My work order for the trinket box side is

  1. the butterfly (silk thread)
  2. the flower stem (silver passing)
  3. outlining the motif (gold twist)
  4. silk wrapped purl

Silk thread always goes down before the metal thread because otherwise it can catch on the metal thread stitched onto the ground and be damaged. The s-w purl goes down last, using the same principle, and also because it can be accidentally crushed.

I’ve done the butterfly…..


Satin Stitching

Satin Stitching

I tore up a few suga of a thread at the chinline with a single swipe of the point of my laying tool, so pulled them down to the side and secured them using just a few suga from the matching thread. Those are secure stitches for a waste knot over on the wing.

Long and short stitching

Long and short stitching


Outlining and an eye

Outlining and an eye

I’ve found darkest brown works better than black for outlining – it’s not as stark, but still shows up well. A personal choice. From my observations, outlining of motifs in the original period embroidery could be

  1. a shade a bit darker than to the darkest shade used in the motif,  (particularly when the outline was gimp)
  2. a dark brown
  3. less common : the drawn outline left exposed
  4. I’ve seen a couple of examples where a light coloured thread was used for outlining
  5. You can tell when black thread was used, because the thread has broken/come away/stained the ground because of the black’s acidic properties.

but whichever approach was used, it remained consistent throughout the piece.

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10 Responses
  1. meri says:

    Well done! Congrats and thanks for sharing.

  2. Sue Jones says:

    Ahh! What a dear little butterfly. That tiny catch with the laying tool has given the face so much character. A great start to this panel, Megan.
    Absolutely agree about black outlines – very dark brown is a much less harsh contrast with fabric and thread. And modern black is probably colder and bluer than old black dyes, even the ones that vanished.

    • Megan says:

      That’s a good point about modern black.
      The tiny catch does look like a little mouth part, doesn’t it!

  3. Rachel says:

    Love his little beady eye! And yes, dark brown makes a better outline than black – actually in almost all contexts, not just historical!

  4. The outlining is great it really pops the butterfly.

  5. Megan says:

    I love outlining for that very reason

  6. Anna says:

    I love your butterfly Megan – he almost looks a bit cheeky, like he is up to something. Look forward to seeing the daffodil unfold. I have never done much in loop stitch so it will be very interesting to follow. Anna

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