Blackwork Hearts & Flowers

Blackwork Fillings – Free!

Blackwork Fillings - Free!

Those of you who’ve read The Unbroken Thread for a while will remember my very first (and only!) blackwork project. The overall design was based on an antique fabric printing block from India. The fillings all came from a great site called String or Nothing. The author of the site has now generously made available […]


Blackwork Hearts and Flowers – Ta da!

Blackwork Hearts and Flowers - Ta da!

It’s finished, done, complete.  I will miss the slow pace of the work, the richness of the gold and black, that wonderful experience of doing something new for the first time. However… Ta Da! (imagine trumpets playing a fanfare here…)


Wrapping pearl purl

Wrapping pearl purl

Last time the outside border of the Hearts and Flowers Blackwork piece was only 1/3 finished. Today I will show you how I did the middle layer of the three and next time you’ll see it complete! Here’s how it looked last time with the layer closest to the center worked in chain stitch. To […]


Blackwork Border

Blackwork Border

This weekend it’s been so lovely outside that I haven’t done as much stitching as usual. Soaking up the sunshine while quietly reading was just what I needed after the long, gray winter we had here. However, I have made a good bit of progress on the border of the Blackwork Hearts and Flowers.   […]


Pearl purl and gold passing thread borders

Pearl purl and gold passing thread borders

Gold and black – it’s a classic combination or “an eternal theme” as Kimmy mentioned in her comment. As I add more gold to the blackwork. it looks richer and more elegant. I’ve chosen to use three different materials: pailettes, gold passing thread and gold pearl purl for a variation of texture and sparkle. All […]


More gold! and a trick…

More gold! and a trick...

Wow! What a contrast there is in the time taken to do goldwork vs blackwork! Blackwork takes forever…and ever…and ever. It’s very meditative and I love it, but it does go  s – l – o – w – l – y.  Couching gold passing thread, in comparison, flies along at the speed of light. […]


Blackwork Math Miracle

Blackwork Math Miracle

For the past few days I’ve been working only on my blackwork piece. Usually I try to alternate projects on the site so you get read about something different every day, but I’m just so excited to get the blackwork bits all finished and move on to the gold, that this is all I’ve been […]


How to attach paillettes and beads

How to attach paillettes and beads

Remember the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words”?. Today’s tutorial on attaching paillettes and beads doesn’t take much explaining – a few photos will show you exactly what to do. First up – how to attach a gold paillette with a bead on the top, like the ones you see below. I use […]


Adding gold to blackwork

Adding gold to blackwork

Feeling a little adventurous, I decided to begin the bead work on the Blackwork Hearts and Flowers project yesterday. It is so much fun to do something different with my needle! Attaching the little paillettes and beads wasn’t difficult but it was fiddly – very fiddly. I started with the curved area above each of […]


Blackwork: first phase finished

Blackwork: first phase finished

It didn’t take long to finish (just as I predicted!) the very last tulip and now the first phase is complete.


5 Inspirational Sites

5 Inspirational Sites

The design process from start to finish is something that I’ve been exploring for about 8 months. Long time readers know that I’ve drawn inspiration from items in my home: wooden printing blocks (Colors of India and Blackwork Hearts and Flowers) and pottery (Spring in Italy Sampler) being two examples. Like all artists, I don’t […]


Blackwork shade and shadows

Blackwork shade and shadows

Bleary eyed, I walked into my studio this morning and saw the blackwork Hearts and Flowers piece on the bed. Since I didn’t have my glasses on, what I saw was a group of lighter or darker shapes. Something that looked a bit like this: No, my eyes aren’t really that bad but it serves […]


Concentration and precision

Concentration and precision

It’s been an interesting weekend of stitching. Half of the time I was concentrating on placing my needle in e-x-a-c-t-l-y the right place and the other half I was chanting mantras that went like this: “up 2, over left, over right, up 2, over left, over right”. While working on the Winter Linen pillow, the […]


Aarrgghh!

Aarrgghh!

Sunday was NOT a good stitching day. The sun did shine for about 12 minutes and I had good light for doing blackwork and then, wham! in came the clouds again. Even my wonderful magnifying daylight lamp didn’t prevent me from making a huge mess of things. Here is the pattern I was using to […]


Überlegungszeit

Überlegungszeit

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 […]


Setting up the blackwork project

Setting up the blackwork project

Blackwork is a type of embroidery that requires counting. The different diaper patterns are built on geometric shapes – squares, crosses, diamonds, etc.. This means that it’s REALLY important that your design is centered on your fabric. By that, I mean centered on the warp and the weft of the fabric – as exactly centered […]


Seeing things in miniature

Seeing things in miniature

Remember a few weeks ago I wrote about my inability to see the fabric well enough to begin the blackwork project? It was so frustrating. When I started stitching the project, I was straining to see (although I didn’t realize it) and so I tensed my shoulders as I squinted and leaned over my work. […]


Blackwork update

Blackwork update

Everything’s ready for me to begin this project. I even sat down and started to stitch…for about 2 minutes. Then I realized I couldn’t see well enough to count the  individual threads of the fabric. I put on my new reading glasses – no help.  I continued and the stitches weren’t too terrible, but they […]