Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Assisi Embroidery: A Wee Rabbit & A Book


A couple months ago, I worked up a tiny Assisi Embroidery motif, so that I could demonstrated what a “voided” area looks like in embroidery. I picked a bunny for the voided subject in a little medallion, just because I like bunnies.

I thought I’d show you the little fellow, which is stitched in tiny cross stitch that covers the background completely. Often, in Assisi work, the cross stitched area is not quite so compactly filled, so that more of a lacy look is achieved. But with this piece, I’m stitching on 25 count fabric, over one, with one thread of stranded cotton, which pretty much fills the background pretty solidly.

Assisi Embroidery: Rabbit Medallion

The colors, I suppose, aren’t exactly “traditional” in Assisi work!

I like the look of traditional Assisi embroidery, but I don’t know if I’d ever devote stitching time to a whole piece of it. Still, I think it’s neat. I like the combination of voided areas and blackwork lacy edges.

Assisi Embroidery: Rabbit Medallion

This piece is pretty tiny.

Assisi Embroidery: Rabbit Medallion

In fact, that works better.

Like I said, I probably wouldn’t ever embroidery a whole huge piece of Assisi work – like a tablecloth or anything of that nature (though never say never). This tiny guy was enough to demonstrate “voided” areas in counted thread embroidery.

One of my favorite books on Assisi embroidery is called Assisi Embroidery: Old Italian Cross-Stitch Designs by Eva Maria Leszner.

Assisi Embroidery Book

The book has a nice readable approach to the history behind the technique, a simple section on instruction, and a very digestible text.

Assisi Embroidery Book

But what I like best about it is that it’s full of very pretty patterns. So if I ever really did get the bug to work up a whole tablecloth in Assisi embroidery, I’d definitely refer to this book for a nice pattern.

If you like Assisi embroidery and you’re looking for a good resource, Assisi Embroidery: Old Italian Cross-Stitch Designs is out of print, but you can pick it up for a pretty low price through various online used books sources, like Alibris or ABE Books.

Another bug has finally bitten, by the way. I knew this would happen! I just must start a new surface embroidery project that is complete in itself – something not akin to samplers, something employing silk and gold. *sigh* So I’ve cleaned up an old Therese Dillmont design, turned it into a pattern, and will be setting up a new project this weekend. I know, I know!!! I can hear you good souls bellowing, “The Floral Glove, The Spot Sampler, The….” but you see how it is. There comes a time when we must just do something we’re yearning to do! And I’m yearning! I’m yearning!

I’ll keep the spot sampler series going because, of course, we must finish what we start (uh…. well, that’s what my Mom always said, anyway) but for those who aren’t into spot samplers, maybe this other piece will tickle your fancy! The next sampler installment is up tomorrow, and then for the weekend – well… one never knows!


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(9) Comments

  1. Voided work goes faster than you think. Certainly not as fast as foreground stitching, but much faster than needlepoint. While long armed or regular cross stitch are the most common fills, simpler ones including plain vertical or diagonal lines are quicker to stitch. I even find graph paper like squared filling faster than cross stitch (go figure, since the stitch count for execution of both is similar).

    My current piece includes tons of voided areas done in all of these styles if you’re curious as to what alternate treatments can look like: http://www.string-or-nothing.com/CategoryView,category,Project%2B-%2BClarke%27s%2BLaw%2BSampler.aspx

  2. Dear Marymentor:

    Variety is the spice of life and certainly of needlework !! Nothing wrong at all…..of having a number of pieces to be able to “return to” when the spirit and your muses move you.

    Thanks again for all your wonderful continuing advice and guidance.

    Happy Autumn!

    Judy in Pittsburgh

  3. Don’t worry about the non-traditional (i.e. not red/black) colors. One of my favorite pieces of void work embroidery is one that’s at the Met in NYC. It’s yellow for the primary color and blue for the outlining. It’s a Renaissance era piece, so no double running outline, but I certainly visit it every chance I get.

    I’ll have to look for that book. Does she get much into the different stitches used at different times? A lot of early void work was done with Long Arm Cross stitch.

    Hmmm, now you’ve got me juiced up to go hit NYC again soon, and maybe start the planning stages of a long dreamt-of project based on that piece….

  4. Hi,
    I’ve been looking for facial designs for dolls. Most that I have seen are a little scary. I’m looking for eyes, nose, smile that are happy, creative, fun, etc. Embroidery
    If I could only draw. 🙂

    1. Hi, Deb – in a previous issue (It’s issue 65) of Inspirations magazine, they have a really cute little rag doll in there, with an embroiderable (not really a word, but you know what I mean!) face. It’s cute. You can see a finished version of it here, at Cynthia Gilbreth’s blog, California Stitching: http://californiastitching.blogspot.com/2010/10/little-rag-doll-finished.html If you like that look, you could always invest in that issue of Inspirations, and then maybe modify the design to suit your fancy. Here’s a link to the magazine: http://www.countrybumpkin.com.au/product_info.php?cPath=2_51&products_id=435809 Hope that helps! ~MC

  5. This is a very random comment, but I fell in love with this design (http://www.accademiapuntoassisi.com/immagini/album_lavori/images/MancinelliAntonietta05_JPG.jpg). I found the pattern for the main central band and was resigned to trying to recreate the filigree on the outsides from just that picture. That picture of the chart will be enough to finish the edge work. I love your blog anyway but this is the perfect cherry on top. What are the chances? 😀 Thank you so much Mary.

    A side note, your blog is always so inspiring when my tanks are on empty. 🙂 Please keep going.

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