Blackwork

String Art products for adults entail many different aspects including blackwork.

Blackwork is thought to have been introduced into Britain from Spain by Catharine of Aragon when she married Henry VIII in 1509

Blackwork patterns are used in two different types of designs:

Block designs – This is where the pattern forms a simple geometric shape.

Free-form designs – This is where the patterns are used to fill a predetermined shape. Often this a fruit or plant pattern.

The basic stitches used are the basic backstitch, the holbein stitch (which was named after Hans Holbein, an artist that portrayed a large number of blackwork designs in his work). This stitch is worked in two runs. The first is a simple running stitch and the return run is made along the same stitching line with running stitch filling in the spaces left from the first run. You can see how the running stitch is made at The Stitch Guide.

The darning stitch is often used alone in blackwork patterns. It is a running stitch worked in parallel rows. The floats are often varied lengths to create different patterns.

Also used is the double cross stitch which is exactly how it sounds. You add a stitch going up and down and one going left to right to form a star like stitch. The Algerian eye stitch is the last of the basic stitches. It is sometimes just called the eyelet stitch. You can see this stitch also at The Stitch Guide.

Often some other stitches are used as embellishments to the pattern. These include the satin stitch, the stem stitch, the chain stitch and the couching stitch.

Blackwork patterns consist of repetitive geometric motifs made from basic stitches. The original blackwork patterns probably were derived from Arabic embroidery designs and later fruits and figures were added with twining stems giving a cohesive look to the design. The number of patterns possible is infinite and they are simple to design on your own. Find a geometric motif on fabric or tiles that you like and follow the pattern on graph paper. You can take any geometric shape and by adding lines to fill in or extend the original shape, you can modify it to how you like it.

When working a blackwork design, the blackwork pattern must be symmetrically placed. To accomplish this, you must carefully measure and divide the area to be stitched. First determine the approximate size of the finished design and cut your fabric on grain to the projected size plus four inches on all sides. Since blackwork patterns are worked from the center out, the center point of the design must be located and marked. Place the initial motif in relation to the center point so that as many whole motifs as possible fit into the worked area. This positioning is particularly important if the motifs are large.

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