Gay Ann Rogers  Needlework

Christmas 2021 Enamel

Ninth Day of Christmas

Four little pincushions with black etched designs dying

to become blackwork on a sampler.

The story of my Guilloche Enamel Sampler

I have collected little needlework tools or so long I almost can't remember. About 5 years ago now I gave away most of my tools plus my collection of lace and whitework to a small collections library, along with my own needlework.

The library was particularly interested in how my collections influenced my own needlework designs. It was then I made this sampler and two others, one with snippets of Valenciennes lace, one a design I adapted from Ayrhsire embroidery and this one.

I want to do Honiton and Point de Gaze for sure, and I want to make myself one last crown (actually a coronet) as the Countess of Counting (thanks again, Zeena).

I no longer have Hollyhock House, a favorite sampler I stitches which reflects old samplers, and the little library has my Jane Austen needle book and accessories.

I can't believe it was 9 years ago that I made my Jane Austen Needle Book to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice. I confess, I miss having it but it is very well cared for.

Meanwhile, I will keep making samplers of various sorts that reflect the history of needlework.


Today, a very special enamel called 'Guilloche'. I have collected Guilloche enamel for a very long time, ever since I found one of the great American guilloche thimbles in a London flea market for £5-00 (about $8.00 as the time).  In fact several years ago I made a needlework tools sampler celebrating guilloche enamel

but it wasn't until last year that I found a set of ribbon threaders in their leather case.

This little case with its ribbon threaders was such a lucky find and I am delighted with it.

It is American,  the ribbon threaders silver with pink guilloche enamel in near perfect contdition.

About 1920's.

Do you realize, that is 100 years ago now.

Notes on Guilloche Enamel

I have a long history with guilloche enamel needlework tools, ever since I found a beautiful American guilloche thimble in a London flea market for £5-00. I danced a little jig on the way home that day.

Guilloche is an enamel made in a special way: the enamel is translucent with intricate patterns engraved in the silver. I have enlarged the photo of the largest ribbon threader so that you can see the intricate patterns in the silver (the flowers show most clearly) through the pink enamel.

It is beautiful and prized. Perhaps the most well known guilloche enamel is by Fabergé, one of his workshop's specialties.

DH found an article not too long ago saying it is made again for accessories for the .5% who have, for example, special gear shifts in their cars with guilloche enamel knobs, that sort of thing. I wish I still had the article.

So I have looked for needlework tools with gulloche for a long time. We Americans made it, and so did the Germans who were excellent at making it, and of course the Russians.

For years it was rumored that a Fabergé thimble existed, but it has never materialized. There were some questionable dealers who sometimes sold enamel thimbles with fake Fabergé marks to naive American collectors for as much as £15,000. Such can be the antiques trade at times.

But Fabergé thimbles aside, real guilloche is out there still. Seems to me like Carolyn often has pretty little thimbles with guilloche enamel bands at somewhat reasonable sums.

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