Embroidery Update

Thank you to the kind people who responded to my “dilemma” yesterday with comments on my blog, on Facebook and by email. So far the response is all in favor of sticking to just one blog, but talking about everything.

I was leaning that way, anyway: “It’s my blog and I’ll write what I want to” (to the tune of “It’s my party”).

I have to admit that I spent a couple of weeks coming up with a cool name for my second blog. It wasn’t easy. It seemed like everything I came up with had been taken. I think I’ll keep the name a secret until I’m ready to start selling my mini caskets. Then I can use it as a company name.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about my embroidery adventures, so this is a long one. If you read it all the way through, I thank you. But if you don’t, I won’t mind. Writing things down helps me to organize my thought process, so I’m mainly doing this for myself.


I haven’t picked up a needle in a few weeks.  My mind has been fully occupied with planning the embroidery for my mini casket. By the way, I counted and it consists of 161 pieces of wood, plus the 4 ball feet (not shown).

I bit the bullet and signed up for Part II of the Cabinet of Curiosities course which is about Stumpwork. Since it was already half done when I signed up, I had 9 lessons to read through and new lessons came yesterday in both Part I and Part II of the course.


I already got Kit I for the Stumpwork course and its full of goodies.

My mini casket will be embroidered on duchess silk satin with silk and metallic threads. Most of the work will be low relief.


I separated the strands of a couple of the threads to see if they might work for my mini embroidery. I’ll let you know what I decide when I try working with them.

 Mini Casket Embroidery Plan

Trying to learn to draw on my iPad has been challenging. I’m using the iDraw app and there’s quite a learning curve. So far, I’ve been able to make a measured layout of the shapes I need to embroider.

But when it comes to actually drawing figures and manipulating the shapes, I’m struggling. I know that if I can master doing it on the computer, it will be easier to work out my designs. If all else fails, I can go back to the tried and true method of drawing and redrawing everything until I get it right.

Right now, I’m leaning towards using embroidery designs in Thomas Trevelyon’s Miscellany of 1608 as inspiration. The full manuscript is available online from Folger Shakespeare Library’s site.


To start, I’m trying to simplify this picture with the stag (and a similar one with a griffin) for the doors.

It always surprises me when I’ve been studying a subject for a while (in this case almost a year) and I come across something that makes everything just click. In this case, it is the book I just got, Embroidery at the Burrell Collection 1600-1700, by Liz Arthur. It’s out of print, but can be found used at a reasonable price.

In it, she shows side-by-side comparisons that helped me to understand how mid to late 17th century embroiderers used earlier works and interpreted them in a simplified, almost cartoonish and charming manner.


Please pardon the glare. The tapestry on the right is from 1603, and the panel on the left is a mid-century embroidered depiction of the same biblical scene.


In this one, the image on the left is a 1585 engraving and the one on the right is a 1650-80 embroidered interpretation.

These comparisons are a revelation to me and will help me to interpret Trevelyon’s 1608 designs into the later style I want for my casket. The casket embroideries are playful, colorful and child-like. I’m terribly excited to have figured this out.

If you made it through my meanderings, I’m impressed and grateful. My mind has been swirling with ideas, images and possible solutions. It keeps me up at night. It’s a relief to get some of them down on paper and out of my head.


Embroidery Update — 1 Comment

  1. Really interesting article today. I like seeing the process of designing the embroidery from one era to another.