Embroidery Update from Iowa

It’s been a long time since I’ve written about anything that’s happening here in my studio. Well, that’s because what’s been happening in my studio is NOT conducive to embroidery. It is, however, a very good thing and we can see a dim light at the end of the long tunnel.

You’ll remember that I posted pictures of my studio all set up shortly after our shipment arrived from Germany. It looked like this:

Starting April 30, it changed from what you see above to what you see below on the left. This morning the carpet layers came so it now looks like the photo on the right.

“Why did you do that after it looked so lovely?” I hear you ask. Good question.

1. We updated the heating and cooling system which means our home will be nice and warm in all the rooms during the very cold Iowa winters.

2. The studio needed more light so we added 12 LED lights in the ceiling. It will be bright even on cloudy days in the summer when all the oaks are in full leaf and the house is naturally shaded and dark. Not long now and I’ll be back in and back to work.

What this means for you, dear readers, is that I’ll be embroidering again at a better pace than I have been since everything has been in disarray.

However, it’s not been that I haven’t gotten anything done. Oh no! In fact, I’m finished with all the embroidery on Trevelyon’s Pocket! Wooee! Hip hip hooray! Yippee! I love it when I reach a finishing point in a project, even though the project isn’t actually finished.

Today I’ll show you where I was about a week ago and in a few days I’ll show you what it looks like in the final, finished version.


Once all the flowers and leaves – there are a LOT of leaves in this design – were finished, I needed to embroider all the vines and stems. My original idea was to use gold passing thread for all these elements. I love the look of gold with silk and knew it would be really pretty.

Then I got to thinking about the fact that the pocket would need to fold in two places and that the gold passing thread might not bend without fraying a bit at the folds. I didn’t think that would be pretty at all, so I rejected that idea.

At the same time, I took time to find the photo of the pocket from the Bayerische Museum that inspired the color and stitch choices for Trevelyon’s Pocket. In looking at it again, I was reminded that all the stems on that pocket are embroidered with colours of green thread, not gold.

Upon close examination I saw that the vines and stems were embroidered in two different shades of green on this pocket. That’s the look I’m trying to replicate, so I decided to use green threads for the vines and stems on Trevelyon’s Pocket.

It turned out to be a great choice! The greens lift the piece and make everything look so fresh.

Once those vines and stems were finished it was time to tackle the clasp shape. I looked and looked for a reproduction clasp like the one on the Bayerische Museum pocket but couldn’t find anything even close. That meant that embroidering it was the only choice.

I decided to do the clasp in two parts; red silk on the top and gold chip work on the bottom. My feeling was that the the gold chip work would be too clingy if I filled the space entirely with it.

So I carefully padded and satin stitched the top part of the clasp shape and edged it with gold passing thread. I thought the acorn above the red stitched clasp looked a bit plain so I added trellis work to that. I love that addition!


Then I filled in the bottom part of the clasp with the gold chip work.

And I hated it. I thought it looked really ugly and disjointed and ridiculous.

Do you know how difficult it is to take out padded satin stitch that’s been edged with gold passing thread while not damaging gold chip work or the silk fabric? We’re talking hours and hours of tedious work.

But it was so worth it! Until next time…


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