Category Archives: Embroidery

Project: Elizabethan Assembly – the white skirt

Beaded and embroidered white Elizabethan skirt (restart August 2020)

A long, long time ago, back in New Jersey / the Barony of Iron Bog before it became a barony, I started my Elizabethan Assembly project (the box I packed it in says 2010, which would be the date that box was packed, not the project started). It was to include a proper pair of bodies, underwear, chemise, two skirts, and two bodices for mixing and matching. Lucet cording I made was to hold the points together. The blue skirt & bodice were to be beaded and corded, and the white skirt & bodice were to be beaded and embroidered.

Picture 1: Lots of cloth involved in the skirt

It is a VERY big, ambitious project. The challenge is the beadwork and amount of cloth involved make transporting it around impossible. With the 2020 homebound (and finishing the beaded coif project), I thought now might be a good time to break it out again.

The fabric for the white gown was bought in Philadelphia, scraps at the end of an industrial bolt. As soon as I bought it, I knew I would be enhancing it with embroidery. Queen Elizabeth had several white outfits with pastel shades. I am using that as my inspiration.

Materials being used

  1. Fabric with white embroidery and backing. Unknown materials.
  2. Embroidery enhancements – Splendor Silk 12-ply Pink (S-884), Blue (S-867), Purple (S-811), Yellow (S818), and Green (S-830)
  3. Blue glass beads (The Bead Shoppe – 6/0).
Picture 2: The bottom of the fabric is untouched, but the starbursts have been worked on.

White Fabric restarted on August 1, 2020

Right now I am going to concentrate on finishing the fabric preparation for the skirt and the bodice. In picture 1, you can see all the fabric involved, some of what has already been done, and the hoop at the very top. Picture two shows what the bottom of the fabric looks like without enhancement, although the startbursts have been worked on. Picture three, you can see a mixed of untouched and enhanced stars.

Picture 3: Mix of adjusted and unadjusted stars

Next up and figuring out where all the materials are and getting this project set up for quick picking up and putting down.

I do plan to use a machine for assembly and likely will get find an Elizabeth outfit expert to help with assembly when the time comes – because – holy moley, I don’t want to screw this up when it comes to that point.


Project: Beaded Coif

Beaded Coif – From Atlantia University class (October 2019)

A friend and I took the Beaded Coif class by Lady Adair of Makyswell (MKA Catherine Yvonne King) during Atlantia University. I had to attend for exchequer classes in the morning. Free in the afternoon, I dropped by the beading class. It was preplanned, as the class required the coif to already be made. My friend picked out the fabric and helped me do the initial cutting out.

The fabric is a cotton print and I am following the design. Other materials being used included glass beads (bronze and “pearls”), polyester thread, and beading needles the teacher provided. I added DMC cotton embroidery thread, green and white beads, and other needles, scissors, and materials as needed.

I’m not attempting a competition piece, just a beautiful something when done.

Coif Started – First picture on October, 8, 2019

Coif completely sewn. First beads attached. Here you can see the extensive pattern I plan to cover someday.

Coif Continues – November 21, 2019

I decided doing everything in beads first was crazy, so to save time I would do some of the leaves in brown and some in blue.  I completed the brown leaves in November.

By the way, I did a quick count on the embroidery vs. bead time. It was NOT faster. (sigh)

Coif Continues – December 31, 2019

Last pictures before tax season slowdown. The blue leaves are complete.

Pictures are Left Side, Back, Right Side.


Coif Continues – May 10, 2020

All small pearls added to the blue leaves. I killed the first of the three beading needles which the teacher gave us for the project today. I’m running low on the copper beads she provided as well, which is not the standard size I use. Also beginning to run low on the green beads and will need to switch to a different group of green beads I do have that are close.

Knowing I would likely run out part-way of the various beads is one of the reasons I decided to work the areas in a somewhat random pattern – so that the differences will be mixed throughout the final project.

I’m getting a lot done during the video meetings during the stay-at-home orders. Next post will be when I have all the large pearls on the project.

Pictures are Left Side, Back, Right Side.

Coif Continues – July 13, 2020

I’ve lost the second of the three beading needles. It’s somewhere in the house I hope. The copper beads gave way to a red embroidery floss, and I’ve started a third group of green beads.

Now just to fill in the last bits of missing. Nearly done!

Pictures are Left Side, Back, Right Side.


Coif is DONE – July 30, 2020

I finished sewing in the inner lining today during an A&S zoom meeting.

