Quite a while ago, when I was exploring Lefkara Lace, I heard from a reader who was looking for a resource for Rhodes Embroidery. If you search online for Rhodes Embroidery, most likely you’ll come up with lots of references to Rhodes stitch, but this isn’t what the reader was asking about. She was looking for information on a form of whitework that mimics embroidery originating in Rhodes, and which is basically a pulled thread technique. While I was exploring online the other day, coming across oh-so-many needlework books to meander through, one of the books I came across which I should have mentioned long before this is The Cult of the Needle by Flora Klickmann. Like Elementary Embroidery, the book I pointed out yesterday, this is another gem that is worth downloading and keeping.
I’ve had the PDF version of this book for a long time, nestled in the deep recesses of my folders-within-folders-within-folders on my computer (covered in cobwebs, along with hundreds of other PDFs), but it wasn’t until I was using the handy-dandy “flip through the pages” set-up on the Internet Archive that I made it through every page in the book. And what did I come across?
A whole section on Rhodes Embroidery, including instructions.
Rhodes Embroidery is a somewhat rustic-looking whitework that relies on a pulled thread stitch to form a grid of open holes around the main design element.
Klickmann explains a bit about Rhodes Embroidery:
This work is so called because it is a revival of some old Greek work, done by the peasants of Rhodes Island, of which some very beautiful specimens may be seen in the Victoria and Albert Museum. In this work, however, the effect is produced by the threads being drawn out, but no difficulty caused by the drawing of threads presents itself to the modern worker of Rhodes Embroidery. The threads are simply forced apart with a very coarse needle, and then bound with a strong linen thread.
So that pretty much explains what Rhodes Embroidery basically is. On page 87 of The Cult of the Needle, the author gives a step-by-step method of creating the pulled stitches necessary to create the gridded background on a piece of Rhodes Embroidery.
You don’t see too much of this technique around today. Well, I take that back – there’s plenty of pulled thread embroidery going on these days, but not a lot that is specifically “Rhodes Embroidery.” Do you know of anyone who still does this work? Or of any classes available, or other resources available, for Rhodes Embroidery? If you know of anything, please leave a comment below, to help others find out a little more about this technique!
In the meantime, though, it’s great to have Flora Klickmann’s book online for anyone who wants it, isn’t it?!