[HNW] Extant Examples of German Embroidery

Rikke D. Giles rgiles at centurytel.net
Fri Apr 15 08:50:49 PDT 2005

On 2005.04.15 07:20, Carolyn Kayta Barrows wrote:

For lining up stitches for blackwork try:
1.  pencilling a base line
2.  pull a thread to give a base line

If in doubt and desperation, give up the counting aspect, trace the  
design onto the fabric and just stitch it as evenly as you can.   
It'll look pretty good, even if it isn't 'right'.

Remember to use only one thread of floss if you are doing really fine  
blackwork, two at most.  And put the work in a frame if you haven't  
been already, that makes it easier as well.

Also... from the extant pieces of period blackwork I've seen (most in  
the V&A) I'm not entirely sure it was counted in period.  I'm still  
debating with myself about this.  For one thing, the linen was of  
very, very fine weave.  I've put a ruler up and counted threads and  
it comes out to near 100 threads per inch.

Their stitches, even on non-counted stuff, were incredibly small; ie  
1 mm long.    This would allow them to count over one or two threads  
of that high thread count linen, if they actually did the counting.   
The small stitches also easily give the impression of counting,  
because it's so hard to see any unevenness in them.

Finally, I think they backlit their work while working on it, if not  
during the day, at least in the evening.  I don't have the source to  
hand, but I remember reading something about that in a diary.  So the  
source of light (ie a glass covered candle or two) was below the  
work, so that they could see through it, and the threads were  
highlighted.  Try this, albeit not with a candle.  It actually does  
make the counting easier.

Rikke.. who will put up pics of her blackwork shortly

More information about the H-needlework mailing list