I am just starting a new blackwork project which shall have to remain hidden until it is finished as it is a present for someone. Instead I am posting you all a few pictures of some of my collection of blackwork. Most of these pictures have been obtained through various web sites and I do not have the sources for all of them so sorry if you want to go and find more yourself. However I do use the wonderful Web Gallery of Art for a lot of costume searches. I use the search function and then select the years of pictures I want to look at. For costume – particularly blackwork you need to look after 1500 as most of the art before that is religious – beautiful to look at but very little costume.
The picture below shows Elizabeth 1st at the very height of blackwork’s popularity – she is wearing blackwork sleeves which were often covered by a fine gauze to protect them.
The next picture shows an unknown lady dated 1595 in a very fine outfit with black and gold work. The scrolls enclosing the fruit and flower motifs are very common in Elizabethan blackwork.
My final picture is not strictly blackwork but as you can see is very similar in its design to the above picture. This is a picture of an existing jacket dated 1620 which is known as the Laton jacket and is in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The museum web site is well worth a visit and if you can get to the museum itself they have wonderful textiles.
I have just come across this blog called The Embroiderer’s Story where they are recreating this jacket – have not had time to read it all yet but will do later! That is the sort of job that I would love!
I have recently purchased two new designs which are based on samplers from a little bit later on in history. I love the simplicity yet complexity of these designs using just a single colour as blackwork does but with such wonderful effect. The first one is called a Quaker Christmas and is from Bygone stitches – I ordered this from the USA from the Stitching Pretty web site. I will probably not do the whole thing as a sampler but am using motifs from it for my snowflake decorations.
I also came across a wonderful web site called Ink Circles which has some stunning designs so I had to order this one below. It is called ‘I Still Do’ and is actually two different samplers of which I have posted close up pics. The owner also very kindly sent me some hand dyed thread to thank me for my order which I thought was lovely!
Again I plan to stitch these motifs to make snowflakes. Am now very out of season with this stitching as it has been quite warm and sunny here this week but snowflakes are pretty at any time of year!
After the success of the three scarves I decided to try my hand at a jumper. I have various friends who are expecting so would like to do some things for them so thought I would practise (the last time I knitted anything like this was 17 years ago when I was pregnant with Ellen!) with a jumper for the Feed the Children organisation. They said on their web site that they accept all sizes so my tension being out should not be an issue! Below is a pic of the WIP -I chose the lovely variegated wool as they said they wanted bright colours!
I had last night finished the back (finished the front last week) but discovered at midnight that I had miscounted the rows (through not starting again at 0 when I finished the rib) so the back was 22 rows shorter than the front! Have now unravelled back to a suitable point and will hopefully finish the whole thing this weekend. Was supposed to be at a Scout Camp this weekend but due to another ear infection which is still not completely gone have given my apologies so will be in the house all weekend instead crafting.
3 thoughts on “Blackwork, samplers and a lovely jumper”
Hi Alison, thanks so much for visiting the Embroiderers’ Story and telling your readers about us. It is a very ambitious project, but a joy in many ways. I’m fascinated to hear about the lamps that enlarged fine work by use of a water globe. If you come across any more about them, especially any idea of the dates when they were commonly used, I’d very much like to hear it. I hope you do get to visit – I’d love to meet you in person.
Hi Alison, I stumbled across your blog while looking at blackwork on Pinterest. I’m really enjoying it and finding it very interesting. Did you finish the blackwork piece that you mention in this post? I know it’s 12 years ago now but am curious to know what it was / see a picture?
Also I feel inspired by your photos of various historical building interiors, so thank you for sharing.
Thanks for visiting and for your comment. I usually post pictures of all my finishes on the blog but cannot actually remember what that project was. I have a tag for all blackwork so it will be under one of those posts. Thanks for the comment about the pictures as well, I love all historical periods and cannot wait to be travelling again.