P, Pulled

Object name


Date made

Circa 2007

Place made


Four-paged booklet illustrating pulled thread work and motifs starting with the letter 'P'. Part of a 34-part embroidered alphabet made by Dr Isabel Elliott and completed in 2007.

Content description

This is a four-sided book worked in pulled thread work and featuring motifs beginning with the letter 'P'. The first page, on the left, features a large poppy in the centre, worked in red and black cotton threads on a red linen ground that sits above red felt. The poppy is made of single faggot stitches, round eyelets, diagonal cross filling, buttonhole wheel, stem, whipped wheel, and double faggot filling stitch. Each of the four external petals has a different pulled work pattern. The poppy is surrounded by a pea, pomegranate, pineapple, and poppy bud. The pea has a body of white net over a white fabric and a centre of ringed back stitch filling. The borders are worked in back stitches. The pomegranate in the bottom left corner is worked in white net and cotton thread on a pink ground covered in net. The borders, stem, and top leaves are worked in double back stitch The body is made of single faggot stitch and honeycomb filling. The pineapple is worked on white linen with leaves of long and short stitch and a body of stem stitch, diamond eyelets, and four-sided stitch. The poppy bud in the bottom right corner is also worked on white linen and has a buttonhole stitched border, a trailing stem, and back stitched and whipped wheel details.

The opposite page has a cursive 'P'. rendered in white cotton threads on a white linen ground that sits atop a blue cotton ground. The top of the 'P' is filled with square eyelets and is outlined in what appears to be a row of knotted pearl stich followed by a row of stem stitch. The main stem of the 'P' includes wrapped bars. The background of the 'P' features pulled thread patterns including honeycomb filling, coil filling stitch, and festoon stitch. The left side of this page has vertical patterns, whereas the rest of the page has a wave pattern.

The inner left-hand page has a carnation, also known as a pink, next to a large square of pulled work. Both panels are made of unbleached linen which has been slip stitched to an orange silk ground. The pink involves diagonal cross filling, a variation on brick stitch, and wrapped bars. The outline for the leaves is worked in a large stem stitch. The bottom two sections of the flower are outlined in chain stitch and the petals are rendered in a wrapped chain stitch. The square shape which is to the left of the flower includes a large central square worked in drawn square stitch. This is surrounded by a series of borders worked in drawn square, square eyelet, four-sided, counted satin, and open basket filling stitches.

The final page of the booklet features a pterodactyl and two primroses. The pterodactyl is made up of various pulled thread stitches on a white linen ground and is situated atop a linen ground that covers a blue synthetic fabric. The pterodactyl involves but is not limited to single faggot stitch, stem stitch, diagonal cross filling, bullion knots, and diagonal drawn filling. Below it sit two primroses, the first of which is on square of green silk fabric. It has five petals, all filled with different pulled stitches on fine even weave linen. These include cobbler filling stitch, four-sided stitch, double faggot filling stitch, and diagonal cross filling. Five inner petals appear padded and have been surrounded with buttonhole stitch. A second primrose plant has been rendered on a fine, green-coloured, even weave cotton. Its leaves have back stitch veins and are outlined in a double row of chain stitch. The stems on the flower feature satin stitch and the petals are surround by a buttonhole stitch. At the bottom of the motif five square and round eyelets have been diagonally worked. The top half of this panel has withdrawn threads and a variety of pulled work patterns including honeycomb filling. The right side of the front page has a vertical panel of a cream coloured wool where various pulled motifs have been made in a white wool thread. These include diagonal cross filling, Victorian step stitch, cobbler, drawn square stitch, square eyelets, four-sided stitch, and honeycomb darning.

This booklet is one of 34 parts of an embroidered alphabet made by Dr Isabel Elliott and completed in 2007. Elliott embroidered a large box which houses 32 four-sided booklets. Each booklet focuses one on letter of the alphabet and embroidery technique whose first letter matches that letter of the alphabet (A for appliqué, B for blackwork, etc.). Some letters have multiple booklets due to having multiple techniques. This large and impressive group of objects was made by Dr Isabel Margaret Elliott (1931-2016). She received her PhD from Cambridge in 1958 and became a paleobotanist at the Natural History Museum in London. It is clear that her love of science and the natural world influenced her embroidery. When she married her husband, Isabel was made to leave her job (as the Natural History Museum was then part of the civil service and married women were not allowed to be part of the civil service). She began to attend classes at the RSN after meeting a woman embroidering for a class run by that organisation. After the RSN she joined the Embroiderers' Guild. She became a Life Member of the Guild and gained her City & Guilds, which enabled her to teach. She was Mistress of Embroidery at Gloucester Cathedral and was a travelling tutor throughout the UK. Elliott produced an immense amount of embroidery, much of which is available to view at


width: 60.5cm
height: 23cm





Credit line

Gift of Susan Perkes, 2019.

Catalogue number


Other numbers

RSN 2296

Web references

© Royal School of Needlework