Tudor And Stuart Goldwork Masterclass – Month Fourteen

Plaited Braid Stitch In Pearl Cotton

Plaited Braid Stitch In Pearl Cotton

The Plaited Braid Stitch was one of the reasons I wanted to do this course. There are instructions in at least half of my books on embroidery, and I’ve watched Tracy Franklin demonstrate the stitch. I even spent a whole day practising it at one of her courses. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t, and frustratingly, I never felt I knew what I was getting wrong.

Consequently, when I sat down to tackle this month’s Stitch, I was expecting frustration and fury to reign. I started with Pearl Cotton, thinking that I would be less fretful about errors if I was not conscious of using an expensive thread. I watched the animation first, and although you can see that the first inch of my practising got very tangled up, I’m sure that it helped.

Plaited Braid Stitch In Gold

Plaited Braid Stitch In Gold

As I’ve repeatedly mentioned in my posts about this course, I’ve become acutely aware that the question of scale is critical to the success of some of these stitches. My first effort in pearl cotton was at too large a scale, and the thread floats were too floppy. In the case of the second trial, I reduced the size of the stitch, and suddenly found it coming together, which gave me some confidence that I was beginning to understand the structure of the stitch. The tension was still a little slack, but all in all, it was beginning to make sense.

So then I found a piece of scrap linen, and started playing with gold thread. Again the two rows are at slightly different scales, but now I really feel that I am going to master this stitch.

I also think I’ve cracked the problem of why the vast number of books I have on the subject don’t help. With the honourable exception of The Right Handed Embroiderer’s Companion, by Yvette Stanton of White Threads, they all use the same inadequate set of diagrams, presumably copied from an earlier publication. Furthermore, judging by the (slightly differing) diagrams in Tricia’s notes and Yvette’s book, they diagram the left-handed technique. Since all their other diagrams are for right-handers, these books provoke considerable confusion!  Still, I now know where to go when I need to be reminded how to do the stitch, and I feel confident that with a bit of practise I will be able to pick it up any time I need to.

And I will need to. I have a few ideas buzzing around in my head, and Plaited Braid Stitch will take its’ place in them!


  1. coral-seas says:

    Isn’t it wonderful when you hit that Aha! moment with a stitch or technique, when you suddenly realise that you have got it. It is something more than knowing the machanics of the stitch, it is really understanding it. I can feel your satisfaction from here. Well done!

  2. Lady Fi says:

    That bottom plait is fabulous!

  3. Elmsley Rose says:


    That bottom line in gold looks perfect!!

  4. Elmsley Rose says:

    So would you advise starting in Perle, but at a smaller scale?

  5. Glad you had some success, and thanks for giving my instructions a good report! I agree that your smaller scale efforts are much better. I personally feel that all the plaited braid stitch on the Faith jacket was the wrong scale for the size of gold thread used. I feel that they squashed the stitch length up to compensate for the thread being too thin, and that means that it doesn’t look right.

    I also find that the stiffness of a gold thread is much easier to work with than perle thread. The perle is just too floppy and doesn’t sit as easily as gold thread. Elmsley Rose, I wouldn’t suggest starting with perle. I’d use gold thread – but not awful Kreinik stuff in an effort to save some money – it is awful to work it with! Believe me, I’ve tried! 🙂

  6. karen says:

    I think your practising has paid off…the bottom one is perfect, well done.

  7. Janice says:

    Oh dear, I sense a new project coming on….! Well done on persevering, and (gulp!) – Month FOURTEEN?!!! That’s quite a commitment! But I know you’re getting such a lot out of it all.

  8. Jan says:

    Maybe the perle isn’t the best thread for the stitch, but if it helped you figure out the stitch, it’s worth it. And I agree the bottom row of gold stitching looks perfect! It’s good to hear that you’re enjoying this course work and you’re thinking of how to apply it to other projects. How long does this course last?

  9. Alex says:

    The gold plait looks lovely. Well done for your perseverance!

  10. That gold plait looks good and I agree with the others working with the perle thread just doesn’t cut it for this stitch.

  11. Susan says:

    “I’ve become acutely aware that the question of scale is critical to the success of some of these stitches. ”

    That, my friend, is a conclusion worth its weight in gold. I enjoyed your description and your trials of this stitch. And I also enjoyed Yvette’s impressions as well. Thanks for the discussion.

  12. […] may recall that the plaited braid stitch was one of the reasons I wanted to do the course. My post about tackling it mentioned that I felt I […]