Did You But Hear My Lady..?

A Lovely Lady

A Lovely Lady

The Lady in the Garden, again came from a transfer, and was stitched as a companion to the Peacock, and a homage to Grandmama’s Lady. Unlike Grandmama, I made no effort to provide the lady with lovely graduated ruffles – if I am honest, because I really didn’t think I would finish them if I tried! Instead her dress is sprigged with flowers (in Sorbello stitch, which was rather fun!) and only ruffled around the hem.

Because I conceived of the Lady and the Peacock as a pair, I emphasised the flower colours around the lady, and worked some elements of her dress in one of the blues I used for the peacock.

Lady - Close Up

Lady - Close Up

The inside edge of the bonnet is ornamented with Rosette Chain stitch, while the outside is edged with closed feather stitch. This would also have been an ideal opportunity to use bonnet stitch, but I didn’t think of it in time! I also used Rosette Chain Stitch for the ruffles on the the lady’s collar. I like to use a variety of stitches – the trick is not to use so many that the eye becomes bewildered. Using a basic stitch and its variations is one way to maintain some sense of uniformity, as is keeping a small colour palette.

The bodice is in Bokhara Couching, and the sleeves outlined in coral stitch. I’m surprised at how well this works – it should look thorny, and heavy, but somehow manages to evoke an airy gauze sleeve. How does that work?

Skirt - Close Up

Skirt - Close Up

The bows above the flounce of the skirts are in satin stitch, and the impression of the flounce is given by lines of chain stitch. Almost all the visual weight of the dress is at the bottom, and the airy sprigging on the skirt allows the flowers to take some of the limelight.

Again the stitching is simple – fishbone stitch for the leaves, detached chain stitch and French knots for the flowers, and as almost all the threads were variegated, I got a lot of subtle – and not so subtle! – colour variation “for free” as it were.

I had already worked the Jacobean Fire Screen when I started work on the Peacock and the Lady, and was beginning to feel that I should do some more designing for myself. I will probably still use other designers’ work, because sometimes I want to concentrate on a particular thread or technique (as in the Tudor and Stuart Goldwork Masterclass) rather than the design. Besides, who knows what else I will find in the archives to write about!

The title of this post – for those who are scrabbling around in their memory – is the first line of “Silent Worship“, written by George Frederick Handel as an aria in his opera Tolomeo, but far more popular than anything else in it. Beware if you Google it – the last time I did so the first two links were for ringtones!


  1. coral-seas says:

    Ah! I can hear your lady as she goes down the garden singing, … shaming the rose and lily, for she is twice as fair.

    Again, lovely use of the varigated threads. The flowers on her skirt provide a lightness that I like. I wonder if the guazy because the coral stitch looks a little fuzzy where as backstitch or stem stitch may have looked stiffer. It is interesting how much the choice of stitch can alter the look of something. The Sorbello stitch flowers were an inspired choice.

  2. karen says:

    Grandma’s Lady is so approprite as she definitely remionds me of my Grandma. I have one of these transfers that I will never use, I keep it because of the memories it provokes.

  3. Janice says:

    It’s beautiful, Rachel. Your choice of stitches is perfect. I have some of those transfers too. I found them in my mum’s old cookery books after she died, but as I’ve told you before, I also remember cushion covers in this style at my granma’s house, and I suspect it was my mum who did them.