Materials used

  1. Printed cotton fabric (which the design covers – treating it like an artist gave me a base to work form.
  2. Lining of coif also a cotton fabric. Sewn together with Coat all-purpose 100% polyester thread. Coif attached to coif when complete. Hand needle and everything hand assembled. No machine used to make the coif.
  3. Bead thread provided by teacher, likely 100% polyester. Beading needle provided by teacher. Pearl-like glass beads (2 sizes) and copper glass beads provided by teacher.
  4. Green glass beads were mine – three different sources, from my huge bead box, as well as the white glass beads of similar size, only one source for that.
  5. DMC cotton embroidery thread – blue (792), brown (3826), and red-copper replacement (814 and 815).

Lady Elspeth Mereberie (the friend who attended the class with me) gave me a Styrofoam head to display the project and encouraged me to cover it with pantyhose to look even better.

Now onto the final results!

First on the right, you can see how the lining looks. Covers the mess of beading stitches and will help protect the coif when it is worn.

Next the normal grouping of left, back, right. You should be able to click these for bigger pictures.


And one final closeup. Where you can see at least two tones of green beads, the copper beads and the red substitute, the different two different size pearl beads and the white beads in the blue leaves, etc. This is the middle back.


Project: Smocking – Smocked Aprons Prizes

Smocked Aprons – Prizes for Cooking Competitions

The Sacred Stone Cooks Guild uses colored aprons to indicate rank within the guild. I host an annual cooking competition at Flight of the Falcon. The competition is split into two parts, one for the general public and one aimed at the cook’s guild. The winner of the cook’s guild part of the competition gets a colored apron in their rank.

To have enough prizes, this means I need to have four aprons available: Black (apprentice), Red (Journeyman), Green (Prefect) and White (Chef). I started making them in 2016 when I taught the smocking class at Runestone Collegium in November.

I have found brown, cream and white smocked aprons in paintings. Also examples exists of utility aprons, without smocking, in blue (light and medium), pink, red, teal, green, and black (a favorite of painters).

If you are really, really into aprons a great place to find images with the appropriate attribution is: Medieval & Renaissance Material Culture: The Linspages at – Apron (

This is an on-going project as I will need to replace aprons when one has been passed on.

Black Apron (Completed 7/8/2017)

Made from linen cloth, hemmed and embroidered with black linen thread (Londonderry 50/3) after the thread was run through beeswax. The sides of the apron are raw edges, and the belt is 10 feet long. The final measurements 31 inches belt to hem, 57 inches wide along the drawn thread area and 21 inches where smocked. Eight rows of honeycombed are gathered and the hemwork was done with Hound’s Tooth. Started November 2016 and completed at the Cook’s Guild meeting on 7/8/2017.

White Apron (Completed August 2017)

Linen, hemmed and embroidered with linen (Londberry). Eight rows of honeycomb and hemwork is just the Hound’s Tooth. I decided to make the White Apron as close period styling, and therefore just a single row of hewwork) as possible in case someone outside the Sacred Stone guild won the competition. More elabroate cut and pulled work aprons exist but they were not smocked. Smocked aprons pretty much were smocked on top and one line of hemwork. Completed at Pennsic in 2017.

Note: The belt attachment to the smocking is not happy and beautiful. I may be taking it apart and reworking it later this year.

Red Apron (Completed August 2017)

Again linen, line, honeycomb and hemwork. The red is the second level within the guild so I did two rows of drawn work. One the hound’s tooth because I just love the look of the stitch. The other an interlace with two twists. Completed at Pennsic 2017.

Green Apron (Completed 9/14/2017)

So I ran out of time before Flight 2017 and only had about half the green apron finished, but no worries. The Sacred Stone guild only had one Prefect (green level), what are the chances … guess who won? Third level got three rows of drawn work. The first row is Hounds Tooth. The second is a single interlace row – the bars were gathered in groups of 8. The third row from the bottom is three interlace – the bars were gathered in groups of 6. Completed at an A&S meeting after major attacking at DragonCon at the beginning of September so I could give the prize to Mistress Lorelei Greenleafe at the next Sacred Stone event. Done in September, only half a month late.

Now that the green has been won, I will need to make another green apron.

Green Apron 2 (Started 9/14/2017 – Completed 4/20/2020)

As soon as the final stitch was in the green apron for the 2017 prize, I put the dots on the fabric for another green apron so I have a complete set for 2018.

So life happened, and it took a while, but I finally got the second green apron done to replace the one I have given out as a prize. Honeycomb smocking with a hemwork bottom. Five rows of embroidery.

