Elizabethan holly braid stitch
This Elizabethan braid stitch, like most braid stitches, consists of a repeating sequence of intertwined elements. However, it differs from other Elizabethan braid stitches in that the knotted elements are orientated sideways.
N.B. The name ‘holly’ was given as it was first identified on a coif decorated with holly motifs and the name has been retained in the absence of a more suitable alternative. Like most Elizabethan stitches its historic name has been lost.
We are indebted to Jacqui Carey for her work in identifying this stitch in extant Elizabethan pieces, and diligent documenting of the working method. See the References sections for details of her books which describe this and many other Elizabethan stitches.
Work from bottom to top. First, make a diagonal stitch from bottom left to top right.
Bring the needle up to the left of the starting point. Throw the thread forwards to form a loop. Take the needle down to the right of the starting point.
Bring the needle up inside the loop, just above the starting point of the second diagonal stitch.
Throw the thread forwards and towards right to form another loop. Pass the needle under the two diagonal stitches, the cross section of the working thread and the loop, and then go over the working thread.
Adjust the size of the loop, and then make another diagonal stitch to anchor it.
Bring the needle up inside the loop, just above the starting point of the previous diagonal stitch.
Again, throw the thread forwards and towards right to form a loop. Then pass the needle under the two diagonal stitches, the cross section of the working thread and the loop, and then go over the working thread.
To finish, take the needle down through the fabric at the end of the braid anchoring the last loop. Secure the thread on the reverse side.
Structure of stitch
Identifying Elizabethan holly braid stitch
The reverse of this stitch shows a line of slanting stitches (most braid stitches have a line of parallel straight stitches along the length of the braid).
Jacqui Carey, Elizabethan Stitches - a guide to historic English needlework (2012) , p.66