Wednesday, January 5, 2011


When I was a kid I did lots and lots of cross-stitch embroidery. I remember the entire process clearly, from when I sat hunched over my grandmother's embroidery catalogue, dreaming of what I could do, ordering a new pattern and finally getting to start working on it. And (sometimes) eventually finishing it. I think my main problem was that I didn't really know what to do with the finished product, as there was only room for so many framed embroideries on my wall and I really did find regular paintings and posters prettier... Eventually I ordered a pretty white curtain with a printed cross-stitch pattern of roses, thinking that this time I'd actually do something more useful than a framed picture! But as I realized I had no window which matched the size of the curtain my enthusiasm faltered. So I quit, and didn't do any embroidery for years.

But now, the times have changed! Since I became interested in historical handicrafts and clothes I once more found it tempting to start doing embroidery, this time to decorate my Viking and Medieval outfits. The problem was I had no idea how to do anything other than cross-stitches! I attempted to decorate the border of my first Viking Age dress with an improvised back-stitch pattern, with a rather poor result. 

I didn't dare try again until this autumn, when I decided to do some embroidery for my friend's 30th birthday present. As my darling Marcus used the sewing machine to create an apron, a kitchen towel and a kettle-holder, I decorated them with satin stitches (which I had never tried before!). 

The result, which you can see in this rather blurry picture, was ok. Not great, since it became a bit uneven and crooked, but I'm just happy to have done it!

This christmas I have started a new project, and I have an enormous amount of ideas for more... Two friends are getting married this summer and are having a 14th century wedding and me and Marcus are planning to make all new outfits, since 14th century hasn't really been present in our wardrobes so far... And we have made a deal: Marcus will do the general sewing of the garments, and I will decorate them as much as I can with embroidery, ribbons and nice handmade buttons! I have already started with a border for Marcus' collar, using stem stitches, on some scrap pieces of velvet from one of my other medieval dresses.

Once again, it's not great as the stitches are a bit uneven. But I'm improving and hopefully I will not have to be too embarassed about the result. The idea was originally to only do the red pattern and let the grey velvet show in between the lines, but in my infinite wisdom (yeah right!) I drew the pattern with a pen that won't come off and the lines are way too visible. So I will have to fill in the space and cover up the velvet entirely, unfortunately. Anyways, I'll report on the progress as it goes along!

For my next embroidery, which probably will be for my own 14th century dress, I think I will try the Bayeaux style couching, another "new" stitch for me. The only problem is that I've got WAY too many ideas and haven't decided on what to choose... But since the above shown piece takes some time to finish I've definitely got time to decide. But all suggestions are welcome!

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