Blackwork is about as far from crewel work as one can get in terms of the number of stitches you have to do to cover an area of fabric. Each stitch is so tiny. It takes so many stitches to fill each shape. I stitch and stitch and stitch and then look at what I’ve accomplished and am stunned to see I’ve covered up about a 1/2″ square of fabric! You’d think – me not being the most patient person on the face of the earth – that I’d hate this. But you’d be wrong. I love it!
In my younger days at university I learned meditation (at the request of a boyfriend who no doubt wanted me to mellow out. Ha! Good luck with that endeavor!) I practice yoga today, which is a form of meditation for me, and both meditation and yoga put me in the same frame of mind that these tiny stitches do. It’s completely absorbing and requires relaxed concentration. The process is as important and rewarding as the finished product.
Here’s the pattern I’m working from (courtesy of String or Nothing). There is a definite mathematical element to blackwork and perhaps that’s why it’s so soothing.
I worked on this yesterday afternoon and evening and all of this afternoon. At a guess, 3 hours? I took Marney’s advice and stopped often enough to rest my eyes as they do get quite tired. But my brain doesn’t get weary and my patience never wears thin. Very interesting…not the reaction I expected when I began blackwork.
And it’s so tiny when it’s finished. I stitch using my magnifying lamp and only when I stop and look at my work away from the lens do I realize just how tiny everything is!