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  • Publisher: Search Press
  • Edition: BE Spiral bound
  • Publication: 29 September 2010
  • ISBN 13/EAN: 9781844485512
  • Stock: 50+
  • Size: 155x215 mm
  • Illustrations: 136
  • Pages: 96
  • RRP: £10.99
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RSN Essential Stitch Guides: Blackwork

£10.99

by Becky Hogg

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Book Description

The Royal School of Needlework teaches hand embroidery to the highest standard, developing techniques in new and innovative ways. This series of Essential Stitch Guides provides expert tuition on a variety of techniques. In this guide to blackwork, Graduate Apprentice and tutor, Becky Hogg, shows how to develop many different patterns from the basic blackwork stitches, using detailed instructions and beautiful examples of traditional and contemporary embroideries.

The Royal School of Needlework teaches hand embroidery to the highest standard, developing techniques in new and innovative ways. This series of Essential Stitch Guides provides expert tuition on a variety of techniques. In this guide to blackwork, Graduate Apprentice and tutor, Becky Hogg, shows how to develop many different patterns from the basic blackwork stitches, using detailed instructions and beautiful examples of traditional and contemporary embroideries. There is a fascinating look at the history of blackwork, a guide to the materials needed, and then a detailed look at the stitches used. These are then developed into a huge variety of beautiful patterns, and finally there is a guide to varying the look of these patterns through the use of different shading techniques. There are inspiring embroideries throughout the book, both historical pieces and contemporary works by the author and other RSN apprentices.

Table of Contents

The Royal School of Needlework 6
Introduction 8
The history of blackwork 10
Materials 12
Framing up 20
Design 22
STITCHES 26
Back stitch and double running stitch 28
Chain stitch 30
Sketched satin stitch 32
Stem stitch 34
PATTERNS 36
SHADING 80
Changing the thread thickness 82
Breaking up the pattern 84
Combining the techniques 86
MOVING ON 92
Index 96

About the Author

About Becky Hogg

Becky Hogg achieved a first class honours degree in Textiles at Loughborough School of Art, then specialised in traditional hand embroidery as a Graduate Apprentice at the Royal School of Needlework, where she learned blackwork, goldwork, silk shading and whitework. She worked in the studios of the Royal School of Needlework for nine years on diverse and prestigious commissions including replica curtains for the Royal Opera House and the Commonwealth banner for the Queen's Jubilee. She now works freelance from her London studio and teaches hand embroidery at art colleges and at the Royal School of Needlework.

Press

Mary Corbet's Needle 'n' Thread

Like the RSN Essential Stitch Guide for Crewelwork that I reviewed the other day, the one for blackwork is a definite must-have resource for your needlework library even if blackwork isnt your thing, but especially if you have an interest in it. Let me explain

Blackwork is only sometimes my thing. There are many aspects of blackwork that I like, and Im drawn towards certain techniques that employ elements of blackwork. I love border patterns that include blackwork, for example, and that are worked in Holbein stitch. When considered a strictly counted, linear technique, however, it doesnt really appeal to me too much: medallions or other geometric shapes (mandalas that repeat, and gridded stars and squares and circles and so forth) that are strictly counted Holbein stitch or backstitch as lacy and pretty as they might be arent really up my stitching alley. Though I suppose, like everyone else, I do go through phases where I can see how they could be appealing!

But blackwork can be something different from this linear approach i.e. pictures achieved by patterned stitching with a gradation of shading, and often employing embroidered outlines. This, I find appealing. Theres something about achieving a shaded effect by gradually changing a pattern or by gradually changing thread weights within a pattern that I think is interesting and challenging and beautiful. I also like the variety of filling patterns that are often employed in blackwork. Filling patterns interest me whether they are counted or not.

So the blackwork embroidery that is primarily covered in this RSN stitch guide is not necessarily the same type of charted blackwork that we see often today. Certainly, elements of this type of blackwork fit within the frame of what the book is all about, but in fact, the RSN stitch guide concentrates more on that latter type of blackwork a challenging form of blackwork that is more akin to surface embroidery than it is to counted cross stitch.

