Embroidery in progress: An Elizabethan Stumpwork Bride’s Bag – 3

After last weekend, I’d almost completed the first side of the bag, so it only took a few minutes, once I was properly awake and had time to do it neatly, to finish the first side by couching down the last of the gold cord onto the inverted heart.

The second side of the bag features a fritillaria, an aquilegia, some foxglove flowers, some bluebells and some pansies (plus the ‘filler insects’).

Stitching the fritillaria petals

The instructions (in ‘Festive Elizabethan Creations’, by Shirley Holdaway) said to do the fritillaria first. Each petal was outlined with chain stitch with one strand of Anchor stranded cotton shade 858, then filled with rows of more chain stitch using two strands. Then, long lengths of the same shade (three strands) were laid from the tip to the base of each petal, and counched down regularly, in a brick pattern, with medium pink 1018. Each length had to be couched before the next one was started.

Petals looking a little too undefined!

The instructions suggested that this would be enough to define each petal shape, to make it visibly separate from its neighbur, but once I’d done all four petals, I wasn’t happy with it. It just looked like one big block of bricks to me! So I defined each join between the petals with a line of stem stitch, in a darker shade of green than the petals had been stitched in.

Petals defined using dark green stem stitch

The aquilegia flower was more successful, even though it took twice as long to do. The underside petals were stitched in detached buttonhole stitch (cream 386 in the centre, which would eventually look like the ‘middle’ of the flower), and light purple 871 for the outer petals. The cream area was padded first with rows of chain stitch. Then I worked three ‘punto in aria’ shapes in dark purple 873, and attached them only at the tops, for the front petals of the flower. The top, back-curving petals were worked in satin stitch in a very pale purple 870, on a base of chain stitch padding. Lastly, I added fine gold filament thread for the stamens of the flower. The leaves were stitched in rows of chain stitch, blending the colours sometimes, to shade each leaf from light to dark.


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