HNW - but is it blackwork?

EowynA@aol.com EowynA at aol.com
Mon Jul 26 09:48:48 PDT 1999


Hi, Kayta!
In a message dated 7/26/99 2:17:32 AM, you wrote:
<< People keep asking me if it's blackwork, and
I don't know what to tell them.  Blackwork, to my mind, is that Elizabethan
stuff with the counted thread patterns filling in leaf and flower and
shapes (with the occasional pea pod and bug thrown in). >>

To my mind, you are indeed doing blackwork.  But then I subscribe to a fairly 
liberal definition, given by Mary Gostelow in her Blackwork book, which is 
basically one color thread designs on white/light fabric. High contrast 
stuff. This is because the Spanishe stitch stuff (countable, reversible 
blackwork done in bands) is usually black but also appears in blue, red, and 
green, but is generally called blackwork;  the speckled stuff is generally 
called blackwork, and it is either black on white or red on white; the diaper 
pattern fillings are generally called blackwork (and seem to be the _major_ 
meaning of "blackwork" modernly, when classes are offered through modern 
needlework guilds), and are mostly black thread, but occasionally show up in 
green or red; spot motif done in outline stitches,  powdered on a ground 
fabric are generally called blackwork, particularly when done in black 
thread. 

And Spanish stitch-style  designs appeared in the Renaissance in more places 
than England -- one of the more famous paintings by Holbein the Elder 
(Burgermeister's daughter) is German, and appears frequently in the "history 
of blackwork" sections of books. 

So if you are doing black on white embroidery, and it is not obviously some 
other technique (smocking, assisi, etc.) I'd go ahead and agree that it is 
blackwork.

Eowyn Amberdrake, Caid
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