[HNW] Re: recreating historical needlework pieces

Lisa Tyson Lisa_Tyson at umit.maine.edu
Sun Nov 13 17:51:30 PST 2005

Stephanie Lilburn wrote: 

> 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. 

There are a number of ways you can approach this dilemna... 

If the piece you are interested in is owned by a museum, 
you can write to the museum and find out how to order 
closeup photos of it. Sometimes you can find a museum
exhibit brochure (through a library) that describes the item
as part of a collection or that was acquired at an auction
(like Soetheby's auctions). 

Images of some well known historic pieces may be reproduced
in different publications (art, needlework) and are described there. 
I've gotten more information about a particular piece that interests
me by discovering it in other publications over time. 

If you are looking at a photo of an authentic item you can see
more detail by enlarging the image. You can scan the image
at a high resolution on a scanner (200, 300, or 400 dpi offer 
progressively more detail). You will be amazed at what you can
see in these scans because the photos are taken using professional
quality film/lens that produces images with finer detail than
you may realize is there. 

If a scanner isn't available you can photocopy the image. 
Use the "photo" setting rather than "text" setting to see 
sharper detail in the image. You can enlarge it until it becomes

If you just want to see the image more clearly you can call
your public library and find out where there is a handicap 
accessible computer station for the visually impaired (either
at a library or other public services center). Places that have
handicap accessible equipment often have a scanner/magnifier
for visually impaired to use. It takes the live image and projects
it onto an oversized computer screen. Great for seeing details

Finally, other books (especially older ones) may have a line drawing
or written description of your item. You may get a very accurate
description of your item by checking these sources. Your public
librarian might be able to help you gain access to books you need
if they aren't immediately available in your area. 

If you let list members know what piece you are trying to recreate, 
you may get additional help. 

(known in the SCA as Lady Bryn Millar) 

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