Kimberly Servello's Embroidery Blog

Kimberly Servello - Pattern Drawer and Embroideress

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Pomegranate Christmas Ornament

Then here´s to the maid in the lily-white smock
Who tripped to the door and slipped back the lock;
Who tripped to the door and pulled back the pin,
For to let these jolly wassailers in.

Wassail! Wassail all over the town!

excerpt from the medieval carol  The Gloucestershire Wassail 

If you are familiar with my blackwork purse, Pomegranates and Peas, you'll recognize this motif. The motif is taken from a jacket at the V&A museum. I think I've seen this pomegranate, in speckling stitch, on another period embroidery, or maybe in a modelbuch or pattern.  Does anyone else know of it appearing somewhere else?  Please add a comment if you do.

This ornament was a test piece for the purse.  It's one of my early attempts at speckling.  I wanted to stitch the purse in reds, but finding varying silk thread thicknesses in the same red proved impossible.  Here, I used a sewing machine thread for the finest speckling (not a silk thread). 

 I feel the plaited braid vine is too heavy for the piece - I used a  #5 real gold passing thread with a cotton core, because the size 4 either wasn't available at the time, or I wasn't aware of it.  Also, the silk core wasn't an option yet.  This piece was done before the goldwork was added to the Plimoth jacket.  Tricia had the same issue on the jacket - the #5 passing with cotton core was too stiff.   Through working this motif, I decided to go with the much finer tambour metal thread for the purse.  I felt it was also a better choice for stitchers learning the plaited braid because the tambour metal thread is extremely pliable.

Regardless of these deficiencies, the ornament actually looks quite lovely, and only an experienced stitcher could pick out its blemishes.  It's backed with a matching red satin fabric, stuffed with poly stuffing and trimmed with a twisted cord.  The plaited braid vine and spangles catch the tree lights and sparkle.

When I choose an ornament to embroider for my tree, I try to choose something that reflects what I've been working on that year.  I date the ornament so my tree serves as a visual record of my journey as an embroideress.

It's late here, and I've been baking for Christmas all day, and as Samuel Pepys closed his diary on December 18th, 1668,  "and I to bed."


  1. It's delightful. I think you are right, the vine is a little heavy, but I suspect once the ornament is hanging up no-one will notice!

  2. I understand what you are conveying.However, you will always be your biggest critic!

  3. Hi Shirley - I'm not really criticizing my work - it's not a negative thing, but rather a chance to improve. I am always looking for ways to improve everything I do, right down to tweaking my weekly trash removal process to be certain it's the most efficient way to take the trash out : ) I'm an INTJ personality type and that's what we do. I actually enjoy it, but let's not look to deep in to why that is. I probably don't want to know : )


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