Ok, firstly, the Lipperheide Punto de Milano project has been banished.
This thing. Gone. Adios. No more.
….ok, I didn’t throw it away or anything, it’s hidden in a corner of my sewing basket, but mentally it is dead to me.
Why? Well, it was too sloppy, the thread/fabric combo really didn’t work, and it’s not a good idea to try a new stitch for the first time on a pattern where at MOST you do 3 stitches and turn around. So it is banished.
It’s been replaced with this!
Linen cambric from Burnley and Trowbridge is dreamy for fine blackwork… If there’s anyone else in the world who does counted thread at this scale. Unsure.
Brief side note– this is a modern Assisi work pattern, not a 16th C one.
Assisi Work Interlude
In the late 19th C there was a revival of voided 16th C blackwork that came to be called “assisi work,” because at the time it was thought that the 16th c extant examples came from the city of Assisi. This revival included some of the first collections of patterns from 16th C pieces (the edition of Lipperheide available from the Smithsonian is from 1882) and the design of new patterns.
Because these new motifs were inspired by the renaissance examples many of them do have a period “look” about them…. But some do not. In my complete non-expert opinion, here are the major differences.
Some Assisi work patterns have very realistic floral motifs that look more like your great-grandma’s cross-stitch than a Renaissance motif.
Although you do see this in some 16th C pieces, it is much more common in Assisi work for the motif to be outlined in a color (usually black) and the ground to be filled in with another. This looks much more like the originals if the same color is used, or you stick to combos like red+black or dark blue+ dark green. Black outline plus light blue ground looks very modern.
Stitched on Aida cloth
I know it’s intimidating, but just use normal linen. It’s a little slower but not actually more difficult
Filled with standard cross-stitch
Although the standard cross-stitch we know today did exist in the 16th c, it was used very differently from what we think of as “cross-stitch”. 16th C voided pieces are usually filled with long-arm cross stitch, or sometimes two-sided Italian cross stitch or bar stitch. For a much more thorough and better-documented post on this topic, check out the fabulous String or Nothing
Long story short, I wanted to give this voided-motif thing another try but didn’t have convenient access to more period motifs without having to chart them myself. I did, however, have access to several Assisi work books and magazines through work, and these little dudes are plenty medieval for my purposes.
(Note: I think they’re Roosters, but everyone else thinks they’re dragons. My embroidery, my rules)
I’m using my fav floss silk from Piper’s Sills, well beeswaxed, with LACS for the fill. The whole motif is 2.75″ square, which gives you an idea of the stitch size. Eventually I need to sit down and figure out the tpi of this cambric– I’m guessing it’s around 60?