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Gossamer Lace in Blackwork – My current stitching

There are some stitching blogs where the authors are using them to keep a good accounting of their stitching progress.  Some of this kind of record keeping has moved to Instagram for many stitchers that I know and in the stitching circles that I move in, but I can certainly remember a time of following blogs where it was a lot about reading and seeing progress with stitching projects.

I haven’t really used this space in that way for a couple of reasons.  First of all, I’ve enjoyed using this opportunity to explore all kinds of topics in the needlework world.  And secondly, and perhaps more importantly, I have mostly been a one project at a time kind of person.  If I were blogging about my stitching, and only doing that, well, my blog would get quite boring.  Especially because I am often a large project stitcher.  I’ve shared with you a few of my large projects from the past already here.  It is more than past time that I share what has been my current work.

This past summer, I released a pattern I called Gossamer Lace and did so in two forms – a cross stitch version and a blackwork version.  I knew from the time I was working on the pattern on my computer screen that I wanted…needed…to stitch the blackwork version.  (In the grand scheme, yes, I wish I had the time to create models for all the patterns I have created.  Another topic for another time.)

I began working on this in July and I am nearing the finish line.  Here is where it is as of today, January 4:


A close-up:


At the point that I had finished half (well, more than half) in October and had it unrolled from my scroll frame, I took this picture.  The design is completely symmetrical, so it will give you some sense of what the whole thing will look like.


This design is based off of a filet lace tablecloth I purchased at an antiques mall last spring.  (Ooohhh, filet lace, another great topic for a future post.)  It was stunningly beautiful to my eye and had a great price sticker attached to it :-).  I knew that inspiration for a pattern would no doubt be coming.  In keeping with the source of that inspiration, lace, I knew that I wanted to stitch it using white thread (I’m using DMC B5200, otherwise known as bright white) over two threads on a 40 count hand dyed linen from Silkweaver called Deep Denim. I love this blue fabric, despite the fact that it has often been challenging to capture its true color in pictures. The stitching is 18 inches in diameter and I will have used up 5 skeins of DMC floss when I am done.

This project, as with nearly all of my long term (i.e. many months of solo focus) stitching projects, has meant a lot to me.  I simply and utterly enjoy bringing it to life.  I’ve enjoyed sharing it in the places I have and talking about it when asked.

One question that has often come up, especially when posting in places that attract mostly cross stitchers, is about blackwork in general.  A couple of important things:  blackwork, as a style of stitching, does not have to be done using black thread.  Yes, that is part of its history and its origin, but as it is done now, well, anything goes.  The style of blackwork stitching is really more about using outline/backstitching.  Related to that is that some people believe that all blackwork has to be reversible.  Not so.  Yes, that comes from its history and origin as well.  Going back some centuries and blackwork was used to decorate cuffs and collars of nobles and, as such, looking the same on both the back and the front was an important characteristic.  But, a piece like mine, intended to go in a frame?  Who cares if threads are carried on the back?  (well, as long as they can’t be seen from the front, don’t distort the stitching, etc.)  So, no, not all blackwork needs to be reversible.

If you are interested in the history of blackwork, I recommend  this page of Jane Zimmerman’s website.  Excellent pictures.

Right now, my Gossamer Lace in Blackwork is available in my Etsy store for purchase as a paper pattern or a pdf.  You can also purchase Gossamer Lace in Cross Stitch as a paper pattern or pdf there as well.  Hoffman has both available, so your LNS just might have it in store.  Just know, for the time being, the current printing of the pattern has a computer-generated version of the pattern on the cover:

screen shot 2019-01-04 at 12.02.06 pm

I look forward to a new printing of the pattern – soon! – where I will replace that cover image with a photo of my finished stitching.

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