Kimberly Servello's Embroidery Blog

Kimberly Servello - Pattern Drawer and Embroideress

Friday, October 14, 2011

Enchanted Castle of Marvels Shawl

Back to the drawing board (or kitchen table, in this instance).  Moving on to my next project, I pulled the shawl drawing out again.  I already have a clear idea of what colors I want for the shawl, as I mentioned before.

Here, I'm deciding what threads to use to get the colors I want.  This depends on what stitch I'll use for each motif.  At this stage, I think there will be a mix of textured Elizabethan stitches (trellis, detached button-hole, etc) and the smooth long and short stitch.  I like textured stitches worked in tightly twisted threads as it gives them extra dimension.  L&S stitch would look best in a lightly twisted thread, or a flat thread.  I don't want to use flat silks for this shawl because I believe they'll have a great tendency to fray and catch on things.  I'll use Soie de Paris for the L&S stitch and a mix of Au Ver a Soie's Gobelin, Perlee, and 100/3, along with Mulberry Silks in varying thicknesses for the textured stitches.

The fabric is a very dark chocolate - you can see it peeping from under the drawing.

The carnations will be done in shades of cornflower blue.  The petals stitched in long&short stitch.  The calyx will be worked in detached button-hole in olive toned greens and will probably be padded a bit.
Honeysuckle flowers will be worked in shades of gold to creme.   I haven't decided if they'll be worked in L/S or trellis.  If worked in trellis,  they may be padded a bit as well.

The main vines will be worked in Heavy Broad stitch in pale, pistachio green.  I plan to try padding it for a raised effect.  The tendrils will be done in stem stitch in a slightly lighter shade.

The pod shown here will be worked in shades of rust, gold, and pale, pistachio green which looks especially good on the deep brown linen.

This rose will be worked in shades of red, gold and green.  The calyx will be padded detached buttonhole.  The petals will probably be L/S stitch. The stamen will be a textured stitch, but I'm not sure which yet.

This rose motif, and the pod shown above are more typical of Deerfield Society embroidery motifs.  I'm adding them to my shawl because of the William Morris influence this shawl had when I first imagined it.  

The two American women who founded the Deerfield society in 1896 were no doubt influenced by William Morris.  They started a cottage industry to revive the Early American embroidery techniques they found on pieces in local museums and homes. Their motifs were copied or adapted from extant 18th century pieces in the New England area.  Anyone interested in Elizabethan embroidery motifs will immediately recognize that many of the colonial American motifs were transplanted from 16th / 17th century England.  Early American embroiderers chose to fill the motifs with new embroidery stitches that used less threads, making them less costly, and faster, to create.  If you're interested in the history of the Deerfield Society, the book titled Deerfield Embroidery by M.B. Howe is a good place to start.

Well, I'm off to Frazer, Pa today for a follow-up vet appt for Byron to have his staples removed.  Fireside Stitchery shop just down the road.  I plan to pick up the Au Ver a Soie threads I don't have while I'm there.


  1. That looks so familiar - a drawing with threads scattered over it!

  2. Very cool! I can see the Deerfield inspirations. I also like the proportions of the flowers to the size of your field and the color families you've chosen to go with the brown linen. I look forward to seeing how you work this up. It will be spectacular.

    Here's a book recommendation in trade. If you like Little, Big - seek out the Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin (pub. 1983 or so). New York and Hudson Valley circa 1890 fantasy world. An unsung gem.

    Happy stitching! -k.


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