HNW - Free style blackwork

Peggy A. Stonnell izzie at
Thu May 20 21:14:16 PDT 1999

On Thu, 20 May 1999, Chris d'Aquino wrote:

> Greetings
> Free style blackwork is the outlineing of shapes and designs including such 
> wonderful subjects as bugs, slugs and butterflys in a monochrome coloured 
> thread (they also liked to include beads and spangles).
> Most common stitch used was stem stitch, although split stitch is also 
> known.  There are many examples of samples which show various patterns and 

A form of braid stitch was also used.  And chain. And the outlining
stitches were often over stitched to make the line heavier and thicker.

> surviving books such as "the skoole book of the needle" approx 1640 which 
> also includes patterns for this style of embroidery.
> Free style black was much more common in period than the geometric counted 
> style which we call black work today.
> I think the Skinner Sisters webpage has a piccy of the blackwork coif which 
> is shaded in speckling work - does anyone have any other piccys on the web 
> for this type of work?

Yes, and I was just looking at it this morning.  I got there through a
link from
(I'm teaching a class on blackwork this weekend so I was testing the sites
in the bibliography of the handout.)

> I personally like this style a lot more than counted blackwork as all you 
> have do is transfer your design and follow the lines rather than have to 
> count threads.

>From what I have seen, the filling stitches are still counted.  That is
what many of the small overall patterns are for.  But there is less
counting needed as the outline tells you where to stop.

> Acacia d'Navarre
> St Florians, Lochac, West Kingdom

Isobel fytz Gilbert
Mistress of Arts,
Barony of Lions Gate, An Tir

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