Embroidery in progress: An Elizabethan Stumpwork Bride’s Bag – 4

I’d been ‘putting off’ stitching the foxgloves on this second side of the Bride’s Bag – partly because there are four flowers, and I thought that it would be boring to stitch very time-consuming but similar things over and over again, and partly because the shades of Anchor thread that are suggested in the ‘Festive Elizabethan Creations’ book for stitching these flowers are quite a dull pink. The photo of the original bag shows a kind of raspberry pink, but the Anchor shades given are *equivalents* for the DMC that the bag was stitched with – and sometimes they’re not very accurate equivalents! It was only once I’d started making the bag that this became apparent. I really don’t like ‘dusty’ pinks, so this was what was slowing me down, I think.

Anyway, the bag wouldn’t get finished unless I got over my ‘foxglove phobia’.

I started the first flower by outlining the shape with two strands, in chain stitch, worked quite small and tight, to give a good base for the detached buttonhole stitch.

Foxglove base with detached buttonhole stitch

Then I filled in the shape with a lighter shade, using two strands again.

The next part came out more successfully than I’d expected. I used a ‘half cone stick’ to do lifted up detached buttonhole stitch over the base stitching, making a 3-D flower tube. I bought two of these half cone sticks when I bought the book that the design comes from, over ten years ago, now. Both the book and the half cone sticks are available in the UK from Viking Loom. If you don’t want to splash out on these, the auther, Shirley Holdaway, suggests you can use a toggle button instead, but I think the shaping at the end of the half cone stick, and the flat underside, is crucial to getting a gentle slope to the calyx end of the flower.

Half cone stick tacked on
Half cone stick from side, showing the profile
Lifted up detached buttonhole stitch flower tube half done

The half cone stick is tacked into place temporarily, and the lifted up detached buttonhole stitch is worked in rows as before with Anchor 1017, changing to a deeper shade of pink (Anchor 1018) for the last three rows or so. I edged the ‘bell’ of the flower with one strand of buttonhole stitch in a very light pink (Anchor 1016). Before removing the half cone stick, I stitched the calyx in pale grey green (Anchor 875), shaping the bottom edge a little.

Foxglove stitching completed

The rest of the flowers were worked in the same way – working down the fabric, as I realised that I’d squash the work I’d just done if I didn’t! When all the flowers are completed, a small ball of thread ends is glued up inside the bell of each flower, to hold it open, and then tiny dark pink beads are sewn at the opening. I’ll do those when all the other embroidery on this side of the bag is completed, I think.

Also, it’s worth noting here that detached buttonhole stitch is *much* easier to do if the area around where you are stitching is clear of other embroidery, as the needle needs to slide under the chain stitches at the sides (outwards from the shape you’re filling), to catch the travelling thread in position at the start of each row. Chain stitched stems, in particular, are a pain in the bum if they are close to the flower you are trying to stitch (I found this to my cost on the first side of the bag, when I kept catching the needle in the loops of the chain stitches). So, this time, I’m going to work the stems last.

This is how far I’ve got now, with this second side of the bag:

Second side of bag, so far


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12 thoughts on “Embroidery in progress: An Elizabethan Stumpwork Bride’s Bag – 4”

  1. Beautiful! love the idea that your cone tool is flat on the underside….that has to make stitching so much easier. Thanks for showing us how you did your flowers. Will love to see your completed bag.

  2. Hi!
    I’ve just found your blog (via N News) and very happy to see you doing this project – I have, and have read the book. Beautiful fox glove! 🙂
    It’s the first time I’ve ever seen the cone tool in use, tho I’ve read of it in the book – it’s been on my wish list of obscure tools for awhile now.

    …off to look at the rest of your blog

    1. The half cone stick *is* quite an obscure tool. I’ve got it in both the large and small sizes, but as I mention on the blog, I’ve had both tools for over ten years, and this is the first time I’ve used them! But now I’ve started, I can see myself using them again, as they are very helpful items to have.

  3. What an interesting (and useful) tool! It really did the trick for those foxgloves. They’re some of my favorite flowers so I’m happy to see these. 🙂

  4. Love the foxgloves. There were so many when i lived up in the Northwest Territories, Canada. Very beautifully executed. I look forward to seeing the finished product.

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