Spring 2024: Google ended its email subscription service in 2021. I believe I've found a replacement, but haven't had time to test it. I have been stitching a little bit here and there and have some posts ready for when the email subscription is active again. Fingers crossed, I'll have time to rouse this blog out of its dormancy sometime this year.

01 December 2017

Fine Lines

One thing I've noticed on Society Silk embroideries is that there is an unending array of edge treatments. Except for some of the simpler edges, I don't think I've seen the same edge design twice!

Society Silk Violets: variety of edges on extant Society Silk examples
Examples of Society Silk edges

Before stitching the scalloped edges on my antique project, I knew I had to figure out what I wanted to do with the round shape at the one end. (I call it a curl.)

I found a curl on an authentic piece that was similar to my scallop and used it as a model. Then I determined the stitching order and decided to stitch towards the curls. I wanted the end to curve back towards the already stitched line. This meant buttonhole stitching in different directions (see arrows below).

Society Silk Violets: stitch plan for embroidering the border

I stitched one scallop as a test and it had its issues. It turns out that the design lines were too faint and I couldn't really see what I was doing. My old eyes didn't help and neither did magnification. The result was some very uneven edges, especially the inside edge. It was hard to tell if the inner line was really the design line or a shadow. I didn't pull it out. It wasn't bad enough to make me want to restitch it!

So I refreshed the the lines with a chalk pencil and tried adding a line and centre dot with a Micron pen in the curls. I wasn't sure about using the Micron pen, but the dot I had initially put in with the chalk pencil disappeared as I stitched, which made it difficult to keep track of the centre of the curl. It seemed like the dot was moving as I stitched around the curl.

Society Silk Violets: using a mechanical pencil to help with embroidery

I was concerned that the Micron could be too dark and might possibly show through the white threads. I also just didn't like the idea of using a MIcron on my antique stamped linen. The chalk pencil isn't permanent, the Micron is. I'm kind of commitment-phobic when it comes to drawing on embroidery fabric.

It was time to stitch more scallops which I embroidered in hand, by the way. The refreshed lines definitely yielded better results, but it took me a while to settle into the buttonhole stitch. They got better (i.e., more even) the more I stitched.

Society Silk Violets: some completed edging with white silk floss

The buttonholing drove me crazy. The seemingly endless embroidering of white thread on a light coloured background and the same stitch over and over was mind-numbingly boring, but I persevered and finished off half of the border (eight scallops).

Society Silk Violets: more of the completed embroidered edge in white Japanese silk floss

I ended up using the chalk pencil for the line/dot on the curls instead of the Micron. I was able to cover the MIcron, but it was easier to cover the chalk pencil. I just made a harder line with the chalk pencil instead of the light lines I usually mark.

I'm very happy with the look of the border. The modern white thread has a lovely sheen that goes well with the in-your-face bling of the antique threads.

Society Silk Violets: two embroidered violet bunches and half of the edge completed

Now, it's time to have some dessert (aka: stitch more violets).


  1. This was an informative article. I now want to take out some of my vintage doilies, lace pieces I have and study the borders and other stitches.

    1. Careful. Looking at these things too much can lead to wanting more of them! ;-)

  2. Thank you for informathion . Look beautiful !!!

  3. Border is looking good.