Wednesday, May 18, 2011


This is a project I have been whittling away at little by little.  I am making a series of individualized sweetbags.  The blue cornflower is embroidered with detached buttonhole stitches, while the leafs and lion are embroidered using chain stitches.  The gold filigree around the lion is also done in chain stitches, and the gold metal stems are worked very carefully in chain stitches. 

There is a stitch, found in Elizabethan embroidery, used for stems that resembles a heavy wire-woven chain.  This picture of a coif is an example of the stitch I am referring to:

I have seen this stitch referred to as a plaited braid stitch, and I have tried to recreate it, but I haven't quite gotten the stitch down, yet.  My attempts have been pretty sad, indeed!  Many months ago, I ordered the Royal School of Needlework Embroidery Techniques by Sally Saunders, et al, with the express purpose of learning the plaited braid stitch, but the book has been on back order since February.  For now, chain stitches for stems will have to suffice, until I can work out the stitch...

1 comment:

  1. Plaited Braid Stitch was a mystery until about 1920 when Mrs A Christie put forward her 'interpretation' of how to stitch it. She worked it top-down but sadly did not manage to produce the correct number of unders & overs. Stitchers have had tremendous problems with her version and some people have found it impossible.

    Thankfully, in about 1995, Leon Conrad decided to set about to decode it - which he did very successfully, working it sideways and in so doing he produced the correct number of unders & overs.

    Then Jacqui Carey wrote Sweet Bags in 2010, and produced it right way up, working from the bottom upwards, which for my part, has helped me a lot to produce much faster consistent results and a finer braid.

    In my (humble and) personal opinion, the stitch might be best regarded as a 4-cord plait that is 'probably' derived (still working on hard evidence) from a classic Celtic knot.