[HNW] recreating historical needlework pieces

Sue Clemenger mooncat at in-tch.com
Sun Nov 13 07:00:39 PST 2005

Hi! Are you interested in a specific kind of embroidery? Just asking a
general question?

Right off the top of my head, I'd say it depends on at least 3 things:
1.  My particular level of experience with the embroidery form,
2.  The trustworthiness of the source,
3.  Other sources (to validate descriptions), or even extant pieces of the
same type.

I've found trusty sources to be absolutely vital when recreating a period
piece (needlework OR costuming).  Bad ones just lead you astray and make you
waste your time.  ;o)  I should say, that sometimes a source might be "bad"
for historical purposes, but adequate/good in other uses--modern
interpretations, etc.  Sometimes the author has just made a mistake.  Which
is why it's always handy to have other sources (other texts, photos, web
pages, personal sketches or photos from museums, etc.) against which you can
check and verify the descriptions or instructions.  I've managed, over the
years, to collect some wonderful closeups from some odd places and sources,
but the best have been a result of being able to view the pieces in person
(I'm pretty sure I'd be quite happy *living* in the V&A! ;-)
Personal experience is invaluable, too.  I, personally, know a wee bit about
general types of pre-17th century European embroidery, but specialize
primarily in 16th century counted thread embroideries.  I've not only done a
fair amount of it over the years, but I've *looked* at a fair amount of it
over the years.  I'd have to rely on the advice of others and on my sources
if I were doing anything, say, from the 18th century or 19th century.
Experience will give you a certain "feel" for things, and that includes the
experience of making mistakes and then having to fix them.  Knowledge of how
that particular materials and tools used for your embroidery in the
historical context can help, as well.  Sometimes, I'll just play around with
an informal "sampler" of sorts, trying out slightly different threads and
techniques, until I get what I'm after.
Does that make any sense? I know it's awfully vague and general, but then,
it's Sunday morning, and I haven't yet had much coffee.

--Sue in Montana (owned by four felines and a large fiber/needlework/fabric
stash, herself)

----- Original Message -----
From: "Stephanie S Smith, Ph.D." <lambdakennels1 at juno.com>
To: <h-needlework at ansteorra.org>
Sent: Sunday, November 13, 2005 6:16 AM
Subject: [HNW] recreating historical needlework pieces

> When recreating period pieces, how do you tell which stitch they used
> from the photographs available?  Most of them are not close-ups and it is
> difficult to see the individual stitches.  The blurb may say what
> stitches are in the piece, but they don't say where in the work each type
> of stitch is.
> Stephanie Lilburn
> aka Stephanie Smith, Ph.D.
> lambdakennels1 at juno.com
> Wolfe City, Texas 75496
> Owned by a Standard Poodle and an Australian Cattle Dog

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