The Zen of Counting– And Reversibility

I’m officially obsessed with 16th century blackwork embroidery. I’ve done a little bit of it before, but I’m not sure it ever made it to the blog.

However this has recently exploded into complete insanity–fueled, unsurprisingly, by a trip to Britex Fabrics.

Britex is a high-end fabric store in San Francisco, and a total icon. A couple years ago they changed locations, but I hadn’t been there since. Kind of a problem since doing my job well requires familiarity with all the local textile resources. So on my first Saturday off in a year and a half I hopped on BART and headed into the city.

And then I proceeded to fall in love with a bolt of $79/yd Ferragamo linen. Beautifully even, tightly woven, and perfect for blackwork. And it deserved something amazing.

Like this!

This is a portion of a 16th century Italian sampler in the collection of the V&A and I LOVE it. I also decided I could totally chart one of these motifs.

Four sheets of 10 squares/in graph paper later and I’ve graphed about half of it.

That’s enough to get started with? Right?

Piper’s Silk floss on Ferragamo linen from Britex. The untwisted floss silk takes some getting used to– the uneven thickness is due to me shredding it a little bit while picking out mistakes.

Still not sure what I’m doing after this motif– I’m looking into reversible Assisi work at the moment. I might just do this one, since I kinda signed up to do a non-Laurel artisan display at Twelfth Night and I’d like to have this done. 50″ x 18″ gives me a lot to play with.

And yes, all of these are 100% reversible.

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