Project: Open Work – Drawn Thread Linen Towels

Drawn Thread Linen Towels

I make a lot of Drawn Thread Linen towels as they make awesome Largess gifts and they are one of the few embroidery objects I make in under 20 hours.

The Hawkwood Largess Linen Towel (2017 May) – Made from linen cloth, hemmed with linen thread, and embroidery done with linen thread (100/3. 80/3. 50/3 and 30/3 widths). The embroidery was started on May 18 and completed May 19 and took 10 hours. The item was given away in the Hawkwood Largess Basket on May 20.











The Atlantia Largess Linen Towel (2017 May)

Tools and Materials – Linen Fabric (not an even weave); hemmed with Bocken Knyppelgamn’s Linen tread (90/2); Satin stich and drawn work gather stitches worked with Londenderry’s 50-3; The interlace stitch secured with Londenderry 30/3. All linen thread run through beeswax before stitching. No hoops, frames or other tension tools used during the sewing. An embroidery needle (sharp) used for all sewing. Steel pins were used during the hemming stage. Small embroidery scissors used to cut the fabric to draw threads and also during the sewing.

Technique notes: An away knot was used to start the stain stitch and the drawn work gather stitches. Most of the end threads were tucked into the satin stitch lines. Those that were not, are turned into the back along the stitch work. This towel is slightly larger than my normal draw length for thread so I have four threads end during at the “wrong” place.

New stitch: I love the interlace stitch but had been unable to get the double ladder interlace to work with my typical 8-gather. It was just too stiff and twisted the fabric at the edges. This time I only did a 6-gather for the interlace area (8-gather was used for the Hound’s Tooth and the Zig-Zag). This time the interlace did not pull the edges out of alignment. A little extra work, but I got to try something new!

Date worked – The embroidery was started on May 20 and completed May 26.

Final Ownership: Passed on to Mistress Gisela vom Kreuzbach who was coordinating the Pennsic Largess Basket for Atlantia in 2017. Unknown which kingdom received the towel as a gift.

Project: Lacis – Lady’s Room

Lacis Project – Lady’s Room Door Hanging

Originally conceived when I lived in Iron Bog (East Kingdom) in 2004, I complied the design from patterns found in Renaissance Patterns for Lace, Embroidery and Needlepoint: An unabridged facsimile of the “Singuliers et nouvezu’=pourtraicts” of 1587 by Federico Vinciolo and Patterns Embroidery: Early 16th Century by Claude Nourry & Pierre de Saincte Louie. The project comes as two wall hangings; one will be a Lady’s Room door hanging showing Spring and Summer and the other will be a Lord’s Room door hanging featuring Fall and Winter. Pages from the book where I transcribe the patterns include FV89 (Spring), FV90 (Summer), and CNPSL61-63 (letters).

The full pattern for the Lady’s Room is 127×378 squares. The pattern has 8 major segments including the top and bottom borders, plus the right and left borders which are being completed as I work my way down the design. I actually started the first wall hanging in May 2011 and completed the top border in September 2011.

The project then was set aside as I worked on other things, like writing, moving, job hunting, troll at Pennsic, etc. In March 2017, I have decided to make a concerted effort again on the project and put a week of 2 to 3 hour nights into it after doing taxes. So after 20 more hours, I got a second border section done. At this rate, it I don’t get distracted again, I should have this completed in mid-June and can start work on the Lord’s Room door hanging. (In the meantime, I also need to Job Hunt again, be a Seneschal, teach at least three classes, make aprons for prizes for Flight, etc …. so distraction will happen.)

Materials being used: Store bought mesh (unknown material) and Cotton Crochet thread size 10 (due to cost – I am going through a lot of thread).

Tools used: Large tapestry needles, scissors, and a 12-inch embroidery hoop.



Top Left Corner
Left Corner for Top Border
Middle Design for Top Border

First Border Completed (Sept 2011)


Second Border Complete (March 2017)

Click here for all pictures

Book Review: Traditional Icelandic Embroidery

Book Review: Traditional Icelandic Embroidery

(article originally published in Summer 2004, Ironmonger, Barony of Iron Bog)

Traditional Icelandic Embroidery, 2nd edition.  Guđjónsson, Elsa E.  2003.

List Price: $35.00.  Selling through the Barnes & Noble site at this time for $28.00.

