Another long day in the archive gathering photographic data. The grid seems to have worked nicely and this should give me a fixed scale for working with when I get back to the studio.
I also got the right side photographed with the microscope. In an area where the plait stitch had come away I noticed that the patterns seem to be under the plait stitch – meaning the patterns were worked first. This is interesting because I usually work my outlines first and then fill in the patterns. But I don’t use particularly intricate stitches for my outlines, I suppose if you are working more complex stitches like plait stitches then doing them on top of the pattern edges makes more sense.
The other thing I noticed looking through the microscope is how beautiful the holes are where the stitching has disintegrated. It has left behind brilliant distortions in the weave of the fabric. I think these could make stunning textures for weavings
2 thoughts on “More work in the archive”
Before studying these historical embroideries, I always did the outlines first in back or double running then filled in the patterns or speckles – the joys of being self taught 🙂 As my interest in Blackwork was sparked by the similarity of the graphic quality to my drawings, I think my approach to the embroidery was an overhang from my drawing practice where I use heavy line weights for outlines and work in details with finer lines after – plus I didn’t use stitches more complex than back stitch before I started this research!
I’m just about to embark on learning various plait and braided stitches (which are really complex!)
I always work the fills first, then overwork the outlines, even if they are just chain or reverse chain, and not a complex plaited stitch. I find that I get a neater end product that way, and any partial stitches used to “crib” around curves are nicely camouflaged and contained. The exception is when I use cross or double running stitch to outline my design (instead of marking the ground cloth), then work fillings, and THEN over-embroider the marking stitches to achieve a raised outline.