After about a month working on it off and on, I finished the red linen open hood. It is made from 100% linen fabric, with a linen embroidered scrolling vine pattern, mostly in chain stitch, and it is entirely hand stitched with linen thread. The main seam down the center of the hood is embroidered with fishbone stitch, also using linen thread.
The functional purpose of this hood is to shield me from sunburn at events in the Las Vegas desert where I live. To that end it is made from medium weight linen, open style for better air flow, and has a much longer skirt than is typically seen in period illuminations of open hoods. The scrolling vine is loosely inspired by the acanthus vine embroidery found in the Mammen grave goods.
For this project I did use the stranded linen embroidery floss briefly made and sold by DMC, and I can tell you that I completely understand why it failed as a commercial product. In many ways it is more temperamental to work with than the flat silk, and more prone to breakage. In order to work with it at all, it was essential to very liberally coat it with beeswax, and even then it frequently knotted up and otherwise misbehaved. I still plan to use the thread I have, but I won’t worry about tracking down more of it. I’ll be much better off using a single strand linen thread (like Londonderry or a weaving linen) for future linen embroidery.
Since I did have a limited amount of linen thread in each color, I ran out of the thread I was using for the vine before I was finished. For that reason, the leafy arms along the back of the skirt are in a slightly different color from the rest of the vines. The fishbone stitch seam decoration is worked in Londonderry linen thread.