Earlier this year I was asked whether I would be able to make a reproduction garter, similar to the one worn by Henry VIII. The garter was born by members of the Order of the Garter, and traditionally stitched on blue velvet using gold thread and couching techniques. You can read more about the Order of the Garter here- http://www.heraldicsculptor.com/Garters.html
Initially I was quite nervous about this commission. I had never done any goldwork before, although had read many books on the technique and frequently admired examples of it.
I started by re-drawing out the letters - "honi soit qui mal y pense" and then got to work with stitching the letter outline onto the velvet. This was worked in a single strand of silk thread. This was from the Silk Mill, and for those interested the shade was Vintage Gold 4085. This thread was also used as a passing thread to secure the bullion.
This was stitched through two layers of velvet that had been lined with linen. Once the letters were on the couching began. I found it useful to attach the start of the thread to the material with a pin, so I could keep my hands free to hold the material and attach the bullion thread securely with the passing thread. the thread used for the couching was a Bright Bullion No. 2 from Berlin Embroidery - http://www.berlinembroidery.com/bullions.htm#wirebullion
. This was really nice thread to work with, and easy to manoveur into the shapes needed for the letters.
I initially stitched to quote with 'male' but whipped off the 'e' due to a lack of references, so 'mal' it was!
The letters took just over a day to couch down, and after this is started work on couching the border. This went pretty quickly once it was started and the garter embroidery seemed to be finished in no time at all.
In total I think I was working on it for about 5 days. Enamelled Tudor roses have also been attached between each of the words. It still needs a buckle attaching, and the excess material cut off so it can be stitched into the correct size for the garter and then it will be totally complete!! I should probably have waited until that was done until Iposted, but I was very excited about sharing this project. I will upload a pic of the totally finished garter when it is done
It should be making it's first outing at Blickling Hall over 17th/18th of June.
Working away!! -
Overall, this has been a very enjoyable project, and I thoroughly enjoyed my first *proper* go at goldwork!! I am now hoping to maybe attend some courses in Goldwork in order to improve my confidence and technique with this fantastic form of embroidery.
Thank you for reading, V x