 

Book Review: RSN Essential Stitch Guide for Blackwork

 

Like the previous stitch guide on crewelwork, the blackwork stitch guide is a small hardcover book, spiral bound, that lays flat. It is a stitch guide, not a project book, although while it may not contain specific projects, it has plenty of inspirational pictures that will lead readers to conceive their own ideas for projects.

 

Book Review: RSN Essential Stitch Guide for Blackwork

 

Theres a nice introduction the Royal School of Needlework in this book, so if youve ever been curious about it, youll find some good, brief information here.

 

Book Review: RSN Essential Stitch Guide for Blackwork

 

Theres also a short not too detailed history of blackwork that covers the points found in most histories of blackwork: a bit on Holbein stitch, a bit on the Spanish and Moorish influence carried over into England.

 

Book Review: RSN Essential Stitch Guide for Blackwork

 

Theres a good section on materials much like the one in the crewelwork book, but not precisely the same. It isnt a cut-and-paste job, which is nice!

 

Book Review: RSN Essential Stitch Guide for Blackwork

 

Youll find information on threads and needles used in blackwork

 

Book Review: RSN Essential Stitch Guide for Blackwork

 

as well as information on fabrics of choice for blackwork.

 

Book Review: RSN Essential Stitch Guide for Blackwork

 

Once again, like the crewelwork book, there is a decent section on preparing and framing up your project, getting it ready to stitch and it concentrates again on setting up a slate frame, though thats not the only framing option discussed. The technique is more or less the same as in the crewelwork book, but not a cut-and-paste job. Im glad about that. You know, it could be, because these types of topics dont change too much from one technique to another, but in both books, the instructions and photos are different.

 

Book Review: RSN Essential Stitch Guide for Blackwork

 

Theres an excellent section on design, and nterpreting a design for blackwork.

 

Book Review: RSN Essential Stitch Guide for Blackwork

 

The section on transferring is slightly different not a heavy emphasis on prick-and-pounce, but rather, transfer methods that work best with this type of blackwork.

 

Book Review: RSN Essential Stitch Guide for Blackwork

 

And then we get into the stitches. The stitches are not as varied as they are in the crewelwork book. Rather, its what you do with the stitches that makes blackwork blackwork. Theres good information on the developing filling patterns, too.

 

Book Review: RSN Essential Stitch Guide for Blackwork

 

The stitches that are used in blackwork are clearly illustrated. Hey! I was glad to see the way stem stitch is demonstrated, because this is exactly how I stitch it leaving a loop as you pull through, bringing the needle up in the right spot, and then pulling the thread the rest of the way through. a great way for working stem stitch on a taut frame.

 

Book Review: RSN Essential Stitch Guide for Blackwork

 

Then we get to the patterns with some good variety in here!

 

Book Review: RSN Essential Stitch Guide for Blackwork

 

Throughout the book, there are photos of various blackwork projects that show what can be done with the patterns combined with surface embroidery stitches. I love the scattered seeding on the inside of this tulip that helps to shade that inside area.

 

Book Review: RSN Essential Stitch Guide for Blackwork

 

Ahhhhhh. And then we get to the really interesting part of the book the part on shading.

 

Book Review: RSN Essential Stitch Guide for Blackwork

 

This book covers shading with blackwork better than any other book Ive seen on the topic. Photos of different examples of what can be done when changing the weight of the thread or when breaking down the filling pattern help to demonstrate clearly how shading is accomplished in blackwork embroidery.

 

Book Review: RSN Essential Stitch Guide for Blackwork

 

And if you arent yet convinced of the merits of this type of shading, and how fascinating it can be, there are photos of amazing projects that utilize the technique. Pencil sketches? No! Blackwork embroidery, worked with filling patterns that gradually build up and disintegrate to create incredible shaded results.

 

Book Review: RSN Essential Stitch Guide for Blackwork

 

And for those who want a little more color in your stitching, theres a bit, too, on working the techniques in colored threads for beautiful effects.

Is the book worth it? I think it is! Even if blackwork isnt your thing, what is interesting here is how certain effects can be achieved with pattern, thread weight (or thickness), and the manipulation of both, to create depth in needlework. The concepts can be applied to other surface embroidery endeavors beyond blackwork, so its an excellent reference to have, to get a handle on how this is done.

The RSN Essential Stitch Guide for Blackwork can be found at retail needlework shops around the traps.

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