This book is more of a history then a how-to book, yet it still provides some excellent diagrams on how to execute historical embroidery stitches.  The focus of the book is reviewing extent historical embroideries that were created in Iceland.  The author has done extensive research on the subject and shares her knowledge on these embellished textiles that survive from the 15th century through the 19th century.  She provides details on all of the still existing medieval embroideries and on most of the post-reformation embroideries.  There are only a couple score of historical embroideries that were created in Iceland still in existence; through this book a reader will discover the present location, materials of creation, size of the item, and techniques used to create them.

The only drawback is she tends to write about these items in an overview manner, grouped together by embroidery technique.  To figure out exactly what materials, what colors and what techniques were used on each item, one has to go through a chapter and take extensive notes to reassemble the details on an individual item.  Fortunately there is always less then a score of embroideries for each technique.  If you are interested in the scholarly dissertation of each item and can read Icelandic, the author has published a number of articles covering the individual items she has studied; it is from this body of work, which is listed in the bibliography, that she has created this book for the general public.

About half the book, illustrations and text, deal with information from SCA period.  The best part of the book is the fifteen illustrations from eleven little-seen extent embroideries in beautiful color and focus.  There are more illustrations than these, but only the fifteen mentioned deal with the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.  In the back are twenty-four pages of designs the author has created based on historical embroideries.  Unfortunately only one of them is from the SCA period, and it is for a piece not covered in the book.

For SCA purposes, this book gives a good overview of the embroidery in Iceland, though not a clear progress from one embroidery and time period to the next.  Overall the book is for more advanced embroiderers who want to look into the history of embroidery or for those gentles of Icelandic personas.  It lacks coherence and detail for deep research, but it is a good start on the topic.

Book Review: Ottoman Embroidery – 4 Books

BOOK REVIEW: Ottoman Embroidery and Friends – 4 Books

(article originally published in Fall 2004, Ironmonger, Barony of Iron Bog)

At the moment there are three Ottoman Embroidery books available In-Print; a wonderful boom to Middle Eastern embroideriers, or so you would think.  While the Ottoman empire started in the fourteen century, with its roots in the eleventh century, all of the books start covering the embroidery in the very late sixteenth century.  Out of the over four hundred illustrations, there is only thirteen photos between all three books from SCA period.

Each book has its own strengths.  “Ottoman Embroidery” by Marianne Ellis has the most SCA era pictures.  “Flowers of Silk and Gold” is the only book with pictures of people wearing clothes and has the best close-ups.  “Ottoman Embroidery” by Roderick Taylor gives the most historical detail, including descriptions on how the embroidery was actually used in day-to-day life.

But if you want a book on how to do period Middle Eastern embroidery, “Embroideries and Samplers from Islamic Egypt” is your best bet.  It covers Egyptian needlework until it is conquered by the Ottoman Empire.  Of the four books reviewed, this is the only one worth adding to your embroidery book collection.

I should note that at Pennsic, I attended a class on Ottoman Garments under false pretenses (not caring at all about the clothing).  Joy of joys, the teacher dumped his collection of books before us and I missed most of the lecture pawing through them hoping against hope to find something, anything about the embroidery.  Among his hoard was “Ipek: The Crescent & The Rose.”  I have ordered the book and am awaiting its arrival.  Once it is read, I will let you know if it fills the void these books left gaping.


Ottoman Embroidery. Marianne Ellis and Jennifer Wearden. V&A Publications: London.  2001.

Far from the definitive book on Ottoman embroidery, this book is strangely disappointing despite beautiful full color photographs of uncommon embroidery pieces.  Drawing exclusively from the Victoria and Albert Museum’s collection on this mid-eastern embroidery style, it is limited to showing pieces that have migrated to England.  While the Ottoman Empire started in the fourteenth century, the earliest piece shown in the book is from the sixteenth century, the start of the (friendly) English interest in the Turkish domain.  The Empire ruled until the twentieth century.

Two hundred years of primary interest for a SCAdian, when the style of embroidery was developing, is missing.  In addition, the one century from SCA period only has a meager nine illustrations of the 155 vibrant color plates.  The photo section takes up a vast majority of the content of the book, devoting a full nine-by-twelve page to nearly every picture.  The book opens with a nine-page overview of the history of the Ottoman Empire and the place of embroidery within its borders; a pleasing quick, informative read.  It closes with an eight-page chapter on the techniques they used to create the embroidery.  Using this chapter and the excellent photographic representations from the previous section, an embroider may be able to recreate a sixteenth century embroidery using pattern darning, THE embroidery form of the Ottoman Empire, if s/he have some experience in the technique to aid in figuring out the fairly confusing how-to diagrams.

