HNW - Craftsman-period embroidery materials

Carolyn Kayta Barrows kayta at
Fri Sep 3 16:37:01 PDT 1999

I have recently been to a show of Craftsman and Nouveau stuff, and looked
closely at a lot of table runners and other embroidered linens.  These
tended to be silk on linen.  The stitches are nice and big, and the ground
fabric threads are easy to count.  Where do I get the linen and thread for
this kind of embroidery?  (No, I don't mean kits for repro-Craftsman

Question 1)  What kind of linen did they use?  It looks like aida cloth
which has been washed a few times, and isn't always white.  Sometimes it's
a little irregular while still being even-weave.  Sometimes it's almost
like burlap.  (burlap = Hessian)  Is it still available today?  If so, what
is its modern name?

Question 2)  What kind of silk did they use?  It isn't twisted, so I want
to call it floss.  It flattens out in the stitches till all the fibres are
parallel (assuming parallel stitches), and ought to make even my satin
stitch look good.  What was it called then?  Is it still available today?
If so, what is it's modern name?

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