Kimberly Servello's Embroidery Blog

Kimberly Servello - Pattern Drawer and Embroideress

Monday, January 2, 2012

Christmas Ornament Inspired by Trevelyon's 1608 Miscellany

The holly bears a berry as red as any blood,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ to do poor sinners good.

The holly bears a prickle as sharp
as any thorn, 
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ on Christmas Day in the morn.

from The Holly and the Ivy carol

For those of you who didn't see the post about this ornament in July, I've included it here again as the last of the Christmas ornaments I'll blog about this Christmas season.
The inspiration for this diminutive purse  - it's 2-1/4" wide x 4" high - came from a miscellany written by Thomas Trevelyon in 1608.  A miscellany, or commonplace book,  is a collection of a variety of things, somewhat akin to today's scrapbook.  Among the other interesting items in Trevelyon's 1608 Miscellany is a wonderful collection of early 17th century embroidery designs!

You can see the miscellany on line on the Folger Shakepeare Library's website.  If I ever met Thomas Trevelyon in some time warp or other world,  I'd have to take him to task regarding his opinions of women.  BUT, I'd still give him a big kiss for adding embroidery designs to his miscellany, thus preserving this rare treat for us! 

This holly motif is a detail from one of the panel designs in Trevelyon's Miscellany.  His designs left the choice of stitches to fill the motifs to the embroiderer.  Even better!

Spiral Trellis for the berries seemed obvious - love their 3-dimensional effect here.  

I wanted real gold included for its sparkle, so I couched #5 smooth passing wire for the holly branches.  And I added spangles  - got to have the Bling!

I tried something new with the goldwork on the leaf veins.  I started out with Chain stitch that metamorphosed into Van Dyke stitch as the vein travelled down the leaf, thereby using the 'legs' on Van Dyke to represent the finer leaf veins.

The outer edge of the purse is stitched in Heavy Broad (creating the red edge you see in this side shot).

The colors were chosen to match my Christmas china that can be seen in the photo backgrounds.

I enjoy choosing the lining fabric as much as deciding what threads/ stitches to use.  This purse is lined with a gorgeous matching moire - which makes for a posh little treat when you open it. (You can see it peeping out in the 2nd photo.)

After seeing the chain Patty designed for my blackwork purse, I would like to make a large chain for this purse so I can wear it during the holidays.  There's another project for 2012.

Thanks to Everyone for reading my blog and for your comments.  Have a wonderful Twelfth Night and a Happy New Year!



  1. Oh wow, it is so beautiful! Actually all of your ornaments are. I like this one the best though :)


  2. The chain -> vandyke! What a marvellous idea! That opens up a whole new spectrum of ideas....

  3. How did you print those designs? There does not appear to be a way to print those page sized on the folger website.

    1. I didn't print the designs, but I recall someone telling me they did. They said they printed them as full 8.5 x 11 pics.

      There is a way to download them to your computer as a jpeg. From there you could print them. It's been awhile since I was on the site. If you need help downloading them, let me know.

  4. Thanks. Do I have to download them one page at a time? Sorry, I am an okay embroideress, but I failed (no kidding) art class in college so printing etc is usually how it works for me. :-)

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