HNW - Craftsman-period embroidery (reply)

Kira Lathrop klathr1 at
Fri Sep 10 15:42:06 PDT 1999

Hi Kayta,

you asked:

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?

It's modern name is evenweave linen: available from many sources, but for 
starters look at the Wyndam Needleworks site:  It is more expensive 
than aida cloth, but is also more beautiful, more appropriate and feels 

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?

You're right, it's silk floss.  Available from several different 
manufacturers including Caron, Eterna and others.  Look at Shakespeare's 
Peddler  for silk, 
linen and other stuff. You're looking for stranded silk instead of twist. 
 When you're laying the silk you can use a needle or pin to straighten the 
fibers as you tighten the stitch to make the silk lay down nice and smooth. 
 To do this, you let the stitch begin to close over your extra needle and 
then run the needle to and fro to work the fibers straight as you tighten 
the stitch. Look up a book on Japaneese embroidery for more detail about 
how to work the silk and make it behave; that's the only place I've found a 
nice write-up so far.

Have fun!
Kira (sca Constance)
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