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									                                   Early Non-European Counted Embroidery

                                   Pattern Darning, Cross stitch, counted
                                        herringbone and Double Running stitch
                                        are all features found in early Non-
                                        European counted embroidery. These
                                        stitches are amongst the earliest known
                Class Outline
             I.     Early Non-
                                        to mankind and their origins can not be
        European counted                definitively traced to any one culture.
 II.   German Medieval             It is generally believed that they were brought
                          styles          from China into Persia, India, Egypt and
           III.   16 th century
                                          from there spread to Spain and the
                    Blackwork             Mediterranean region and then into the
IV.   16  th century voided

                                          rest of Europe. The vast majority of early
       V.       16th C. Canvas            extant pieces are from Egypt and
                           Work           Morocco.
 VI.   16   th C. Non-voided

                  Cross Stitch     If you are interested in this early non-
                  embroidery             European style I recommend the
       VII. 16th C. Middle
                                         following book highly. Embroideries
             Eastern Pattern
                                         & Samplers from Islamic Egypt
  VIII. 16   th C. Indian and            by Marianne Ellis
Multicolor counted work (silk on linen) was done in Germany
     primarily from the 13th-15th centuries and was especially
     popular in the Lower Saxony/Westphalia region. This
     technique was applied to almost anything including purses,
     boxes, pillows, hangings and vestments. The primary stitch
     used was brick stitch. (instructions below) If you are
     interested in this style I recommend you visit Master
     Richard Wymarc’s site and article, “A Stitch out of Time”
     available at:
        German White Work is called Opus Teutonicum:

“Opus Teutonicum was created using white linen
thread on white linen ground fabric. Silks and wools of
light colors were sometimes used to highlight parts of
the design. A variety of techniques were used in
German whitework, one involved filling figural or
abstract designs with complex geometric patterns
created in satin or brick stitches. This added texture to
the overall design.” taken from

The majority of these items are ecclesiastical and were
worked in area convents. It is not strictly a counted
style, but some items were done using counted
techniques including brick stitch and pattern darning.
        German Embroidery Resources on the WEB:

A Stitch Out of Time by Master Richard Wymarc

Some pics from the Medieval Arts & Crafts Blog:

Some images on Needle’s Excellency Blog:

An Excellent article on Whitework:
Blackwork is commonly thought to be an Elizabethan
form of embroidery. However, while it was widely done
in England it was popular throughout Europe during the
16th century and can been seen on many extant articles
of clothing from England, Germany and Italy. Blackwork
can be done in a counted/reversible way, but was
frequently NOT counted. The double running (Holbein)
stitch is the element of the embroidery that is counted
and reversible. There are many extant examples of this
counted/reversible double running stitch that are done
in colors other than black including red, blue, pink, and
           See the double running diagram below:
A Blackwork Article published in Fancywork magazine:

An article entitled “Double Running Stitch”:

Elizabethan Blackwork pattern archives:

Filum Areum Newsletter – Blackwork Edition
The voided embroideries of the 16th century which
have later come to be called Assisi (Italy)embroidery
have a few common characteristics. First of all they
utilize counted embroidery techniques. Commonly
long armed cross stitch but occasionally, double
running stitch, and a drawn work technique called
“punto milano” which gave the embroidery a lace-like
feel. Traditional cross stitch is rarely seen. Secondly,
there is typically only one color of silk used. Most
frequently red ,but blue and green examples do exist.
The background of the embroidery was done in
colored silks and the designs are left blank. It is very
rare to see an Italian voided embroidery that is within
our period of study that has the designs or other
elements outlined in black.

It was primarily used on domestic items and
furnishings such as table covers, pillows, towels, and
aprons. Also frequently seen as altar cloths in Italian
Mistress Clare’s Voided Embroidery Page:

Stalking the Wild Assisi:

Filum Areum Newsletter – Voided Work Edition

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has many extant voided
  embroideries available to view in their online image database.
                                     Primarily seen in England and France
    Tent Stitch diagram
For many the first thing that comes to mind when discussing
16th c. Canvas Work Embroidery are the Mary Queen of Scotts
 /Oxburg Panels. While those may be among the most famous,
 the style was pervasive in England and France and many
extant embroideries exist.

    Some scholars attribute its popularity to the fact that it was a
     fast/cheap way to imitate tapestries
    It was a good choice for furnishings (in wool) due to its
     strength and durability.
    Entire large embroideries could be done in this way, but
     they also did smaller slips that were then cut out and applied
     to other materials such as velvets.
    The period versions are very similar to modern needlepoint
     and used silk, wool and metallic floss depending on the
     application, size and use of the item.
    A number of needlepoint stitches were used including tent
     stitch, cross stitch, gobelin, etc.

In Italy they did a type of canvas work similar to Bargello. While it
is canvas work, it is not similar either stylistically or technically to
 the very popular English/French canvas embroideries. There are
very few extant Italian examples and there is very little information
about it. There is a nice article on this style in the resources section.
Needlework of Mary Queen of Scots by Margaret

Filum Areum Newsletter – Related editions below:
By the 16th Century Cross stitch
was well utilized all across
Europe and the middle east and
can be found domestically in
most cultures.
Here are some examples:
(Background Italian)
Top – Sicilian
Middle – Icelandic
Bottom (L) – Spanish
Bottom (M) – England

 Keep in mind that Long Armed
 Cross stitch (diagram below) is
 considered the normal form of
  cross stitch in period. A great
   article with instructions and
   patterns can be found here

 Cross:Cultural by Christian de
Pattern Darning is a counted embroidery technique that uses
running stitches to create a pattern or filling. In Middle Eastern
Embroidery it is generally reversible and the rows are typically
diagonally aligned. Embroidery is brightly colored, done in silks
on plain even weave linen background. Motifs are generally

See the stitch diagram below which shows pattern darning in
diagonal rows.
Flowers of Silk & Gold: Four Centuries of Ottoman
   Embroidery by Sumru Belger Krody

The Victoria & Albert Museum Online Image Gallery has a
  vast array of 16th century Ottoman embroideries with
  detailed information on stitches used and patterns, etc.

Filum Areum Newsletter – Pattern Darning Issue
Information about embroidery in India during the SCA period of study
is limited. However, there are a number of extant embroideries from
India in the 16th century that utilize counted embroidery techniques.
The MFA houses several Manuscript covers such as the background
here that are done using counted styles including brick stitch and
tapestry stitch. Much of this appears drawn because the work is
executed on cotton gauze.

Additionally, there are some extant Indo-Portuguese items such as
coverlets, hangings and pillows that were created in India specifically
for export to the European markets. Many of these are done in a
counted back stitch and are slightly quilted as below.

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