HNW - Hardanger Embroidery

Merouda the True of Bornover keltia at
Mon May 3 14:57:33 PDT 1999

> Kathyrn,
>     I have a question.  What was the most "popular" or widely done
> enbroidery of the 16th century?  The area of interest is Western Europe, or
> the period equlivent of such.

Well, I'm not Kathryn, but I'll give a go anyway.  :)  Blackwork was certainly
quite popular in England in the 16th century.  Blackwork as counted work using
geometric type shapes was popular but so was uncounted blackwork.  There are many
coifs, pillows, stomachers, and sleeves showing embroidery with lots scrolling
and viney type with big counted work leaves.

So was embroidery done in silks and metallics (silver, silver gilt, gold) using
several stitch types.  This embroidery was done on things like stomachers, coifs,
pillows, and if you were really lucky, foreparts and sleeves.  The use of nature
as a motif and theme was *very* popular and resulted in, what to the modern eye,
is sometimes quite bizarre.  There is a portait of Elizabeth in a dress
embroidered with human eyes.  Many examples have little caterpillars and snakes
and bugs.  Lots and lots of colorful flowers and trees, clouds and
bees.  Braid or plaited stitch was used, as was detached buttonhole, satin,
chain, and stem.

I haven't given all the stitches (working off the top of my head from work
without my references) but either of these types of embroidery are worth checking
out, both very beautiful in their own right and equally popular.

As for using Aida cloth to do blackwork.  There are no SCA rules against using
Aida cloth for blackwork.  A beginner could even safely enter a novice level
using Aida cloth.  However, I highly recommend starting to learn on linen as soon
as she can.  Your eyes adjust very quickly to seeing the squares (at least mine
did) and the tactile senses enjoy linen more.  Working with linen is very nice
both aesthetically and to touch.  The first time I stitched with linen, I never
used Aida again.  Just a personal preference and indeed, for Arts & Sciences
competitions linen is the way to go.  It's more expensive and sometimes cost is
what determines what we use, but I guarantee once linen is used, you'll never
want Aida again.

Good, luck
- --
Cynthia Long
Merouda the True of Bornover
Barony of Madrone
Kingdom of An Tir

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