Monday, November 12, 2007

Tutorial:14th century border in interlacing stitch

Finally I know how to do this type of borders, frequently used in 14th century Swiss and German whitework:

This example is taken from: Kroos, R. (1970), Niedersachsische Bildstickereien des Mittelaters, Berlin: Deutscher Verlag fur Kunstwissenschaft

The original embroidery is done in white linen on white linen. I used red cotton, because I'm still familiarizing myself with the stitches. Cotton is a bit easier to find here, and red thread is easier to distinguish from the background fabric

So, here is what I have done. Click on a picture to enlarge. (The pictures were taken on an autumn day with changing weather, so the light is a bit different in each picture)

Step 1: draw dots on the fabric. Each dot is one interlacing stitch

Step 2: make the 'skeleton stitches'

Step 3: the inner part of the square is embroidered separately. It took me a lot of time to find that out... :-)

Step 4: all the "skeleton stitches' are in place

Step 5: start lacing

Step 6: the inner part of the square is laced separately

Step 7: Yeah! The figures are not exactly parallel, but in the original 14th century work, it seems a bit shaky too (see enlarged photocopy in step 1 and picture above)


Laura said...

Lovely, Machteld! I really need to try this. :)

Have you seen Embroideries & Samplers from Islamic Egypt by Marianne Ellis? It has pictures of one or two pieces that use this stitch. Most of the examples are pattern darning, though.

Machteld said...


The book sounds interesting, let's see if i can find it.

It seems that this stitch is also frequently used in modern embroidery from India, where it it called Sindhi stitch or kutchwork.

Here are some nice photos of this style:

Isis said...

this looks very nice! an afwul lot of work though :-)

Machteld said...


I understand the logic of it now, so I can work a bit quicker. Still, embroidery is slow and meditative work (one of the things I like about it). It takes me about an hour to finish one sequence