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)

Surface Embroidery

Whether you are doing a simple running stitch or a more complicated bit on a piece of cloth, you are following a centuries old tradition of embroidery. Decoration on cloth with thread has been around nearly as long as we have had cloth clothing.

One of the key questions that is asked is "what stitch was used when?". The answer is not a simple one as the key is in the context - both in terms of country/location/culture and style. Perhaps the main question was how was the stitch used. Thus, if you are trying to follow a design from a certain era it is important to do a bit of research as to what would have been done as well as what thread type would have been used.

Having said that here is a quick listing of what is commonly referred to as basic surface embroidery stitches and a bit on basic context for historical (pre-1600) embroidery. For HOW to do these stitches there are a number of good stitch guides out -- look at Sharon B's and ANG for a couple that have explanations that I like.

Chain Stitch Coptic/Mediteranean - BCE and through 1000 - wool on linen, used as a filling stitch
Viking - Scandinavia 10th C - silk on silk as both outline and filling
Split Stitch Opus Anglicanum - 12th C - 14th C. Europe - silk on linen filling and fine shading
Long and Short Stitch Opus Anglicanum - 12th C - 14th C. Europe - silk on linen filling and fine shading
Outline/Stem Stitch Mammen - Scandinavia 10th C - wool on wool, used to outline and fill
Viking - Scandinavia 10th C - wool on wool, silk on silk, gold on silk, for usually outlines with some filling
Tudor/Elizabethan - outlines for Blackwork filling patterns, various nature motifs, and strapwork
Couching Viking - Scandinavia - 9th/10th C. - wool on wool, wool on linen
Herringbone & Van Dyke variant Viking - Scandinavia - 7-10th C - interlaced/plaited stitches over seam - wool on wool, wool on linen, silk on silk
Bayeux Stitch Norman - 11th C - wool on linen as filling with outline stitch
Running Stitch/Speckling Late Elizabethan - used in blackwork as a shading type of filling - silk on linen or silk
Buttonhole Stitch 16th C Europe - used as a lace stitch and on clothing as an edging on button holes (14th -16th C) - linen for lace and silk for clothing
Detached Buttonhole Late Elizabethan - used as a filling stitch - silk on linen or silk or velvet (with metal threads)

Sometimes when I am teaching concepts of interlace and filling patterns I use this handout that walks throught outline, chain, and split stitches.

Later Elizabethan embroidery was raised embroidery - where the stitches were raised by various means (stuffing, thread padding, felt or board padding) off of the basic fabric. This is my teaching piece.
Detached buttonhole is easy once you understand the concepts behind it. Historically you get 3 variations - going right to left and the reverse, going to the right with a return thread, and a lace variation where you skip stitches.
There are 3 main detached stitches in Elizabethan embroidery - detached buttonhole, trellis stitch and hollie point. Each creates its own form of texture which was important to help emphasize the designs.

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