Sunday, January 18, 2009

A is for

Two types of embroidery come to mind beginning with the letter 'A'.

The first one I think of is Ayrshire embroidery which, according to the EGA glossary, originated in 1814 in the Scottish county that gives it its name. It is a whitework technique and principal stitches include padded satin, eyelets, chain, stem, buttonhole, and needlelace fillings.

Pictured is the back crown of a baby cap, one of many examples (for sale) that can be found here. A magnificent christening gown may be seen here.

Demand for this embroidery began to decline during the U.S. Civil War as a result of the blockade cutting off cotton supplies and it was further hurt by the invention by the Swiss of a machine that could duplicate eyelet holes.

In working eyelets by hand you can use an awl to help enlarge the hole

Assisi work is an Italian counted thread technique where the background is stitched and the main design is left unstitched but outlined in a dark color. Tips and a tutorial can be found here if you'd like to give it a go.

Additionally the May/June 1999 issue of "Piecework" magazine contains an excellent article "From a Medieval Italian Town: Assisi Embroidery" by Elly Smith and directions for four Assisi projects to stitch

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