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Elizabethan holly braid stitch icon
Elizabethan holly braid stitch

Elizabethan holly braid stitch main image

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.

Elizabethan holly braid stitch is generously sponsored by Rosalind Grant-Robertson née Peacock Pochin

Method

In the example below, Elizabethan holly braid stitch is worked loosely in order to show the step by step method clearly.

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1

Work from bottom to top. First, make a diagonal stitch from bottom left to top right.

2

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.

3

Come up inside the loop, just above the starting point.

4

Make another diagonal stitch from bottom left to top right to anchor the loop.

5

Bring the needle up inside the loop, just above the starting point of the second diagonal stitch.

6

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.

7

Adjust the size of the loop, and then make another diagonal stitch to anchor it.

8

Bring the needle up inside the loop, just above the starting point of the previous diagonal stitch.

9

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.

10

Continue in the same manner as required.

11

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.

12

Elizabethan holly braid stitch

13

The reverse side of Elizabethan holly braid stitch

Elizabethan holly braid stitch

Structure of stitch

Common uses

Embroidery Techniques

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).

References

  • Jacqui Carey, Elizabethan Stitches - a guide to historic English needlework (2012) , p.66