[HNW] Linen versus Silk

Carol Thomas scbooks at mindspring.com
Sun Mar 2 13:23:42 PST 2008

All the examples I photographed at the V&A study room for that 
general time period had linen background fabric.  I do not remember 
seeing any on silk, embroidered as you describe.  That may mean silk 
was less common, or may be a quirk of the parts of the collection that I saw.

I know of at least one instance (a 15th c. shirt) in which blackwork 
was done on non-even weave linen.  I've never tried to verify if the 
linen used for other items was even weave or not.  If you're not 
doing counted work, it may not matter anyway whether the weave is even.


At 07:57 AM 3/2/2008, you wrote:
>Hi everyone,
>  I came to a final decision on the embroidery books I was going to buy,
>(if you remember the "Can you help me build my embroidery library"
>thread and I've made the order. I just have to sit back and wait in
>an-tiiic-i-pation now! :-)
>  I'm currently working on a needlepainting project, but there is a very
>large project that I'm intending to do and it will take some time in the
>  On a background of vines or interlace (probably vines) I want to do
>leaves, flowers and a few insects in all the different 16th and 17th C
>methods and variations of methods that I can find. Kind of like a huge
>sampler, except it'll look more like a long cushion cover. A bit of
>goldwork, a couple of slips, pearls and beads, a few beetlewings maybe?
>I will be embroidering it in DMC floss.
>I wondered if it would be best to use silk or linen for the background
>material? I know both were used in period (as well as velvet, which I'm
>not brave enough to use in such a large project yet, and silk being used
>in the 17th C as well as linen). Looking at my notes I see mentions of
>taffeta silk, silk twill and satin  being used as well in the 17th C. (I
>do realise that the 17C is out of SCA period. I have many plans for
>I don't want the shine of the silk to take away from the relative
>plainness of the DMC floss but I do want it to look as special as
>possible. Then again, linen may be easier to work with, and I don't want
>to make things any harder for myself than absolutely necessary. It won't
>be able to be washed afterwards if I have goldwork on it.
>Either way, I don't know *what* I should be looking for in the
>particular material. Evenweave linen or "high quality 100% linen". Heavy?
>What sort of silk, if that's a good idea. There seems to be several
>different types.
>I'm thinking of using a beige/oyster/ecru sort of colour, whichever I
>end up using.
>Also, where to buy the material. I've had a look around on Ebay but
>maybe I should be using something a little more special/custom? I live
>in Australia, but don't mind importing the material for such a special
>project - I expect it will take about a year of work so it's worth
>investing in the best of the basic materials.
>Your advice would be greatly appreciated.
>Megan/Elmsley Rose
>H-needlework mailing list
>H-needlework at lists.ansteorra.org

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