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Kimiko Sews

A Gentlewoman's Creative Blog

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Embroidery idea
book research
Yesterday I went to the library and picked up a book that Elmsley Rose (elmsley_rose) suggested on FB, Embroidery Masterworks by Virginia Bath. It's an older book of embroidery (1972), but in it, she's gone to the Art Institute of Chicago, and shares the info on various embroidered items within the book from a variety of time frames, including those within the SCA time period.

So far, I rather like this book, although as I dug further online for a color image of one of the items discussed in the book, I am finding that some of the info is outdated. But I've found several of the items online in the AIC collections. You do have to dig around their search terms a bit. Embroidery does not cover all the pieces, and I've not looked for all the project items, so good luck when you do a search there.

One of the items really, really caught my eye. Well, the description did since it mentions long & short stitch being used. The piece is a large fragment, probably from an orphrey band, which makes it an ecclesiastical piece. It was dated 15th c., but web site dates it now to the 16th c. Either way, I see lots of potential with it, since it would provide emphasis to different embroidery techniques in recreating it. However, there is no mention of l&s on the web site page for it; "in split stitches; laid work, couching, and padded couching". In the book, he's known as St. Mauritius. On the web site he's known as St. Gereon (called the "Golden Saint" according to a wiki article).

St. Gereon orphrey fragment St. Gereon orphrey fragment From the Art Institute of Chicago, now dated to the 16th c."in split stitches; laid work, couching, and padded couching"
St. Gereon St. Gereon
St. Gereon and his troupe of men St. Gereon and his troupe of men

But looking a lot closer at the image in the book last night, the cloak and maybe hair look to be in the older form of long & short stitch in rows across - not much on shading or blending, rather mechanical in the doing, but I can see the stitches where one is placed higher than the one next to it. Satin stitch would have looked different. His shield, banner, and the ground are in laid work. The color image was taken more recently than the b&w one, with more of the threads missing on the banner and shield's long satin stitching and hardly any of the laid across stitches remain - you can just see the little holding stitches for the laid work.

The aspect that is appealing is he's shown with crosses on both banner and shield. Part of me ponders making banner and shield either reflect my own arms (and maybe making it more female in form for a "Joan of Arc" sorta thing), or keeping it simple and instead put in the Caiden Cross that the populous is allowed to use. Most likely, it would just be a pretty picture to hang on the wall, so I may just keep the cross.

The original knight is done in silver threads, with a background in gold. But I could do him in gold (to better match his images as the Golden Saint). Although thinking about it, silver does get a nice contrast to the gold of the background. Maybe done in different shades of gold?

I think if I do this piece, it will be done smaller than original size [32 x 16.1 cm (12 5/8 x 6 3/8 in.)] I like the piece, but the background is a lot of passing thread couched in a strap-work pattern, with the knight supposedly appliqued on top of it.

Another project in the book that caught my eye is the man's waistcoat sampler from the 18th century. It's mostly satin stitches in light silk threads against a dark velvet type fabric. It's just something that might be fun to make into a vest or something to wear. There are other projects of interest from coifs and caps, to towel ends and pillow cases. There is even some embroidery that had padding under gold long before the one's I knew of, so I may add some of that to the above project to make it more dimensional.

Well, it is all something to think about for a future project. I've got enough on my plate for now, and other ideas that I may want to do first.

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