Blackwork embroidery is easy! If you have a couple of minutes, I can show you how:
Gather your materials: colourful silk or cotton floss, (blackwork doesn’t have to be black) Aida or Evenweave fabric, scissors, and a tapestry needle.
Each line on the pattern is a stitch on your fabric, in a straight line up, down or across.
Where the graph lines cross, that is the hole in your fabric.
A stitch can be on a diagonal:
Sometimes there’s a half stitch:
This is where your fabric forms a square, so it may be easier to
poke a hole in the fabric with a sharp needle
before completing the fractional stitch
There are also long stitches:
Stitch the outline of the pattern object first.
Use one strand of floss for all stitches if you are using different coloured flosses for the outline and the fill pattern.
If you are using the same colour for both the outline and the fill pattern, then use two strands of floss for the outline and one strand of floss for the fill pattern, so that there is some contrast between the two.
Continue stitching the fill patterns.
That’s it, you’re stitching blackwork!
If you’ve ever cross-stitched, then you will recognize this as a backstitch.
The traditional stitch for Blackwork embroidery is a Holbein Stitch, where you skip a stitch after every stitch, then turn around and fill in the missed stitches. This allows you to create the same pattern on both sides of the fabric.
When working with variegated threads, I find it easiest to stitch a backstitch because this keeps the stitches grouped together, and the colour changes in the floss flow nicely.
Happy stitching! 🙂