[HNW] making the back of needlework look like the front

Allison263@aol.com Allison263 at aol.com
Mon Jul 18 08:49:23 PDT 2005

In a message dated 7/18/05 11:23:31 AM, lambdakennels1 at juno.com writes:

<< It is said that the mark of an expert needlework is that the back looks
as good as the front.  Okay, so how does one do that? >>

If you're going for pre 1600 embroidery, they didn't worry so much about what 
the back looked like. In fact, they didn't worry at all about the backs of 
their pieces. The front was what concerened them most, and they did whatever 
they needed to to achieve the correct look, and to make the techniques they were 
using work. I've had the opportunity to see a great many backs recently (I 
visited the Abegg Stiftung conservation center in Bern, Switzerland, in May) and 
also had the chance to talk with several conservators. One of the 
conversations I had with them ( one was their resident expert in german whitework 
embroidery) was how little concern they had for the backs of their work, such as 
snags, knots, etc.  

Not that I would advocate ignoring the work and making a big mess on the back 
of any embroidery. Just that , when studying or reproducing historical (pre 
1600) embroidery, neat backs are not on the list of priorities. Perhaps it is 
more of a concern for later work, such as 18th and 19th century needlework.


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