Starting on the Tudor Rose

Tudor Rose  - First Stage

Tudor Rose – First Stage

Having finished the embroidery on the Glittering Nightcap – even if I haven’t assembled it yet – I decided that I would allow myself to begin on the Tudor Rose. The goal of this course is to introduce stitches and effects that combine silk and metal thread – in the same stitch, not in the same thread – and I am hoping that it will give me ideas for tackling representations of ancient Egyptian jewellery for the Dreams of Amarna.

Interlaced Back Stitch

Interlaced Back Stitch

The first element is a fairly simple one, in effect a version of Pekinese Stitch, but with three rows of back stitch for the base, and a metal thread used for the interlacing. The challenge here is in making sure that the silk thread is sufficiently loosely stitched to make the interlacing possible, without being so loosely stitched that nothing stays in its’ place. Since the metal thread structure is of a core wrapped around with a fine film, when the thread is bent, the film sometimes stands away from the core, catching on the silk. Another key for Tricia in this course – as in fact in all her courses – is learning to be aware of the use to which a particular thread was intended to be put. We need not restrict ourselves to that use, but we do need to be aware of it!

First Two Leaves

First Two Leaves

I rather suspect Tricia of letting us in gently, here, because the next element she describes is also fairly simple. The leaves are outlined in reverse chain stitch, in silk, and then filled using alternating rows of reverse chain in gold and in silk.

I hasten to add I have no objection to being let in gently – I’ve looked at the instructions for some of the later elements and rather expect a deal of unpicking to happen, so I’ve been able to enjoy handling the silk threads, which are quite heavy, but soft and “lofty” so they don’t punish the fabric unduly. If you look closely at this photo you will see that the olive green used for the stem is slightly thinner than the more emerald green thread used for the leaves. The weight matches nicely with the gold thread, so the more complicated elements that are coming up should look well balanced.


  1. coral-seas says:

    I also had no objection to being let in gently. It is good to get a feel for the threads before tackling some of the more complex stitches. I really like the look of the combined silk and gold threads. This is looking good.

  2. Sue Jones says:

    I think you’ll have fun working through these stitches, even if it’s the sort of fun that involves rude words and fuming when you have to undo things on the way.
    You can do Pekinese loops around a variety of stitches – coral knot stitch works very well, for example – and you can loop on both sides and/or change the number of stitches worked from ‘forward two back one’ to forward three back two, and others. It’s one of those versatile stitch ideas that are good to have in your mental toolbox when you have a stiff-ish thread that you don’t want to pass through the fabric and you want a change from just couching.

  3. Janice says:

    Ooh, how fab is that interlaced back stitch?! What’s that quote….. ‘Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist.’ I know you’ll enjoy working on this, Rachel, and look forward to seeing it progress.

  4. elaine says:

    beautiful work Rachel! I am still learning with silk and metal threads, I look forward to watching this design progress.

  5. wendy says:

    I’ve seen another blogger working on this, I’ll be interested to watch it progress.

  6. Penny says:

    You’ve made a beautiful start – always nice to start gently. Looking at the pics, enlarged so we can really see the stitches, gives on the false illusion of their being larger than life. I can only imagine, especially for in inexperienced stitcher like myself, how it is to work with the thin, small bits of thread that make up these stitches.

  7. It looks wonderful – as usual I enlarged the photos for a closer look. I am looking forward to seeing how it progresses.

  8. Carolyn says:

    That looks interesting and as pekenese is one of my favourite stitchesIt is good to see it used in a slightly different way. I will follow this piece with interest.

  9. karen says:

    I love the contrast between the gold and the silk thread…..and I also love the quote from Janice!

  10. Lady Fi says:

    Love that stitch!

  11. Alex says:

    Lovely contrast between the metal and the silk and having enlarged the photos for a better look, I really admire how well you’ve controlled the metal thread. You make it look very easy!

  12. Penny Berens says:

    People seem to think my work takes a lot of patience but, my oh my, Rachael…nothing like yours! You are amazing.

  13. I love that interlacing. Gorgeous 🙂