Blackwork – moving fast (relatively!)

I’ve made quite a bit of progress on the blackwork project – at least it feels like quite a bit!  It doesn’t look like it since the areas I’m filling with these intricate patterns are very small. I’m almost done stitching the hearts and tulips and am beginning to think about the leaves and then the goldwork and the beads or pearls and…but I’m getting ahead of myself!

Here’s the last tulip. It’s not quite finished but I anticipate that I’ll finish it today or maybe tomorrow. This pattern, from the String or Nothing website, has been pretty easy to stitch and I haven’t gotten lost once. (Fingers crossed for the rest!) It’s very dense once it’s stitched but it has the same straight lines as the other tulips so it continues the pattern of straight line designs for the tulips.

The third tulip is this one and it was not difficult to stitch but I did have trouble making sure the tension was exactly the same on each of the short stitches. You can see that some look thicker than others and I think it’s down to the tension – or how tightly I pulled the thread as I made the stitch.

I also find that sometimes the thread slid under the weave of the fabric and I had to sort of push it out from under the linen as I went along. It’s a great, simple filling and I really like it in this context.

All the hearts are done using fillings that have curves in the design. They are my favorite to stitch as they’re the most challenging and the most like a puzzle. Isn’t this a delicate and beautiful filling?

This interlocking chain stitch is so pretty. I really like the space that’s created. It’s quite light and airy. Working this was fun as it links together so cleverly. Many times I was sure I’d done it wrong but I never did  – I’m learning to have faith in my counting finally!

Next time I’ll have photos of the major section finished and I’ll share with you the ideas I have about the rest of the design and, of course, ask for your input!

8 thoughts on “Blackwork – moving fast (relatively!)

  1. Looking good!

    Back when I was a metro commuter in D.C., I bunched fill patterns into two groups – sitters and wanderers.

    Wanderers are ones like the diagonal “zipper” you’re working now. Easy to establish and stitch with no need to look back at the chart once they were started. Sitters were the ones with eccentric offsets or large repeats, that required a chart by my elbow. I tried to plan my stitching so that I had two nearby areas in progress at once, one for the commute and one for the evening at home. I think you’ve hit on the same groupings!

    Thank you for making my day each time you post on this one.-k.

  2. The interlocking chain is beautiful – reminds me, too, of a chainlink fence.

    When you do blackwork, Kathy, do you plan the back to look like the front?

    Is it mandatory for the back to be similar to the front?

    • Hi Marny,
      On this, my first piece of black work, I didn’t try or plan to make the back like the front. I know that’s a technique that many embroiderers do but I’ve never been told it was mandatory. I think it depends on what is being stitched: something that will be framed doesn’t need to be the same on the back as on the front but if you were making a ruffled cuff on a shirt, for example, you would want the back to be the same since it would be seen.

      Liebe Grusse,

  3. You do beautiful work. Is the chain link pattern available for purchase? If it is, please let me know where I can purchase it? I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you!

    • Dear Jackie,

      The pattern cam from Kim Salazar’s web site and is available for download. The chain pattern is in one of the booklets but I don’t know which one. However, I recommend downloading all of them: these are a great resource!

      Liebe Grüße,


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