Kimberly Servello's Embroidery Blog

Kimberly Servello - Pattern Drawer and Embroideress

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Stitching Beautifully

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful , or believe to be beautiful."

William Morris

Mariana by Sir John Everett Millais @ Tate

I embroider because I have a deep need to create beauty.  The act of embroidering is equally as meaningful to me as that which I am creating.  From tools to threads, everything in my surroundings must minister to a feeling of loveliness, enriching my enjoyment of the experience.

To this end I've created many embroidery accoutrements that I've shared on this site previously. 

At times this aestheticism has made me do things others would surely consider eccentric.  As when the thread manufacturers began packaging threads in cellophane bags.  -- What a clever move on their part.  The crystal clarity of the bags made thread colors pop.   -- I secretly added the bags to my stash.  

I say secretly because I was somewhat sheepish about this small peculiarity.  But not enough to stop.  After selecting threads for a new project, I would place them in cellophane bags arranged with those embroidery tools to be used for the project. I would then admire them for a week or so before I began to stitch.  A guilty but harmless pleasure.

By serendipity I came across a new product at my local needlework shop  -  Vinyl Project Zipper Bags by Access Commodities.  They're made from a thick durable vinyl with a very high sheen.  I immediately realized they would do the same thing for my embroidery fibers as the cellophane bags.  

The shop had 2 bags.  I bought both of them, planning to put my new project threads in them.  The shop reordered.  By that time I'd thought of other uses for them.  I bought all of those but one - I didn't want to be greedy, after all. 
You may have noticed the ribbons on the zippers of my bags. I use a bit of some frippery that matches the project.   It's a great way to use up those bits of opulent ribbons too small to do anything with, but too beautiful to discard.  If you set aside the project for awhile you can also tie the color same ribbon on the slate frame so you'll know which threads go with the project at a glance.

What else do I use them for?  

*Storing current knitting projects

*They make great gift bags for gifts for your stitching friends, making the gift look that much more enchanting

*Storing those needlework smalls - pin keeps, scissor fobs, etc - not currently in use

Needlework Eye-Candy.  I hope you find one or two in your Easter basket this year.  (Don't worry, I've bought as many as I can use for the moment).


  1. They do put a rather fantastic gloss on the threads, don't they!

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    2. They do! The photographs don't do them justice - they look much better "in person". At $4.00 they aren't expensive either.

      Are the Access Commodities products available in needlework shops in the UK? Of course, you have the real deal with both Golden Threads and Benton & Johnson manufacturing the threads right there. Fortunate for you - I'd love to live in England!

  2. Yummy!
    I understand how you feel so well and is lovely to have care of such beautiful materials, this is a reflection of our passion for embroidery too I believe.
    I see some Mulberry Silk spools, can I ask wich kind are you using and for what stitching ? Needlelace ?
    Thank you !

    1. Francesca,

      You were spot on - those are Mulberry Silk spools. I use their full range of thicknesses from 120/3(finest) to 30/3. They're good for blackwork, needlelace, raised work, and the surface Elizabethan stitches (i.e: detached buttonhole, trellis, etc). They give a nice texture to the Eliz. stitches. Have you tried them yet?

      I can tell from the photographs on your blog and those you post on our Facebook group that you also like caring for beautiful materials. I sometimes wonder if my love of fine fabrics comes from my Italian heritage (I am part Italian, part British in heritage). There is no one else in my family who does embroidery or anything like it. Do you have any family that share your love of it?


    2. Thank you Kimberly; I have in hands a range from Mulberry of the 40/3 (also called Filament 649 nett shiny silk)wich is finer than 30/3 and very shiny as is a filament. But 30/3 seems me still a bit too tick; the real problem is that I have never seen a real old 17th C. needlelace so is difficult for me to imagine the tickness used at that time an compare with modern materials. Have to say that the 40/3 gives a well defined DBH /or other needlelace stitches. Also is very twisted...I will have to decide if I want something giving a nice texture and that is easy to use or something matching the historical thread that was finer and not so twisted....dilemma.

      You are right, I'm in love with materials, specially with silk. And I love colours, toned and muted ones. Your Italian and British heritage surely has an influence on your taste, both culture countries are lover of all is beauty.
      My grandmother was a great embroiderer but I have never known her and my mother was a dressmaker for Gattinoni fashion factory but she never embroidered. But I know part of my taste comes from hers.

    3. Oh, yes, I recall you telling me of your grandmother before. How lucky for you! It is in your blood.

      I have seen some historical pieces and those all used finer threads. Maybe even finer than 30/3 some times. But the texture on the 40/3 is gorgeous so I wouldn't hesitate to use it as well. However, I'm not concerned about historical accuracy. I want to add something of myself to the design, rather than do a strict reproduction. I have changed in that way over the last 5 years. I suspect that happens to many who start out with reproductions. But, I still want to have a good working knowledge of how textiles were made in the past. That's important.

      You do lovely work. I would have given your pomegranate mirror 1st place! It's exquisite!

    4. Thank you for your kind words, are much appreciated !
      I agree with you , personality on embroidery is so important otherwise one gets only a copy of an old work. Every good artist starts from observing an copying old works from masters, then evolve getting a personal style, it's a natural process that attests that one got experiece and has done a correct journey. So is for you and is well noticeable from the lovely creations you make.

      About threads, I considering the 40/3 a great option but I'm also trying silks from The Silk Mill. I could define it a 40/2 just to give an idea, so a bit finer than 40/3. I think is nice too, will make a good sample compared with the 40/3 and post a photo on our FB group . They have 600 colours available wich is never bad !

  3. What a nice blog Kimberly..
    I love "typewriter" you have (lol) ... nice writing

    interstings bags to see tools for new projects..

    Thanks to share !!

    1. Thanks for joining the conversation. I love your idea for linen curtains on your etsy shop. They're beautiful and must look very cool in your hot climate.

  4. I just found your blog - it's absolutely beautiful! I love color in a world that seems obsessed with white:) Can't wait to see the piece you are working on when it's finished - with those rich colors (that you can see in the bag:)

    1. Welcome JoeyLea,

      Thank you for your kind comment. I agree that it would be impossible to live without color. I love the white on white look of antique monograms and would like to embroidery something with that look, but find it too difficult to leave colors behind to do so!

      Happy Stitching,


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