Applications:  Ottoman History.  Embroidery technique of pattern darning.
Costs: List Price $45.00.


Ottoman Embroidery.  Roderick Taylor.  Interlink Books: New York.  1993.

This well-structured book has excellent chapter breakdown:  History of the Ottoman Empire, Design & Patterns, Materials (describing ground fabrics and embroidery materials that were used), Techniques (description of stitches, but no instructions on how to do them), Collections (giving a long list of museums which have Ottoman embroidery), and the Embroideries themselves.  Anything they embroidered is covered: clothing items (described down to size and construction), home objects (including bedding) and larger embroideries (such as tents).  I loved the two pages regarding dyes and the section on prayer rugs, plus an interesting bit of about a page on the textile guilds found within the Empire (weavers, dyers, embroiders, etc.).  I found the section on ceremonial textiles, and the ceremonies they were made for, abruptly brief.

The major lack of the book is hard dates.  At one point early on, the author mentions that there wasn’t much change in the embroidery in six hundred years, and then throughout the book, mentions minor changes happening.  I ended up having to create a timeline of the Ottoman Empire in order to figure out what happened within SCA period.

There are 140 color photographs, not displayed in date order, with each embroidery shown given size, materials, stitch and an approximate date (usually something along the lines of  “before 1700”).  Only four pictures are close-up enough to see the stitches in the fabric and only two of the pictures definitely come from SCA period.  There is a quilt-facing opposite the title page with the description under the copyright information on the back of the title page, very easy to miss. The best picture, for which I would recommend checking out this book thru interlibrary loan to view if you are interested, is of a tent from 1525; this richly decorated tent is a jewel.

Applications: Ottoman History.  Maybe dyes, Ottoman clothing, guilds.
Costs:  Checked out thru interlibrary loan.  A number of libraries in NJ have the book.  Available through Barnes and Nobel for $30 (a sales price).


Flowers of Silk and Gold: Four Centuries of Ottoman Embroideries.  Sumru Belger Krody.  Merrell Publications in association with The Textile Museum: Washington, DC.  2000.

This book is a hollow joy for an SCA embroiderer.  Lavishly illustrated with over 100 crisp color photographs, it has only two illustrations from SCA period; neither of which is of exceptional note.  One is of an embroidery, the other is from the Codex Vindobonensis (dated 1590) showing a miniature of ladies sitting in the Harem.  The book was specifically written to chronicle urban Ottoman embroidery from the 17th century to the 20th.

Focusing on the Textile Museum Collection in Washington DC, half the book forms a catalogue with fifty-seven extent pieces, each item having a beautiful picture and description including thread count, dimensions, embroidery style and materials involved.  The balance of the book is broken into three sections:  a brief history of the Ottoman Empire, methods of embroidery production, and designs found in the embroidery.

The best parts of the book, from an embroidery standpoint, is the glossary with several illustrations on how to do some of the more obscure stitches, and the chapter on Makers and Methods which has a number of close-ups of embroideries, allowing a viewer to see the individual stitches.  The map showing the borders of the Ottoman Empire in the 17th century is worthy of note.

Unless you actually need to see how the stitches are formed, this book useless to a SCAdian.  If you must view it, check it out through interlibrary loan.

.Applications: Ottoman History.  Embroidery stitches
Costs:  Borrowed from Lady Cellach.  List Price $45.00.


Embroiders and samplers from Islamic Egypt.  Marianne Ellis.  Ashmolean Museum: Oxford, England.  2001.

The collection covered in this book was donated by Percy Newberry to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford and contains over 1,000 fragments.  Sixty-six full color pictures were taken of the best of the surviving pieces covering the Tulunid (868-905 AD), the Fatamid (969-1171 AD), the Ayyubid (1172-1249 AD) and the Mamluk periods (1250-1517 AD).  With each picture comes a description giving the thread count of the fabric for both weft and warp, the material of the fabric and thread, the color and twist of the thread, what the original purpose of the embroidery is suspected to be, the size of the surviving piece, and the date of the item.  Most of the dates are guessed based on the design and materials of the embroidery, but some of the pieces have been radiocarbon dated.

This book will spoil you on all further extent embroidery books.  The only thing missing is the diagram of the stitches, but there are plenty of “how-to” books on the market to cover this lack.  The four-page introduction covers how the collection was gathered and a very, very brief historical discussion.  The “must-have” aspect of this book is related to the details shared on each extent piece it covers.  If you are an embroider, and have the basics for your collection, this book is an excellent next-step for specializations.  Most of the embroideries of this book are pattern darning, but there are other counted forms, a few free pieces, some couched items, open work, appliqué and one padded work piece.

