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Illuminated letters were usually the first letter of a page or paragraph, with the letter greatly enlarged and decorated first using gold leaf, and then completed with coloured paints using a very fine brush.  The term ‘illuminated’ comes from the use of the gold leaf, which reflected the light and made the letter appear to glow.  Animals, plants and mythical beasts were used to decorate the letter.  By the 7th Century, illuminated letters had become a highly respected art form, particularly in Ireland and England.


Your chosen letter will be worked in stranded cotton and gold thread on a satin background and will therefore cover the techniques of surface embroidery and goldwork.


The embroidered illuminated letter kit includes all materials required - calico backing fabric, duchess satin in a beautiful antique ivory, three skeins of stranded cotton in dark green, purple & pink, Japanese gold thread, Gutermann's sewing thread, beeswax, an embroidery needle, a chenille needle with buttonhole thread for 'plunging' the gold threads, a stitch guide, a stitch diagram and comprehensive instructions.  The 'E' letter shown is 10cm high, by 11cm wide.  The height of the other letters will also be 10cm, but the width will vary slightly depending on the letter chosen.  ('I' is much narrower than an 'M' for example.)


You will need a hands free ring frame and embroidery scissors.  You may find a thimble, fine ended tweezers, needle threader, magnifier and daylight lamp useful. 


I have designed the entire alphabet, so there is sure to be a letter to suit you! Please specify which letter(s) you require when ordering.


Suitable for all skill levels.


Please contact me to discuss shipping costs if you would like to purchase more than one item from my shop. For shipping to the Channel Islands, please select the UK as the destination.

Surface Embroidery Illuminated Letter Kit

  • Calico backing fabric

    duchess satin in antique ivory

    Japanese gold thread


    embroidery needle

    hand transferred design

    full instructions

    chenille needle with buttonhole thread

    Gutermanns sewing thread

    dark green stranded cotton

    purple stranded cotton

    pink stranded cotton

    stitch guide and diagram

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