Blackwork embroidery today is generally a counted thread embroidery technique. In the Ancient Days of Long Ago (16th & 17th centuries) it was worked both ways – counted and free style surface embroidery – and sometimes a combination of both. My current project is not necessarily meant to be Blackwork Proper, but I’m going to call it blackwork, because, after all, it is blackwork. It’s black embroidery worked on white linen. What more does it need to be? Here’s an update of my fish.
I’m embroidering this fish in the same way I would go about doodling on anything – randomly stitching patterns in spaces that cover the fish shape. I’ll try to keep it looking somewhat like a fish, and I may work in some patterns that are specifically related to fishy things, like netting, or maybe shells, or something. I’m also contemplating adding some teeeeny itsy bitsy tiny vintage beads when I want to work tiny dots. I think I have some black ones that are a microscopic size (24?). We’ll see as we go on this one!
Here we are, so far. The threads are nice – half of them are what I would classify as “very fine,” and the other half are more substantial. The two finest weights remind me of Piper’s silk (or Helen Stevens’s TESS embroidery silk). As the threads progress in size to greater thicknesses, the twist in them becomes much more noticeable. The heaviest thread (which makes up the line under the fish’s chin in the photo above) is a z-twisted silk about the weight of #8 or #12 pearl cotton, I’d say.
So far, I like stitching the fish! Now, if blackwork isn’t your thing, and you’re thinking this is just a really Super Weird project, if you think of it as surface embroidery and imagine it done in another color, you might like it better. But be honest – what do you think of this project? I wonder if the fish is worthwhile. Do you suppose it tends towards boring, being all black and white? Does it grab your interest and is it something you want to see progress? What’s your take?
I’ve also managed some stitching on the Floral Glove, which I’ll show you later on. And the post office delivered a package pick-up card this morning. I suspect it is Embroidered Flowers for Elizabeth, and if so, I’ll be giving away a copy of it very soon! So keep an eye out!