Counting Threads

Hi everyone

I hope you’re having a great weekend. In this post I’m going to share two works that use different counted thread techniques.

Blackwork

The first uses Blackwork which is an embroidery technique that dates back to at least the 16th century. It’s also called Spanish Blackwork because it’s thought that it was first brought to England by Catherine of Aragon. It became very popular during the reigns of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I as a decorative element on clothing but gradually lost ground in the 17th century.

If you’ve read The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer you might recall that he describes the clothing of the miller’s wife in this way:

“Of white, too, was the dainty smock she wore, embroidered at the collar all about with coal-black silk, alike within and out.”

The stitches that are characteristic of this geometric technique are Double Running Stitch (also called Holbein Stitch) and Back Stitch. It’s usually stitched on an evenweave fabric.

Flight of a Butterfly

Flight of a Butterfly  is a beautiful Blackwork and Goldwork design stitched by Sharon Burrell. Sharon began this piece as part of a class with Tanja Berlin at the 2013 Koala Conventions. She says that it was the first time she’d done any Blackwork and she absolutely loved the experience because Tanja was such a fantastic teacher. Sharon also found Tanja’s class notes really helpful for finishing the embroidery after the class.

Here’s some awesome eye candy of Sharon’s lovely stitching:

Flight of a Butterfly stitched by Sharon Burrell

Detail 1 of Flight of a Butterfly stitched by Sharon Burrell

Detail 2 of Flight of a Butterfly stitched by Sharon Burrell

Exquisite!

Now to the  second counted thread technique……

Wessex Stitching 

When I first came across this technique I thought it looked a bit medieval and assumed it must be very old. The ‘Wessex’ name also adds to the aura of history because during the Anglo Saxon period it was a centre for embroidery and illuminating.

But no it’s actually a more recent style that was created by Mrs Margaret Foster (1843-1936) who lived in Bath, England. Very little is known about her life but her technique, Wessex Stitching, has endured because after her death her sister donated all her notes and the 300 pieces she developed for an exhibition to Gawthorpe Hall.

Gawthorpe Hall has an awesome collection of lace, embroidery and other textiles. It is absolutely on my bucket list. You can read more here.

Wessex Stitching combines a limited number of stitches in a wide variety of patterns and colours to create a decorative effect. It’s also usually stitched on evenweave fabric.

The Broken Window

We’ve been progressively sharing with you the postcards made for 2014 Creative Challenge  Stitching Love and Hope. The postcard we’re sharing in the post is a wonderful modern re-interpretation of the WW1 Silks.

It was created by Catherine Fetherston and is called  The Broken Window. It was inspired by photos of church ruins in France in WW1. The embroidery technique used is Wessex Stitching.

I find this postcard very moving and profound in its understated elegance. The colours and design Catherine has chosen are very evocative of a stained glass window fragmented and yet still splendid in its beauty.

Here are some photos:

2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Catherine Fetherston

Detail 1 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Catherine Fetherston

Detail 2 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Catherine Fetherston

What do you think?

Enjoy!

Carmen

Lest We Forget

Hi everyone

In honour of Remembrance Day I’m going to share four more awesome postcards from our Stitching Love and Hope Creative Challenge to re-interpret WW1 Silk Postcards. All four postcards feature poppies.

The first is a beautiful Needlelace and Stumpwork postcard by Sharon Burrell:

2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Sharon Burrell

Detail 1 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Sharon Burrell

Detail 2 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Sharon Burrell

This next lovely postcard is by Jenny Clayton:

2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Jenny Clayton

Detail 1 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Jenny Clayton

Margaret Roberts has stitched two delicate and vivid poppies on her beautiful postcard:

2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Margaret Roberts

Detail 1 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Margaret RobertsWhile the message in Luba Tomaska’s evocative field of poppies sums up the solemn purpose of today:

Detail 1 of 2014 Creative Challenge postcard by Luba Tomaska

2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Luba Tomaska

 

If you want to see all the Stitching Love and Hope postcards that we’ve shared to date then go to the Challenges Gallery here.

Bye for now

Carmen

A Gentle Bear

Hi everyone

This is a quick post to show you a very gentle candlewicked teddy bear stitched by Jillian Bath.

There’s something about the simplicity of this bear that makes it very endearing to small children and this particular one has had a lot of cuddles!

Candlewick Teddy Bear stitched by Jillian Bath

The pattern comes from Candlewicking Book by Tonia Todman 1993. She describes him as ” an easy bear to make because his head and body are all in one. Limbs are all sewn in rather than jointed. You can allow your creative spirit free rein when embroidering – all sorts of candlewicking embellishment will be suitable. I suggest that it would be almost impossible to embroider him too much !! “

Here’s some eye candy of how Jillian has embroidered him…

Detail 1 of Candlewick Teddy Bear stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 2 of Candlewick Teddy Bear stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 3 of Candlewick bear stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 4 of Candlewick Teddy Bear stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 5 of Candlewick Teddy Bear stitched by Jillian Bath

Just too cute!

I’m also going to share the postcard that Jillian created for our 2014 Creative Challenge Stitching Love and Hope. It evokes in a very delicate way the poppy fields of Flanders which are one of the most powerful symbols of WW1.

2014 Creative Challenge Postcard stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard stitched by Jillian Bath

Hope you have a fun weekend with lots of stitching!

Carmen