More progress on the Little Jacket

I decided that I was going to work all the major stems in one of the Braid Stitches, so I spent quite a bit of time revisiting Plaited Braid Stitch, the ordinary Braid Stitch, and others. For a while that was a little painful.

First of all, I was reminded that these stitches don’t stay in your hands the way (say) Feather Stitch does, and then secondly I was reminded that they are very thread-hungry. It’s (almost) all on the front, where you get the benefit of it, but metres get swallowed up in short order. And I knew there would be metres of whatever-stitch-I-chose. My stash doesn’t run to that sort of length, but having performed a few experiments, I realised that sock yarn would be perfectly useable, given the fabric I’m working on.

I finally chose to work Holly Braid Stitch, which I experimented with in 2014 when I was working on the Glittering Nightcap. I’d found it in Jacqui Carey’s book “Elizabethan Stitches”, and after some struggles it had worked pretty well. This time I tied myself in so many knots with it that I asked for help in the Historic Hand Embroidery group on fb, only to find that very few people had attempted it. However, those who did were very helpful, and several very intrigued people asked me could I video it if I got it to work…

So I have. What you see here is probably not enough to learn the stitch from without also following Jacqui’s diagrams and instructions, but I think it helps with the “workflow” of the stitch, which is not well represented in those diagrams, I suspect purely because, as a braidmaker, she thinks differently about the way a stitch works.

Once I had the stitch down pat, I bought a rather gorgeous sock yarn (Woodland Fire from The Yarn Gallery), and whenever I wasn’t sure about the details I wanted to add to a flower or leaf, I just kept on with the stems..

And on. And on!

And now, Episode 72 of Slow TV Stitchery is now live, in which we encounter difficulties in working a pattern backwards, experiment with French Knots, and recall “Leaving the Tyne”.


  1. Jen Mullen says:

    That braid is gorgeous, and I can see how it would eat up the thread–but the effect is wonderful and so is that Woodland Fire sock yarn!

  2. Alex Hall says:

    Wow, gorgeous and complex but the effect is stunning.

  3. Sue Jones says:

    I like the holly braid in the variegated yarn. It will give a lot of interest to the “boring” stems, while also adding a nice balance between uniformity and randomness. A good choice.

  4. Oh you are a dangerous woman!! Not only have I ordered the Elizabethan Embroidery book, you’ve introduced me to a delectable wool shop when I am just starting to reduce the extensive stash! I shall excuse myself yet another addition to my shelves by taking it to our first Sussex Stitchers face to face meeting in September to share with others, thereby conferring an educational aspect to the purchase. I have no equivalent excuse for the remainder of my library!!
    I love the stitch you are using on your river, it really works well, I was doubtful at first but the variety of tone and colour are balancing the piece very successfully and the French knots add the right element of froth without being obtrusive. Have you discovered Paintbox Threads as a source of deliciousness? She does some really lovely silks, both solid and variegated colours.
    You comment on the dangers of unpicking. As one who is has a tendency to not start something until she thinks she knows exactly how it will turn out, I can see that the “lets just go for it and see what happens” approach results in a great deal more lovely, and successful stitching 🙂
    And on a musical note, have you come across Hirundo Maris? I was listening to them recently and thought what enjoyable music to stitch to.
    I assume the little barking dog in the background of your latest video doesn’t reside with you? I thought for a minute my neighbour’s dog had come looking for me again. She’s 11 months old, thinks our garden is an extension of her own, looks like a miniature version of Saint Hubert’s and is my best, and most excitable friend; the cats are less enthusiastic 🙂

  5. Sheryl says:

    A beautiful stitch Rachel and the thread is just perfect. Don´t think I could work this without a hoop.