What is Blackwork?

When I was preparing to take Dakota Rogers’ class, Tiramisu, I freaked. REVERSIBLE BLACKWORK—ARGHHH! I didn’t even know there was such a thing. I didn’t want to ruin the project by working and reworking. I started doing research on reversible blackwork. I didn’t even know where to start. GOOGLE to the rescue. And hopefully these lessons will provide support, if not rescue, for you, too!

First, a bit of history. Yes, Catherine of Aragon was credited with bringing blackwork to medieval England. But, this is not exactly true. She may have brought the style of blackwork common in Spain at the time (hence the name “Spanish Work”), but blackwork was in Great Britain even in the time of Chaucer, perhaps earlier. Chaucer describes the miller’s wife in the Canterbury Tales as wearing garments stitched in this manner.

So, if Catherine wasn’t the author of the method she used, who was? Your guess is as good as anyone’s! “Spanish work” wasn’t even Spanish! It actually originated in Morocco.

(…to be continued!…)

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