Applications:  Egyptian personas (868 to 1517).  Embroidery.
Costs: Available on-line new in hardback and softback, be careful to purchase in the format you want.

Embroidery: Icelandic Embroidery

CoverArt: Icelandic Embroidery

Icelandic Embroidery

(article originally published in Summer 2004, Ironmonger, Barony of Iron Bog)

From SCA period, Icelandic embroidery covered a wide range of techniques.  The following is a brief overview.


From existing pieces, we know they used wool grounds as early as 1450 and linen grounds as early as 1500 and continued to use both to the end of period.

Linen grounds were either white or a yellow-beige.  The yellow-beige grounds are not a discolored white, as there is clearly white color threads used in the embroidery done upon the grounds; what the original color of these might have been is unknown but most likely something close to the color they are today – maybe a little brighter in yellow.

Wool grounds tended to be in intense colors, such as red or dark blue.  It looks as though if the embroiderer wanted a white ground, linen was used, if she wanted a colored ground, wool was used.  (Please note that in Icelandic tradition, nearly all embroidery was done by females, hence the use of the female pronoun. pp. 55-62)


Wool, linen, metal and silk thread were used on both wool and linen grounds, either by themselves or in combinations with any of the other types of threads throughout the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.  An appliqué from the first half of the 16th century used wool, silk and linen threads plus employed leather strips for couching on a wool ground cloth that in turn was attached to a linen ground. (pp. 47-48)

The color of the threads included white, black, blue, light blue, green, and orange as well as the very popular yellow and red.  Within each embroidery, there tends to be only one color of red, one color of green, etc. – there is no variation of shades.  It is similar to coloring in the lines with crayons from an eight-color box if that helps you visualize the results.


All existing pieces from medieval Iceland are church embroideries, most of which are altar frontals. The reformation in Iceland happened in 1550 when the last Catholic bishop was executed; the end of medieval Iceland and the start of the post-reformation, or the Renaissance, period are marked on that date. (p. 6) Extent secular pieces are from after this time, most likely because of use destroying created pieces not because embroidery was used exclusively for religious items.  There are a few embroideries whose original purpose is in question as they are scraps used to back or repair later embroideries. (p. 26)


The techniques listed below are broken into the forms recognized by the East Kingdom embroidery guild, the Keepers of Athena’s Thimble.  Please note that the need to compartmentalize is a modern convenience and was very much not practiced in medieval Iceland.

Couching and laid work, called refilsaumur, is one of the earliest forms and continued to present times.  A piece from 1450 is fairly unique in that it was done as a single color (gray) thread to create void work on a black wool ground. (pp. 6-7)  All other surviving laid work was multi-color with the thread creating the picture.

The most popular counted form was pattern darning or skakkaglit.  Straight darning, cross-stitch and long-armed cross-stitch were also practiced.  These forms were used either individually on an embroidered item or in merry combination.

Counted work could also be combined with free embroidery and couched metal threads.  Free embroidery stitches included stem, chain, split and long-armed cross stitch.  There are a couple of extent embroideries that are executed solely in stem stitch.  But in general the rule seemed to be whatever combination provided the results the embroiderer wanted.  The Altar frontal from Kalfafell church contains a central figure done in free embroidery with silk and metal thread and the surrounding patterns done in counted form with wool thread. (pp. 24-25)

Metal thread embroideries were mostly imported to Iceland, though there are a couple of surviving examples.  In general, if metal thread was used, it was only a small portion of the embroidery.  One exception is the Altar Curtain at Holar, done nearly completely in couched gold threads. (p. 52)

Lacis or Sprang would be done on a knotted net or drawn thread ground.  Cloth stitch was used almost exclusively; there are no surviving medieval pieces done in the weaving stitch from Iceland.  Please note that lacis is done solely white linen thread on white linen net or drawn thread ground, or ivory on ivory.  Colored lacis started in the 17th century.

Finally, appliqué and padded work was done in Iceland during the SCA period.  One spectacular piece previously mentioned in THREADS was worked on dark blue wool. (pp. 27-28)

If you would like to read more about Icelandic embroidery, I would encourage you to read Traditional Icelandic Embroidery, 2nd edition.  Guđjónsson, Elsa E.  2003.  All page references refer to this book.