Kimberly Servello's Embroidery Blog

Kimberly Servello - Pattern Drawer and Embroideress

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blue & White Rose Scarf in Elizabethan Speckling Technique

 From plate to scarf - the story.
(Project begun 5/25/11, completed 7/9/11.  Approx. 60 hours)

In the 16th century, Speckling stitch technique evolved because embroiderers wanted to imitate the new engravings that were being published (much more detailed than the woodcut illustrations embroiderers had been using for design).  I've been in love with speckling stitching for several years.  But, I'd always worked it in dark colors, and have only ever seen it worked by others in dark threads.  

 I collect English transferware china, which also has pictures of engravings on it.  It occurred to me that I could embroider one of the roses from my favorite china using one of my favorite embroidery techniques!  The question was, would I get the depth necessary to pull off this technique working in a lighter thread?

Here is typical blue & white transferware china, which is where I took my rose motif from.  The rose was an element in an overall design.  So, I pulled the rose from the design and added leaves to get the overall shape I wanted for my design.

 For the Speckling technique, the motif is outlined in Stem stitch and the "shading" is done by making tiny, tiny Seed stitches and "hash" marks.

 I used  DMC #25 Coton a broder thread to outline my motif and DMC 6 stranded floss for the shading (1 strand).  DMC color 799, with a very few touches of shading in deeper blue 798.

I'm very pleased with the effect and can now answer- Yes, you can use lighter thread!

  Another way I like to wear these scarves is very casually with washed out jeans and a white sweater.  Ready for a morning walk on the beach!

Here's a photo of the back of my embroidery.  A curious thing happened while I was working on this piece.  I set my embroidery frame on my stitching chair and the next day when I looked at it, I thought  "Jeez! How did I overdo the shading so much without realizing it? " I was looking at the back.  Never look at your embroidery until you've put your reading glasses on!

Anyone collect flow blue china?  I think that's what the back looks like!

The remainder of this post is for anyone interested in how I hem my scarves:
Hemming the scarf....

 I'm hemming the edges - using an antique hem stitch from Therese deDilmont's book on Needlework.  It's a rolled hem.  I used a regular white sewing thread, dual duty, fine. 
 I thought I'd describe first how I prepare the linen to hem my scarves (works well for table linens, too).

I usually leave 3/8" between the cut edge of my linen to where I pull threads to make the somewhat open look of the hem.  Here you see the scarf, after it's been removed from my slate frame (an embroidery frame similar to a scroll frame).  I'm trimming the 1/2" of excess linen off the edge.  That was the area I used to lace my material onto the frame.

You can see here that 3/8" in from the edge of the linen, I've pulled 2 threads.  This is 60 ct linen.  If it were 36 ct or courser, I would only have pulled one thread. 

Starting at one long edge, knot your thread and weave the thread thru an inch or so of the linen so that the knot will be hidden within the rolled edge of the linen as you hem. Roll your linen as shown at left (click on photos to enlarge).  Bring the needle up thru the linen as shown and then pick up a group of threads in the pulled thread area as shown.  Pull your needle thru (see right photo)

Now, bring the needle up thru the linen again and repeat the above process. 

Here you can see I turned a corner and am working along one short edge of the scarf.  Notice I'm not at the very bottom of my scarf and that I'm not creating a "rolled hem" here.  That's because this is the short edge of the scarf and I want to add a fringe.   I left 3" below the bottom hem to fray it out to make my scarf fringe.

...the end of scarf with horizontal threads removed, ready to make my twisted fringe.

The next four photos show the process of making a twisted fringe.

Select 2 groups of fringe.

Twist each one clockwise (keeping hold of the first group as you separately twist the 2nd group).  You won't need to use scotch tape - I used it here to hold the twist while I photographed it.

Now hold them together and twist counter-clockwise.  They will want to twist together, which is what you want.

Knot off the end and trim it so it has a nice even edge.

I signed my name on the end of the scarf that doesn't have the flower on it.  It falls behind the flower when I wear the scarf and can't be seen, but it's there for posterity.



  1. Hey! Where's a piccie of the finished embroidery? I'd love to see one!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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