12 Little Needle Cases

August: St. Catherine in her Golden Splendor

This needlework piece is part of my ongoing exploration of different medieval embroidery styles. A full explanation of the project can be found here.

There have been four posts thus far about this tiny needle case. In the first, I discussed my plans for the needle case including drafting the pattern and selection of materials. In the second I marveled at how long a split stitch face takes to stitch. In the third, I discussed in detail the way I planned to go about the goldwork. And now, I display the finished product in her splendor.

I wouldn’t have gotten very far without the help of Tanya Bentham’s book Opus Anglicanum. Her tips on how to go about these goldwork fills were invaluable.

I started with St. Catherine’s Crown, and then moved to her gown. I learned about the best stitch lengths for my gold thread, and where I could take short cuts in the brick stitches as I stitched.

Beginning with Brick Stitch

When the crown was done I moved on to the decorative bits of Catherine’s Robe.

The right most bit of goldwork pictured above is the edge of Catherine’s gown that I tried to do in a different kind of decorative goldwork stitch.

This part was a challenge because I knew I wanted something that would contrast both the brick stitch and the chevron stitches, and I would say it was partially successful.

I then filled in the “shadows” of her gown with more brick stitch and the rest of the gown in chevrons. And before I knew it I was done with the goldwork!

The final stitching before removing the linen!

Then I very carefully and patiently snipped away the linen cloth trimming it with incredibly sharp scissors.

And last but not least, I added the beaded crown.

The final Saint Catherine

Final Thoughts

This needle case was a time consuming delight. I am so thankful to have such good goldwork teachers and resources to learn from. I loved nearly every minute of stitching. I also think that given the shapes I tried to recreate, Catherine looks very good. Her white linen background is nearly completely covered by the gold thread. And, while it may appear that there is quite a bit of white showing in the pictures, remember that Catherine is a wee 2″ tall!

I do think that If I did a similar project again I would make a full sized figure, as it is difficult to understand the drapery being it is but a tiny snippet of a person. But this was a great entry into this style of stitching and I love the result. She is a keeper for sure!

Next month we will be working on something completely different!


If you like this project, enjoy my patterns and would like to support my art, you can donate using Ko-Fi by clicking this button:
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