 On a background of vines or interlace (probably vines) I want to do 
leaves, flowers and a few insects in all the different 16th and 17th C 
methods and variations of methods that I can find. Kind of like a huge 
sampler, except it'll look more like a long cushion cover. A bit of 
goldwork, a couple of slips, pearls and beads, a few beetlewings maybe?

I will be embroidering it in DMC floss.

I wondered if it would be best to use silk or linen for the background 
material? I know both were used in period (as well as velvet, which I'm 
not brave enough to use in such a large project yet, and silk being used 
in the 17th C as well as linen). Looking at my notes I see mentions of 
taffeta silk, silk twill and satin  being used as well in the 17th C. (I 
do realise that the 17C is out of SCA period. I have many plans for 

I don't want the shine of the silk to take away from the relative 
plainness of the DMC floss but I do want it to look as special as 
possible. Then again, linen may be easier to work with, and I don't want 
to make things any harder for myself than absolutely necessary. It won't 
be able to be washed afterwards if I have goldwork on it.

Either way, I don't know *what* I should be looking for in the 
particular material. Evenweave linen or "high quality 100% linen". Heavy?

What sort of silk, if that's a good idea. There seems to be several 
different types.

I'm thinking of using a beige/oyster/ecru sort of colour, whichever I 
end up using.

Also, where to buy the material. I've had a look around on Ebay but 
maybe I should be using something a little more special/custom? I live 
in Australia, but don't mind importing the material for such a special 
project - I expect it will take about a year of work so it's worth 
investing in the best of the basic materials.

Your advice would be greatly appreciated.


Megan/Elmsley Rose

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