Works in Progess: Chessboard

Blackwork Chessboard Emergency!

I only have seven more squares to go!  Then the pieces must be stitched around the border.  I had  an emergency this weekend when I was showing off my progress to Jeff.  I didn’t realize he was bleeding.  When he handed it back I found three spots of blood on the piece.  Here’s what I did to get it out immediately:

1.  HAD JEFF SPIT ON THE SPOTS:  Did you know that there is an enzyme in your saliva that when mixed with your own blood stops the blood from setting?  It’s true!  But the saliva and blood need to belong to the same person.

2.  RUBBED THE SPOTS WITH AN ICE CUBE:   Cold will help remove protein and keep it from settingeals the protein. Try running hot water on one plate with egg on it and cold on another plate with egg.  The heat congeals the protein.

3.  RUBBED TIDE TO GO STAIN STICK ON THE SPOTS:  While the first two steps made a big difference and I had only a bit of pink on the fabric, I was not ready to submit the whole piece to a handwash.  This stain remover took everything out!  Maybe I didn’t even need to do the first two steps.

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LESSON ONE (continued)

For those who have recognized that Catherine was merely a vehicle for getting “Spanishe Work” to Great Britain, it is widely believed that the style was actually born in Morroco.  This, I believe, is true to an extent.  One must look at the history of that part of the world to have a better understanding of this embroidery.  Do not forget the importantance of the Byzantine Empire and all that was “borrowed” from that powerful and large influence–the beauty of the churches, mosaic works, the opulence of gold work and use of other gems in art.  And the weight of one’s faith or connection to religion.  One must also remember the importance of trade routes to the Far East, i.e., The Silk Road.  Textiles and fibers for making and enhancing textitles were valuable trade resources at both ends of “the Road.”  All of these influences informed the ultimate creation of Catherine’s world and her stitching.

When the Islamic world began to stretch out and occupy more lands, one faction gained power on the Iberian Peninsula.  This group is said to have come from Morroco and the term associated with that time in Spain was “Moorish.”  It has also been suggested that these “Moors” were tolerant of other cultures in the land they occupied.  This might be because they did not raze the old churches and community places, but instead embellished them and augmented them to meet the needs of their Islamic faith.   In fact, they were as ruthless as any other colonizer in history.   (To be continued….)

Welcome to the Introduction of the Lessons

Why Word Press made me say “Hello, World” when all I want to do is speak to the Stitching World, I’ll figure out later when I start my pages for “The Shop Sampler,” a project you’ll love to follow and emulate yourself  I’ll bet!

A bit about me.  Like many I started stitching when I was a preteen.  Don’t remember the exact age, but I do remember my first finished piece.  It was a stamped sampler in autumn colors that my mother framed and hung in her walk in pantry.  I’m not sure where it is now as Mom doesn’t have that walk in pantry or even that house any longer.

Again like many, I took a break from stitching during my teens and early 20s.  Then I focused on oil painting and other forms of self-expression, flannel shirts, jeans, shaggy hair, devotee of Leonard Cohen music, and POW bracelet on the wrist.  ( I was finally able to retire the bracelet when Lt.Col Bernard Conklin’s remains were returned to the U.S. in the late ’80s.  I was living in the DC suburbs then and went to the Wall to make sure there was a cross put next to his name.  It was there.  I thought of his daughter and my friend, Jan.)

My interests in stitching cover the gamut, but always comes back to embroidery stitches. Did you know you can put them anywhere?!   I especially love the connection to history I feel when stitching.  I think that is why I am so passionate about blackwork these days.  It is a history that noone seems to have a lot to say about.  The names Catherine of Aragon and Chaucer come up and, of course, Hans Holbein who not only painted Henry the 8th revealing the blackwork on Henry’s clothing, but Holbein also did some decorating and clothing design for Henry.  Maybe that’s why he painted the embroidery so clearly?  Maybe those were articles he created for Henry?

That’s what this blog is about.  Blackwork.  Where did it come from?.  How do you do it?  How is it changing with modern fibers and fabrics?  If you express an interest we could even gather via Yahoo Groups to have a meeting and share thoughts, patterns, and our passion for this lovely form of embroidery.  I’ve already got the room ready.  Come visit for a spell.

Now, I’m off to photograph my current project to use as a header for The Lessons.  Later…