Great Lady’s Magazine Stitch-Off – 2

Medici Yarn

Medici Yarn

Gumnut And Filament Silk

Gumnut And Filament Silk


The pashmina, when it arrived, was a lovely caramel colour, with rather unanticipated silver spots on it, and it was a good deal flimsier than I was expecting. The others I have are all in fairly sturdy twill weaves. In truth, I’m not sure that would be easier, and if I ever finish this one, I may choose to find out..

Regular and long term readers of my blog will be aware that I have a thing about scale – scale of thread, scale of stitch, scale of weave. I’ve even discovered – much to my surprise – that the dreaded Plaited Braid Stitch isn’t always easier when it’s stitched wider and longer. So it will be no surprise that I spent a bit of time playing with various different threads to see what I thought of them, before settling on a final choice.

Silk - Filament And Stranded

Silk – Filament And Stranded

Gumnut And Appletons

Gumnut And Appletons

Scale isn’t the only concern, either. The right texture and sheen matter as well.

In the end I have settled on silks. The Medici yarn might have worked if I had had more of it, but I don’t think it is even made any more. The Appletons crewel wool was too heavy, and the Gumnut yarns (although I love them) somehow didn’t settle in comfortably.

Now I have to unpick my experiments and get started. I already have a newfound respect for any lady of the period who embroidered her muslin dresses, or her silk gauzes. There’s a story that Jane Austen embroidered a muslin dress with satin stitch spots, and the mere idea gives me cold shivers!

Although I doubt they had to contend with stuck-on paillettes!


  1. Lady Fi says:

    I love those silver spots – they are like lovely stars!

  2. Your test stitches are all gorgeous, and I think the sparkle on the Pashmina will look a really pretty background for the flowers!
    Barbara xx

  3. PennyBaugh says:

    I too love the silver spots — today they might be tiny snow flakes — tonight the stars. Your stitches are beautiful as always.

  4. jenclair says:

    So pretty, Rachel! The flowers in silk will be perfect.

  5. Cynthia says:

    This will be lovely, but I’m not too sure about the silvery spots. I know I’m in the minority here :).

  6. Sue Jones says:

    Hmm, the spots don’t quite seem to go. But maybe you could link them in by using sequins or shiny beads for the stamens? Or maybe not.
    Scale does matter – people often try to work designs too small for the fabric and threads.
    Just to encourage you, Jane Austen’s satin stitch spots might not have looked that good when they were finished. She’s more famous for her clever words than for perfect stitchery and there may be a reason for that!
    As you know, I’ve tried out the same sprig in shadow work on two fabrics so far. I am about to try it on a thin cotton from a handkerchief, to see how that goes, and whether the shadows show through enough. Experimenting is half – if not three-quarters – of the fun.

  7. karen says:

    I like the spots…they illuminate. Have i got this right…you are going to unpick all this beautiful stitching???/

  8. As always your stitching is beautiful, and as always I am looking forward to seeing the progress of this project!

  9. Carolyn says:

    I think you are right about the silk thread it does sit the best. And I’m with you concerning those ladies in the 1700’s.

  10. Alex Hall says:

    As ever, I’m amazed at your attention to detail. I’d have just grabbed the first set of threads I liked the colour of and got stuck in!! Now you’ve done the thread trials will there be more experiments for different colour ways?

  11. Anita says:

    This one is going to turn out so’ve planned and tried out so many options already ..kudos to your patience Rachel. I think silk threads will mute down the silver a little..

  12. […] her first experiments on this unamenable fabric, which we hope you’ll all pop over and visit here. It’s a shame she is going to …read […]

  13. It is so interesting to see how the different yarns/threads lays on the fabric and the care you’ve taken to try out each.

    Our oldest daughter gave me a collection of lovely silk embroidery threads that she picked up at a market in Shanghai. They are so fine that I’ve been scared to even try stitching with them yet. I’m not even sure how I should store them.

    I’m a bit late visiting… but thanks so much for linking up to last week’s Stitchery Link Party. Aloha hugs!

  14. Susan says:

    I like the background, even with spots. Did you stabilize it with something? You went to a lot of trouble to get just what you wanted in threads, and I know it will be lovely. I’ve thought about the English embroiderers, as so many books talk about them going into the village to pick up silk threads! I’ve always thought they did a lot of work and had plenty of time with households of servants, but how convenient to simply walk a mile into the village when you needed some threads!

  15. […] to produce a repetitive strain injury. It’s also not good – as I discovered with the pashmina for the Stitch Off – with a mobile fabric which is a little widely sett for the thickness of […]

  16. Sounds like a project that’s right up your street. I hope you’re happy with any progress you’ve made on this.