Floral Glove Needlecase – More Progress

Floral Glove Needlecase - progress

Floral Glove Needlecase - progress

It became clear as I was working on the medallions that I was having more trouble with this than I had with the silk work or couching the Elizabethan Twist, so I thought I would give a sort of “interim report”.

The medallions are outlined with three couched rows of slightly stretched purl purl or lizardine, one of which is wrapped with silk. That in itself was fairly hair-raising (it sounds so simple, but believe me, it isn’t!), and yes, I know that the outlines aren’t perfect and you can see the joins, but they did get neater. The man who said “The more I practice the better I get” was onto something!

The tendrils are slightly stretched lizardine again – stretched by a different amount, just to make sure we paid attention! Then the silk of the motifs is covered with couched lengths of purl, like the calyxes of the carnations.  It is surprisingly difficult to cut this stuff accurately – the instructions say to use an old pair of embroidery scissors, which I did, but I find myself wondering whether a sharp craft knife would do the job better. Certainly there would be less chance of crushing the thread. Purl is very fine wire, wound spirally around a former, and when the scissors crush it, the ends are bent out of shape and catch on the thread as you try to thread it through. Since purl is attached by threading it like a bead, this isn’t ideal; even waxing the thread only helps some of the time.

It’s astonishing to see the difference made to the medallion on the left when I added the seed pearl in the centre. I thought it looked neat and finished as it was, but adding the pearl brought the whole thing to life. Now there’s a lesson worth remembering – a small change can make a huge difference to the impression given by a piece. At least embroiderers can undo some of their additions. If you add something to a watercolour that turns out to be a mistake, there’s nothing you can do about it!

Still, I do think I am beginning to get the hang of it. Now it will be interesting to see whether I’ve slid all the way back to the start, or whether, when I continue on the next medallion, I retain some of the improvement I made yesterday.


  1. Lady Fi says:

    Those medallions are just amazing! It’s like sewing in 3D!

  2. Janice says:

    It’s looking good to me, Rachel. And if you improve as you go along then you can always develop a slightly different design and come at it with your new techniques firmly under your belt! I’ve used a thread like the one you describe – wound around a central core thread, and I remember it being very difficult to work with. Can’t remember what it was for – certainly nothing as fine and delicate as this, that’s for sure. It’s interesting that some aspects of embroidery are not about your skill in placing and executing the stitches, but in your control of the materials being used.

  3. karen says:

    stunning work, gorgeous.

  4. Elmsley Rose says:

    Wow – beautiful!