• Twelve patterns for darned net/lacis from a 14th-15th century German hanging.

    There is an interesting medieval German hanging at Victoria & Albert Museum, accession number 8709-1863. It consists of twelve squares of darned net alternating with twelve squares of fabric embroidered in convent stitch, with a border that is also embroidered using various stitches, including counted satin stitch and interlaced herringbone.

    German Hanging

    The darned portions are worked in white linen on white linen netting, and uses darning stitch (point de reprise) worked vertically. All other embroidery is worked on gray linen fabric in linen thread in various shades of white, light gray, brownish gray, gray-brown and medium brown, also some outlines in dark brown wool (information from Niedersächsische Bildstickereien des Mittelalters by Renate Kroos).

    These charts attempt to represent what is actually embroidered with no corrections for actual errors. Most of the irregularities come in how the edges are handled, especially when there is just a small sliver of a motif. Also note that both patterns containing deer flip the right-most, partial, repeat so that the embroidery shows the head end, not the rear end. The first square in the first row is the only one that has any notable errors—the left-most bottom fleur-de-lys is missing a petal and the two small bars in the area separating the two octagons to the right of that have four spaces between them instead of the usual three.

    In addition to the 12 charts for darned net linked below, there are also drawings of two of the convent stitch squares, with possibly more coming—let me know if there is any interest in more of these.

  • Three patterns for darned net/lacis from an early 14th century German hanging at the Klostermuseum Wienhausen.

    Much like the above hanging, the darned net areas are interspersed with areas worked in assorted surface embroidery stitches using various shades of white, brown and grey linens, but with the addition of silks in blue, green, yellow and red.

    In creating these charts, I had three photographs to work from: one of the complete hanging (catalogue number 117, p. 154/plate 194 in Niedersächsische Bildstickereien des Mittelalters by Renate Kroos), which was my first introduction to this piece and is not of very good quality; a very similar one on the site which has the significant advantage of being zoomable; and detail shot that is noticeably better than the first two (plate 50 in Kloster Wienhausen by Horst Appuhn), but that only shows two of the three patterns.

    None of the photographs are of sufficient quality to show whether cloth stitch or darning stitch is used, although I lean towards darning stitch. Despite the difficulties with these photographs, I believe the third chart is accurate. I am slightly less sure of the first, but won't be able to verify it without access to a better photograph. The second pattern was interesting to work with. I believe my chart shows the intended result despite the numerous irregularities in the actual working of the arms of the stars and the placement of the small detached motifs. The embroideress who worked this middle band was either extremely inexperienced, extremely incompetent, or extremely distracted.

    German Hanging

  • Pattern for darned net/lacis from a German hungertuch (Lenten veil?) from the second quarter of the 14th century at the Halberstadt Domschatz, Inventory Number 160.

    Like the previous two pieces, the panels of darned net alternate with sections of surface embroidery worked in white and brownish linen thread on a grayish-brown ground in counted satin stitch and upright Gobelin stitch. In this case all three darned net panels have the same pattern, and appear to be worked in cloth stitch (point de toile). Charted from a photograph in Niedersächsische Bildstickereien des Mittelalters by Renate Kroos, catalogue number 31/p. 154/plate 270. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find an on-line photo of this.



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