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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Whitework on Color – Wee Shamrocks


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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Today’s article almost ended up with the unfortunate title Lucky Lacy Leprechauns on Lime. But then I realized I wasn’t really writing about leprechauns. I’m not sure why I equate shamrocks with leprechauns…

Whitework on Colored Linen

With all this playing about with lattice fillings in vivid colors that we’ve been doing recently, I’ve neglected to tell you a very important point.

To illustrate this point, and in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I doodled up a few shamrocks on some lime green linen.

Whitework on Colored Linen

The point is that lattice stitches look terrific in white. While they can be a legitimate part of whitework embroidery (white-on-white), they work even better on a colored linen ground fabric.

White embroidery on a colored linen….mmmm mmm mmmm. It’s better than candy!

This is an Italian linen, and I don’t have a source for it anymore. The thread is #20 coton a broder in white. The outline is worked in Palestrina stitch, with lattice work and chain stitch inside.

Whitework on Colored Linen

This shamrock is outlined with a simple chain stitch, with a French knot in every other window.

Whitework on Colored Linen

The outline on this one is whipped chain stitch.

Imagine using your favorite color of linen – blue? green? pink? bright orange? red? natural? – and working any simple design – maybe a monogram? a favorite family symbol? a holiday ornament? – in white thread, using plenty of lattice techniques.

Wouldn’t it be pretty? The bonus is this, though – it works up really fast!

You may keep the corned beef and cabbage. I’ll just take the soda bread, please.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


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(12) Comments

  1. G’day there Mary,
    This is so lovely. I adore that colour green, and yes, my name really is Kathleen and my hair really is auburn! Or was. “Does your mother come from Ireland”? No, but we did along the line quite a number of generations back on Mum’s side.
    Delightful, thank you. Cheers, Kath.

  2. Oh, it’s not been long since I realized how effective white can look… White has become almost a favourite colour =) Definitely for monochromatic designs. It’s just a bit hard sometimes to decide on the right background colour.
    But then,.. even white on white can be fascinating – the magic of classic hardanger comes to mind, of course, or whitework… Occasionally I even do indistinguishable white cross stitching on white or antique white :o)

    Happy St Patrick’s Day :}

  3. Dear Mary

    Or bacon and cabbage! What lovely shamrocks I really like the Palestrina stitch and mixed with the lattice and chain stitch it’s lovely and white on green compliment each other and work well together, so Happy St. Patrick’s day.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  4. Thank you for the ideas, Mary. I have the will and the desire. Sadly, I just lack the imagination and creativity, rather critical elements!

  5. How wonderful! These white-on-green shamrocks are terrific looking! Thanks for sharing (and now I am off to get a wee dram of Jameson Irish Whiskey to celebrate St. Pats!)

  6. LOL! Just saw this in the ‘related’ threads today…not sure how I missed it originally. This approach reminds me of crocheted Irish Lace designs. If you’d put the little french knots at the intersections of lattice instead of suspending them in the windows, it would perfectly imitate some of the filling stitches in crechet work, and the palestrina is a lovely outline choice. Beautiful!

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