14th century hood with roses for Elisenda de Luna,  14th century projects,  Embroidery,  Embroidery Patterns,  Gold Thread,  Materials,  Medieval Embroidery,  Pelicans,  Projects,  Rose,  Silk Thread,  Surface Couching

First sneak peek at a new embroidery project – a 14th century hood for a friend or roses, roses, roses,… :)

2016-07 - Racaire - 14th century hood - roses - surface couching - hand embroidery - medieval embroidery - SCAAnd todays posting is all about roses! …or to be more specific: embroidered roses! Well, you know me, I love me some good rose embroidery from time to time… 😉

After all my sewing related postings concerning my husbands new tunic, the time has finally come to show you some of my hand embroidery again!

And as it happens, I just quite recently started a new embroidery project. Not only that, I already worked several hours on this project and therefore already have a nice sneak peek for you of:

…a 14th century hood with roses (and maybe one or two pelicans)
for my dear friend Elisenda de Luna! 😀

Well, this new 14th century hood project was on my to-do list for quite some time. Unfortunately, due to mundane life and several other projects in the mean time (like the 14th century hood project for the elevation of Sir Thomas Blackmoore), I was not able to start working on this project until very recently. But in my defense – I never forgot about this project. A small fabric pile in my crafting room served as a constant reminder that I owe my dear friend Elisenda a lovely hood…

To be honest with you, inspiration not always comes easy to me. Sometimes the lightning of inspiration strikes me down instantly and without warning but in some rare cases – like this one – it takes quite a while. I hesitated several months to start with this project because I only had a very basic design idea. And regardless what I did to change that, my brain just refused to come up with a specific design layout. I was really torn between the urge to create something really special for an awesome lady and the lack of ideas of how I could turn the fabric she gave me into an embellishment that is worthy to be placed on her hood…

And then, after receiving the great news about my new immigration status, it felt like a heavy weight was suddenly lifted off my shoulders. It was like “Eureka!” – I got it….
Ok, well, let me rephrase that – I “just” got a lovely idea of how I could create some beautiful roses for her hood. And though I still wasn’t sure about how I would like to execute the rest of the embroidery, this initial sparkle was all I needed to finally start working on her 14th century hood project. And I immediately pulled out the small fabric stash and started to cut out the hood pattern…

Now, that I think about it, it seems like I started several of my favorite embroidery projects this way. Sometimes an initial sparkle of inspiration for just a certain detail led to a project which completely surprised myself as I really didn’t anticipate the final result. Well, what shall I say, whenever inspiration hits like a lightning strike, the urge to create can become just overwhelming and the results can be quite surprising….

It’s funny – from time to time I already caught myself being fascinated by how a project develops and grows before my inner eye while I am still working on giving life to my initial inspiration… Sometimes I just started a project without even knowing what the outcome will be – by just letting the seed of inspiration take root and bloom with every single stitch I add to it…

But enough about my personal inspiration madness, it’s time to look at the hand embroidered roses which I just finished – enjoy! 😀


As you can see on the picture above, I was already able to finish two roses for my new hood project. Though these embroidered roses might not seem like a lot of work at the first look, the amount of tiny stitches involved makes creating this roses quite time consuming.

Now let’s take a look at the very first rose I made:


I emphasized the rose design according to the wishes of my friend. But I also managed to sneak in a little tiny pelican into the middle of this rose to also incorporate the “Order of the Pelican”.

Btw. a short information for all of you who are not SCA members or new to the SCA:

The “Order of the Pelican” – here represented by the tiny pelican – is the highest service level award within the SCA. And the rose stands for the “Order of the Rose” which is “presented, at the pleasure of the Crown, to past consorts of the kingdom….”.

In the SCA some special designs like roses, pelicans, white belts,…. are reserved for people who distinguished themselves in a certain area like fighting (“Heavy Fighting”, fencing,…) , service (organizing or running local events,…) or “Arts and Science” (calligraphy, leather work, embroidery,…). And sometimes – like for the “Order of the Rose” – a special situation is honored with a certain award.

As my friend received several “awards” during the past years, it is hers to chose which she personally favors for her hood embellishment. Though she has the right to display any of the awards she received through the past, she can display just one or all of them – as she pleases.

And here a close up picture of the pelican which was quite a lot of work:


When you look at the pelican above, please keep in mind that the gold circle in the middle is just a little bit bigger than a dime. It measures just about 1,8 cm (0.7 inch) in diameter!  

The visible outlines of the pelican are just a combination of tiny surface couching stitches executed with blue silk thread:


These tiny stitches were worked on top of the “gold thread” while I was “laying my circles” and couching my “gold thread” down. Well, what shall I say – one blue dot might be nothing more than a nuisance but a lot of them can make a very small pelican. And yes, the embroidery process of this pelican involved quite some swearing on my side… 😉

And let me also point you to another detail: The sections around the golden middle part embroidered with red silk thread. I added this embellishment to break up the otherwise quite boring looking white silk surface. Furthermore this embellishment helps to accentuate the middle part of the rose and adds more meaning to the embroidery as the chosen shape represents the blood drops of a “Pelican in her piety” (“a pelican vulning (from Latin vulno, “to wound”) herself“).

Please see the Wikipedia article about Pelicans, chapter “Religion, mythology, and popular culture”, sub-chapter “Christianity” for more information. 

And now let’s take a look at the second rose I finished:


As you can see on the picture above, I decided to not go through the troubles of adding a little tiny pelican again. 

However, it still took several hours to fill out the middle section with a single “gold thread” couched down with very thin yellow silk thread:


And following you can see a close up picture of the middle section. Every one of the tiny yellow “dots” – which you can see on top of the “gold thread” – represents one surface couching stitch! So, yes, this section is only a little bit bigger than a dime but it took a lot of surface couching stitches to cover it so neatly… 🙂


Btw., if you are interested into surface couching and haven’t tried this technique yet, please visit my page “Medieval Embroidery Technique Handouts” and take a look at my “Surface Couching” handout. It describes the technique of “Surface Couching” in detail. 

I hope you enjoyed todays sneak peek at my new 14th century hood project for a good friend. All the roses needed for this new project will take quite some time but I’ll conquer this rose mountain embroidering one rose at a time… 😉

Best regards Racaire