Elizabethan plaited braid stitch
Elizabethan plaited braid stitch is a braided stitch, traditionally worked in metal passing and used for the coiling stems which feature on many Elizabethan pieces. It is visually similar to plaited braid stitch although the working method is subtly different, including the direction in which it is worked.
This braid stitch has four entry and exit points in each repeated element, for a similar braid stitch with three entry and exit points, see Elizabethan plaited braid stitch (cherry variation).
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. N.B. the names used are descriptive names assigned by Jacqui Carey as historic records do not give us the names by which they were known.
Starting at the end of your design area, bring your needle up between your design lines and take it down on the top line, slightly ahead.
Bring your needle up on the bottom line, level with where it went down and slide your needle under the diagonal stitch from bottom to top (do not pierce the fabric).
Throw a loop ahead and first slide your needle under the working thread, (parallel to the diagonal stitch) and then take it over the loop of working thread. Pull to form a loose knot.
Take your needle down on the top line, a short distance ahead of where your previous stitch went down.
Bring your needle up on the bottom line, level with where it was taken down - this completes the starting structure.
Slide your needle from bottom to top over the previous loop and then under both diagonal stitches and the top of the loop. Pull your thread through.
Throw a loop ahead and then slide your needle diagonally in the direction of travel. Go under the previous loop and both bottom diagonal threads, and then over the front most loop and the working thread.
Bring your needle back up on the bottom line, level with where it went down, and continue from step 6.
Structure of stitch
Jacqui Carey, Sweet Bags - an investigation into 16th and 17th century needlework (2009) , p.88
Jacqui Carey, Elizabethan Stitches - a guide to historic English needlework (2012) , p.68
Examples of Elizabethan plaited braid stitch
Reproduction Elizabethan sweet bag with geometric pattern.
Reproduction of a sweet bag in the Victoria & Albert Museum (T.204-1928), stitched by Jacqui Carey. Elizabethan plaited braid is used for the short lengths of silver braid.
Elizabethan sweet bag
Elizabethan plaited braid stitch is used to work some of the lines of silver gilt.
Reproduction Elizabethan sweet bag with butterfly
Sweet bag designed and stitched by Jacqui Carey, inspired by extant examples.