Lacing a (Slate) Frame

Voided Work
Pattern Darning

Canvaswork - tent
Bargello Pattern Page
Brick Stitch

Pulled Thread (pdf)
Reticella (pdf)
Finishing Edge Stitches (pdf)

Goldwork Basics
Metal Thread couching (pdf)
Braid Stitches (pdf)

Surface Embroidery
Shading (pdf)
Elizabethan Raisedwork (pdf)
Detached Buttonhole (pdf)

Smocking & Pleating (coming soon we hope)

Braid and Cord Interlace (pdf)

Stitch Database Project


Cloth Buttons (pdf)
Buttonholes & Eyelets (pdf)

Sideless Surcoats (pdf)
Medieval Garb Introduction (pdf)

Tudor/Elizabethan Overview - focus on embroidery (pdf)

Textiles & Thread:

Lucet Basics - Square and Flat Braid
Lucet -2 color, gimp and beads

Tannic Acid Dyes
Other Dyes

Silk Thread - "s" & "z"


Easy Medieval Recipes

What to Bring to Feasts - if you don't cook (pdf)

Golden Poppy Competition & Entries:

Tinctures: Dyes & Inks
Horse Barding
Poem: Sestina
Painted Banner
Preserved Foods - Elizabethan Artichokes & Roman Cheese

Narrow Wares: Fingerloop Braiding (coming soon)

Brickstitch -- also known as German Satin Stitch

Beginning in the mid-13th C. we see the rise of the use of the brick stitch in several different styles. While the styles of use differ, there are several embroidered pieces that contain all 3 different styles.

In one piece from Lower Saxony of the late 13th C., there are bands of brick stitch in zigzag patterns. Usually 3 colors of bands – a dark, a medium, and a light, they are used to create a quatrefoil outline and fillings for angel wings. In another part of the piece, the waves are used to fill the body and wings of an eagle. This form was done primarily in silk or linen on linen. Brick stitch most probably was a forerunner of Florentine stitch and Bargello. There are several Opus Teutonicum pieces that have large sections done in a zigzag pattern.

Opus Teutonicum
The second use of brick stitch was in the white on white of Opus Teutonicum. In this style, brick stitch was used to fill areas in white which were then outlined in either a beige or black thread. There were various brick stitch filling patterns that were varied to give texture to the section it covered.

Bands and Blocks
Brick stitch was used to display a wide variety of symbols in a highly stylized almost geometric form in medieval Germany. It was used as bands, filling patterns, and in a complete pattern. Each area might show a single pattern or there might be as many as a half dozen different patterns. These patterns when integrated as the total pattern were used for small items like reliquary bags and as well as large items like a covering for a kneeling cushion (see the website of Joyce Miller cited below).

The patterns in this piece are charted from extent textiles and stitched by author. The green/cream pattern is from a kneeling cushion (seen on the website of J. Miller). The red interlace pattern is seen on a number of different textiles in a wide variety of color combinations. One variation on it is symbolizes an eagle. It is a true brick stitch pattern in that all stitches are either up one thread or down one thread from the stitch next to it.

Medieval pieces were filled with symbolism. This was especially true in church pieces, where the pictures created were used to educate the people, who were largely illiterate. Each piece was designed to convey a story and all the bits in it were used to support that story. Some symbols are rather innocuous and many were not overtly Christian or even religious. Cross hatching (an oversized # mark) is found on a number of pieces and meant lead. A similar sign is a “fret”, which meant iron or the common medieval term of vitriol; used in many processes common in medieval towns. Even the swastika sign, or flyflot, was a common symbol for power or good luck; before it was adopted by the Nazis. Other symbols like the eagle (good luck or power) or flowers, each type of which had a meaning that changed over time and place, may have been more of a supporting cast.

The patterns were very colorful. One of the oldest from Lower Saxony and dated 1250 has a band of brownish red, golden yellow, white, and black silk. The piece noted above has patterns in green, yellow, purple, blue, and black silk. On two pieces from Westphalia and dated to the 14th C. the colors are green, yellow, red and white and green, red, blue, white and pink. The count on the pieces varies from 20 to 72 stitches per inch. On the lower counts, multiple threads were used to give a rich and full look to the piece.

While this form of filling pattern and bands fades in the later half of the 15th C, it is interesting to note that the patterns appear in the modelbooks printed in Europe during the 16th C.


A Pictorial History of Western Embroidery, by Marie Schuette and Sigrid Mueller-Christiansen. Published by Frederick A. Praeger, New York, 1963.

German Renaissance Patterns for Embroidery: A Facsimile Copy of Nicolas Bassee's New Modelbuch of 1568, by Nicolas Bassee. Published by Curious Works Press, Austin, 1994.

“A Stitch Out of Time: 14th and 15th Century German Counted Thread Embroidery”, SCA Complete Anachronist #86 (July 1996) -- sections by Timothy Mitchell: A Stitch Out of Time: 14 – 15C. Germany and Joyce Miller: Medieval Embroidery.

Return to the Main Page for

All Rights to Pictures and Text Reserved by Robin L. Berry, unless noted otherwise - 2007.