The Three Embroideries

Three Embroideries

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Reminiscent of the Three Graces The Three Embroideries is a salute to needlework and three of its most popular forms. A trio of beautiful young women is portrayed, each clad in flowing robes worked in one of three different embroidery techniques.

The maiden to the left is the Muse of Canvaswork. Her robe is richly worked in a complex needlepoint stitch composed of a network worked in Waterlilies, filled with a stitch resembling an eyelet, but much easier, backstitched with gold, and embellished with a tiny bead. The robe itself is bordered with a golden braid, couched to follow the undulating lines of the cloak. Paillettes and beads embellish the braid of the robe, and the undergown is a simple, tiny needlepoint stitch worked in a subtle hue.

The center woman is the Muse of Counted Thread. Her cloak is a a blackwork pattern shaded in the traditional manner—by adding elements, and her undergown is embellished with a cross stitch pattern. At the throat of her cloak a gold fleur-de-lys serves as a closure.

The Muse of Surface Embroidery wears a glorious robe, indeed. It is lavishly covered in silk embroidery, but the designs are taken from crewel, and it resembles the blue and white designs of New England. A wide satin border edges the robe, and her undergown is simple lines worked in silk embroidery.

The hair styles of all three offer a further opportunity for needlework experimentation, employing various stitches to effect the appearance of human hair, and the background is a subtle, tone-on-tone darning pattern.

My inspiration for this design was a painting by Margaret McIntosh, wife of artist Charles Rennie McIntosh. Her painting is entitled The Three Perfumes and also depicts three women similarly arrayed, but the color treatment is totally different, and, of course, the perfumes do not wear embroidered gowns.

  • Time: 2 days
  • Proficiency Level: Solid Intermediate and Up
  • Kit cost: $110
  • Ground Fabric: Blue Congress Cloth