Top Ten Medieval Embroidery Stitches- #10 Pattern Darning

Top Ten Medieval Embroidery Stitches- #10 Pattern Darning

Our friend Susan O’Dee (Mistress Briony, as she is known in the Society for Creative Anachronism) is a talented embroidery expert from New York State. Recently, we asked her what the top ten most useful embroidery stitches were, specifically for pre-1600 AD projects. She came out with a great list and graciously offered to film them for us. The final stitch on Briony’s list is Pattern Darning. This stitch produces elegant results by strategically employing a running stitch by following a regular and repeating pattern. It is frequently found in Middle Eastern and Scandanavian work in items such as table linens.

Additional thanks to Pakshalika Kananbala for filming and editing the video.

Click once to view the video.

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Carol Mclamb March 1, 2011 at 5:04 pm

What kind of linen are you using? It looks like the even weave linen I use for my cross stitch, but that’s very expensive per yard for something as large as a table linen. What do you recommend for practicing this technique before investing in the more expensive fabric for the *real thing*?
Many thanks
Lady Richende de Bevilacqua,
Barony of Windmaster’s Hill

Susan O'Dee March 1, 2011 at 11:27 pm

Greetings Lady Richende:

The linen shown is indeed cross-stitch linen. The linen in the video is a piece I had on hand…not sure what count it is. The finished kerchief is 36 count, and the thread is a #8 DMC perl cotton (chosen for washability).

Yeah, cross-stitch linen is prohibatively expensive for very large projects. It is possible to find reasonably even-weave linen made for clothing, which would be cheaper. But it can be difficult to find. Unfortunately, that’s the only advice I have. Maybe someone else will comment with an idea or a good source for linen.

For a practice piece you might try a kerchief like the one shown…it’s about 10×10 square. According to Marianne Ellis’s “Embroideries and Samplers in Islamic Egypt” they were used to wrap money and small valuables and stuffed in a sleeve. Also, last summer I did a couple of small towels for royalty gifts…about 12 x 18 inches, with darned bands at the ends (or you could make it longer and make a table runner instead). The Ellis book is an excellent source of ideas and patterns.

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