Embroidery in progress: An Elizabethan Stumpwork Bride’s Bag – 7

I’ve got to the stage with this project that I often do with embroidery….I’m starting to look around for what my next project will be, so there’s a risk that if I put this one down for a while, I might never pick it up again, which would be a shame, as I’ve got so far with it! So, this weekend I made sure I gave myself enough time to get a serious chunk of the embroidery done, to keep my interest up!

This little butterfly is just a ‘filler insect’ in this projet, but I’d got to the stage where I didn’t even bother to read the instructions to see how Shirley Holdaway (in her book ‘Festive Elizabethan Creations’), expected me to do it…I’d decided I wanted it to be a yellow butterfly, with bead highlights on the wings. The wings were worked in long and short stitch, using Anchor 306 deep yellow and 292 pale yellow, and the body and antennae were worked in one strand of dark green/grey (just a spare bit I had in my workbox, so I don’t know what shade it was!).

At this point, I finished off the foxglove flowers. The instructions said to take a small ball of thread ends in pink shades, and glue them high up inside the bell of each foxglove flower, to hold the tube open. I didn’t want to risk getting glue on a part of the stitching that would be visible, so I just poked the ball of thread hard up into the flower ends, and they seem to be staying put! The method certainly works to hold the curved part of the flower up, and stop it squashing flat.

I had left the beading highlights until now, in case my thread kept catching on the beads as I was stitching other areas of the bag. So, I stitched on three or four maroon seed beads to the mouth of each flower at this point, which actually made them look a lot more ‘finished’ than I’d expected. In this photo, you can see the tiny ladybird as well. There is also a ladybird on the other side of the bag, which I like better, as it has its silver wings showing on that side .

As with the first side, the last thing to add was the clusters of frosted yellow beads, in groups of three. These are stitched fairly randomly over the bag, filling any gaps that seem too ’empty’. One cluster had to be placed quite carefully, though, as I had managed to attract a speck of soot (we have an open fireplace in our living room!) which had lodged itself onto the top left hand corner of the stitching, and trying to wash it off only made the mark worse. Fortunately, three seed beads hid the mark completely. Now I keep my stitching-in-progress covered up  🙂

So, at this point, the second side of the bag looks like this.


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13 thoughts on “Embroidery in progress: An Elizabethan Stumpwork Bride’s Bag – 7”

  1. I agree with Rosa…the ladybird is absolutely adorable. We call them ladybugs here in the US. I can hardly wait to see the whole bride’s bag when it is finished. I’d never heard of one, before. Janet, you do awesome handwork!

    1. Thank you! I do like the ladybird with wings the best, though – there’s an image of it in the second post that I did about this project. The silver wings make a difference, I think. But anything cute and small looks good in embroidery, to me!

  2. Raising the foxglove with orts (thread ends) is interesting. I use a tiny ball of wool – I find that you can shape it beforehand to echo the particular shape of the part you want to stuff. Merino (very fine wool) is even better – easier to shape.

    1. That’s a good idea. In the book that I got the design from, Shiley Holdaway suggests using orts as they’ll be in the same shade as the foxglove itself, so that if any of it shows through the stitching, it’ll be in s similar colour to the flower itself, and won’t notice much.

  3. Ah! How very very interesting! I was asking about it, because (as I’m sure you know) wool is traditionally used. I haven’t had a problem with the wool showing through because of the small scale and tiny DBS (detached buttonhole stitches) but it is definitely a tip to keep in mind! I was planning to buy that book – only it’s expense was stopping me, but now I’m doing the Thistle Thread Casket course. I’m *just dying* to get to the second 18 months of the course, where we do raised and stumpwork.

    1. Yes, I’ve seen instructions that said to use wool, before, but not tried it. But this was very successful using thread ends. None of the ball of ends can be seen, even if you try to squint into the bell of the flower, because it’s all the same colour! The book is well worth getting – the other designs in it are all lovely. Only time is stopping me doing some of the others….. 🙂

  4. This is charming and beautiful. I haven’t embroidered in many years. Embroidery was the very first needlework my mother taught me as a child but then somewhere along the line I switched over to cross-stitching. I still have my very first piece of embroidery work I did over 30 years ago! Glad I stumbled across your site and you’ve inspired me to search for Festive Elizabethan Creations. Nice meeting you Janet.

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