[HNW] Linen Then (long0

Velvet Claw a_velvet_claw at yahoo.com.au
Sun Mar 9 20:41:08 PDT 2008

I don't have "Medieval Craftsmen: Embroiderers. Kay Staniland" and it'd 
take awhile to get through interlibrary loan, but

 From the V&A feature on Gina Barett

Linen cloth, from the flax plant, was produced in England and much of 
Northern Europe before cotton was introduced from the Americas in the 
1500s. It was used for household and personal linen as well as a base 
fabric for embroidery. It was woven in a range of qualities. Some 
embroideries seem to have used unbleached linen background."

Here, she is working a small but heavily embroidered motif, including 
some goldwork (ie it's heavy, literally)

 From __Lady Acacia d'Navarre's paper on Opus Anglicum
I recommend the linen or silk but remember the weave must be tight 
enough that you will not pull the stitches through the weave and heavy 
enough to withstand the close stitch work and tension of the frame. I 
have a hard time finding the right fabric for a ground and tend to use 
Duchess Silk, (a heavy dense fabric, not too bright and shiny) as a good 
compromise fabric (I have yet to find twill weave silk, but I am still 
looking so please let me know if you find any).

She's describing the Opus Anglicum work, with all the couching and 
underside couching and split stitch, (which isn't quite what I'm doing, 
I'll be doing more detached buttonhold stitch on a lot of flowers) but also

"The gold and silver cord required for this work is another difficulty 
and I have not found a brand that I can recommend without reservation 
although Kreinik or DMC threads are pretty good. Don�t forget that a 
number of works were multi-media incorporating pearls enamels, garnets 
and other gems. So if your tastes run to the sumptuous then try and 
incorporate some of these into your work."

and I do want to incorporate pearls and goldwork. Again, (literally) 
heavy work.

* I also have Lauren's recommendation for evenweave tabby weave linen

So, lets say we've got it down to two things - evenweave tabby weave 
linen with a tight weave, or duchess silk.
Now - my problem is that I'm 90% housebound. I can't go off to this and 
that fabric store and look at different materials. I think I can swing a 
trip to a Lincraft (a chain store fabric shop) but that'd be it. I'd be 
dependant on what that Lincraft had in terms of linen (ring my local one 
- now there's an idea! But today is a holiday)

I've found http://www.classactfabrics.com/silk/silk_fabric.htm
I'm waiting on a reply from Linda to see if she imports to Australia. 
(cross fingers and toes)

The really good prospects there seem to me to be :


56" tabby linen, evenweave
lovely bottom weight


44" linen warp/silk weft
fine tabby weave
crisp hand
camel (lite brown warp/cream weft)

a soft, rich "raw" look silk
44" matka
An even weave that is similar to, but nicer than, noil .

tho I'd have to do some more checking to see if the silks really are 

As a backup, I've found "The Stitching Post" here in Australia, which 
sells evenweave (but not tabbyweave) linen

Of all the Australian on-line shops I've looked at today (searching 
under "evenweave linen fabric") it seems to list the most brands.

I do have a funny feeling that there is "linen" (fabric) and "linen 
canvas" meant for cross stitch embroidery ? I know Aida is absolutely 
the wrong sort, and I'm confused about Zweigert but think it's the same 
sort of canvas-y thing, but I don't know which are the right ones. The 
ones that look like actual material in the photos I guess. I just want 
evenweave linen cloth. And I don't how heavy any of them are. That's why 
I like ClassActFabrics, even though it means importing the fabric.

On my wanders, I found a brief blog entry about some unusual evenweave 
linens that I thought some of you might be interested in : 

And now I've found a list that explains what is in all those different 
'types' (from Aida to Monks Cloth, Vicenza, Pilgrim Cloth and a hundred 
others) and also unevenweaves.
<http://home.comcast.net/%7Ekathydyer/nf_fabrics.html> fyi.

I'm sure I'm making all of this more complicated than it needs to be, 
but it's too hot to move, so I'll move on Duchess Silk's availability 

The first thing I find at an on-line silk shop is a reference to peau de 
soie (duchess satin) (not duchess silk). And then I read on a different 
site that duchess satin and peau de soie were different.

I've also read that it's commonly used for evening/bridal dresses, so 
perhaps it would be available from that chain store (Lincraft). The 
search has buried me in bridal store web sites, most of which have very 
elegant and mysterious websites.

So - I'll wait to hear back from Linda at ClassActFabrics, ring Lincraft 
tomorrow - and if anyone can tell me if any of the linens? at the The 
Stitching Post are suitable, I'd appreciate it.

*a hot, and slightly brain glazed*

Megan/Elmsley Rose

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