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Embroidery - a favour made for a friend

Submitted by Anna de Wilde on January 3, 2012 - 8:29pm


A friend by the name of Lady Edine Godin who fights SCA Rapier asked if she could bear my favour onto the field and fight for me. I was truly honoured that she would ask this of me. This is the favour that I made for her.
The fabric is cream linen and I used the drawn thread method to make sure that my hems were even and that the handkerchief is square.  This took quite a while. It was time-consuming but it was worth the effort.
Here are close ups of the tulips in the corner.
Before I started the embroidery on this piece, I got a scrap piece of linen and tried various stitches and thread, to find which I liked best.  I also did this because it was the first time that I had attempted embroidery, which made me hesitant and I wanted to practice first. 
I had attempted to use madeira stranded silk thread.  However I found it tangled easily and the finish was messy and the thread had a fuzzy look to it.  I also tried Gutermann silk sewing thread.  This thread is very fine and while it gave a lovely finish, it was so thin that it would have taken me forever to complete this piece.
On the test piece of linen I practised using back stitch, split-stitch and stem stitch and satin stitch.  I finally settled on stem stitch as I liked the way it looked, and that style of stitch made it easier to go round corners and curves.  This was particularly useful as the tulip pattern has a lot of curves.
I used my google-fu and looked on youtube for tutorials and advice about the different stitch techniques.  The diagrams that I found were very confusing and the first time I tried stem stitch it came out very weird, and looked nothing like the example given.  You can see on the flourish on the top of the red and black E that it looks nothing like how stem stitch should look. This is because the diagrams that I found that explained how to do stem stitch looked to me like the needle was horizontal to the stitch-line, and that was the result I got.
I became frustrated with my efforts and was easily confused by the video demonstrations that I found online.  This led me to contact another friend Lady Alliette Delecourt, who has some knowledge of embroidery.  She offered to send me her notes on a class that she ran about embroidery and how each stitch is done.  Because of her class notes I was able to make sense of the instructions and what I needed to do.
The thread I used on the final piece was some lovely silk thread that was given to me by Mistress Katherine Weyssin.  It's a lovely weight, and very easy to work with. This thread can be sourced here in NZ, and purchased from the following website:
Here are the colours some members of the group already have.
I am so very pleased with this, and I found embroidery to be very relaxing and enjoyable.  I have laughed a little at my previous attempts at other hand crafts as I don't tend to have a lot of patience or interest.  But I found this to be fun.  So I see bit more of embroidery in my future.  



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