On a couple of occasions, I’ve bought embroidery thread without a specific project in mind, because I liked a color and wanted to experiment with a type of thread. In both of these pieces, I decide to use cross-stitch since I had never experimented with it, but I knew the solid blocks of stitching would show the colors well. Both pieces are done on 22-count Hardanger cloth, a type of cotton evenweave intended for Hardanger-style cutwork embroidery, but well suited for most types of counted-thread work. The threads are two different brands of silk floss. I only had a small amount of the red silk, so I decided to use it for the griffin since it wouldn’t take much thread.

Red Griffin

The griffin is taken from a pattern in Vinciolo’s Singuliers et nouveaux pourtraicts of 1587 (p. 87 in the Dover edition). Although the pattern was intended to be used for lacis (darned netting), it can just as easily be used for cross-stitch.

The cross-stitch worked well for that project, and I decided to also use cross-stitch for the blue thread. Unfortunately, when I started to work the piece, it turned out that the thread was too thin to cover the cloth well. I started over with long-armed cross-stitch which was commonly used in period, and found that it gave the effect I was looking for. I suspect that this problem was common in period when there were no standardized materials, and may be why long-armed cross stitch is so much more common in period than regular cross stitch.

Blue Greek S's

I charted the “S” design from a photograph in Siegler (p. 172) which was described there as being 18th century Greek Island work. I later learned that the same piece was shown in Abegg (p.57) with a 17th century date and an almost identical pattern that had been published in 1564. The oroginal piece is at the Metropolitan Museum, and can be seen here (I think I'm glad I was working from black and white pictures, I like the blue I chose much better than the original red).


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