Kimberly Servello's Embroidery Blog

Kimberly Servello - Pattern Drawer and Embroideress

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Rose Motif on the Enchanted Shawl

“...and with her neeld (needle) composes
Nature’s own shape, of bud, bird,     branch, or berry,
That even her art sisters the natural roses;
Her inkle, silk, twin with the rubied cherry...”

Shakespeare -  Pericles

The inspiration for the techniques used on my rose motif came from a pillow cover (Acc no. 43.254)  at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston .   The museum's online photo doesn't do justice to the embroidery.  The pillow case has many, what I am terming, 'semi-raised' motifs...meaning that they're technically raised embroidery, but not as 3-dimensional as you find on the period caskets.   Various techniques were used to achieve this effect, which I plan to incorporate in my shawl.  These work wonderfully where you want a somewhat 3-dimensional representation, but need to take into consideration that this is a piece that will ultimately be worn.  The semi-raised motifs greatly reduce the peril of snags!

The stem is worked in Reverse Chain with Single Buttonhole Edge.  I chose this because I felt the Buttonhole Edge gives the fibrous appearance of an actual rose stem.

The dark green leaf on the stem and the sepals (modified leaves at the base of the flower) are Detached Buttonhole.

The yellow, 'under petals' are worked in Detached Buttonhole.

The red petals are worked in both Detached Buttonhole and Needlelace.  They were executed in place, on the shawl, necessitating that they be worked before the under petals.

I added the green, stem stitched accents because I felt the red petals needed one, and they are meant to imitate a striated rose petal.

The last photo gives you a peek into the inside of the rose.  I feel there should be a pleasant curiosity here, so I will be adding stamens - probably worked in Bullions.

I used Au Ver a Soie Perlee in the following colors:
499 red
241 yellow
199 pistachio green
491 dark green (leaf on flower stem)


  1. Could you please explain "in both DBS and needlelace" ?


    1. Well, I was taught that Needlelace is when you create a motif, here it would a petal, on a separate piece of linen and then attach it to your embroidery. That's how the Elizabethans supposedly worked those pea pods that lift to show the peas. Now for this rose petal, I worked the first few rows in place, as plain DBH. But when I got to the area that would lift up (so that you can see the yellow petal underneath) I changed from regular DBH to Needlelace, right there on my project. So, the first few rows are outlined in Reverse Chain then filled with DBH. The remaining rows were outlined with a strand of thread that was couched to my brown linen, then I filled it with DBH, and then cut away the couching threads so that it now lifts away from the linen.

      I could have chosen to work the whole red petal as Needlelace and attach it after I made the gold petal, but it seemed like extra work to me. Why trace the petal onto another piece of linen ( the linen is wasted once you're done making the petal) when I already had the petal drawn out on my brown linen? I'll bet some Elizabethan stitchers did the same thing in their time.

      I hope I made this clear enough. When I get a chance, I will add it to my stitch tutorials.


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