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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Speaking of Blackwork & Projects, This Looks Fun…


Amazon Books

Were we speaking of blackwork? Well, we were last week!

You know I have this thing for “15 Minute Projects” and “grab and go” projects. That’s what the Hungarian Runner is right now. And when the Hungarian runner is finished, I’m going to need another “15 minute” project to fill in those 15-minute gaps this year.

Now, granted, I do have the Secret Garden projects going, but those are “studio” projects – I work on them in my workroom only, because that’s where I can photograph things, take good notes, and prepare overly wordy articles for you.

Blackwork Journey

So, it just so happens that there’s a really neat (and free) year-long blackwork sampler developing over on Liz Almond’s site, Blackwork Journey.

If you’re an “on the grid” stitcher (or an “off the grid” stitcher who would like to become more familiar with blackwork), you might want to check out Liz’s “Save the Stitches” project that she is offering in chunks over the year. It’s a Big sampler of blackwork patterns, arranged in a neat overall design.

The first two PDFs for the project are already on the site – the cover page and Block 1. The instructions come with a materials list and a grid. They don’t come with specific instructions in blackwork, which is essentially Holbein stitch (also called double or reverse running stitch), or you could, if you wanted, use regular backstitch.

I’m thinking that this would be a fun “15 Minute Project” for this year, once I’ve finished with the Hungarian runner. I don’t often stitch on the grid, but I like blackwork. I like patterns in general.

If you are looking for a nice counted project to develop over the year, check out Liz’s “Save the Stitches” project on Blackwork Journey! It looks like a lot of fun, and, if I ever finish that riffemrackemfrickemfrackem redwork runner, I’m planning to take it up, too. We could forge through it together – in 15 minute spurts.

I’ll let you know when I get to that point.




Looking for more information on blackwork? Check out these articles on Needle ‘n Thread:

RSN Stitch Guide for Blackwork – Book Review
Developing a Spot Sampler: A Little Blackwork
Free Blackwork Pattern: Autumn Leaves
Free Blackwork Pattern: Trees
Developing Blackwork Fillings: Variations
Developing Blackwork Fillings: More Variations


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(24) Comments

  1. Thank you so much for posting this!! I have been wanting to learn Blackwork for such a long time and I love Liz Almond’s designs (have quite a few). This will be such a wonderful introduction and a great way to learn stitches.

  2. What was that you said about the Redwork Runner? Rijghpkoigjqovrjiohuhgaxzwoj? Lol, just kidding. I know what you said (and what you mean!)
    I am planning on starting an embroidery project today if I have time (you know, with school and chores and all). I’m using your Whitework Hearts Doily pattern (If I remember correctly) from Lilly’s Legacy. I think that those patterns are truly beautiful and very impressive. I can’t wait to start!

    Sarah 🙂

  3. thanks for this Mary, I LOVE blackwork. i’m not sure I’ve got time for any more challenges/projects this year, but I may squeeze it in. thanks for the link to the Holbein stitch too, I started blackwork doing back stitch but I realise that as I progressed, I started doing the Holbein stitch without know that I should or even that I was!

  4. What a wonderful project ! Thanks for sharing ! Thanks also for all of the wonderful resources that you provide for us. Your site is always a ‘bright spot’ in each day.

  5. Fantastic!! Absolutely Fantastic!!! I have seen Liz’s designs at Nordic Needle I think but have never pursued them. I just spent about 20 minutes at her site–I did download the Save the Stitches design and another one—I could easily spend the rest of the morning looking at all the things she has and reading. I am preparing a program on Blackwork for my EGA chapter so this couldn’t come at a better time. Will alert the members of your article and Liz’s. Thank you so much. JoyceAnne

  6. Good grief Mary, “riffemrackemfrickemfrackem”, have you been reading a ‘The Wizard of Id’ comic too? I put one down just 1/2 and hour ago….This is the Wizard’s version while casting a spell…”frannis in the jim jam frippen on a philtz frappis in the frammin witha frim fram JILTZ!” When he’d finished the spell the genie thing that lives in the magic tub asked the Wizard if he’d like that on an LP or a Single?! Got a little 15 minute increment to fit some recording into your week? You’ve got the words, you just need the tune now.
    Not like the kid whose turn it was to say the 3 times tables. “Dha dha da dhaa, dha dha da dhaa” over and over he repeated. “Johnny, what are you doing” the teacher exclaimed. “Got the tune miss but just can’t get the words” explained the unabashed Johnny!
    Now, this blackwork, I’m excited about that. Thank you for the info on it and look forward to your working on it in the future.
    Cheers, Kath

  7. Thanks for this New site.
    I love Blackwork, it is my 15 minutes project,I have small squares (3×3) going at all times,I like praticing these lovely designs.
    I have bookmark this site for further browsing.
    Good day to you
    France from Canada

  8. I’ve been wanting to learn black work and this looks perfect! It also meets my goal for playing with new techniques this year. I think I’m doing it!!!

  9. Thank you Mary for sharing this. Black work is definitely something that I want to learn to create portraits, and thank you for your answer yesterday’s post. I will start rinse all my fabrics before I embroider on it.

  10. Counted stitch patterns don’t really interest me, nor does blackwork (and I have too many projects as it is)…… BUT — that design would be perfect for a lattice sampler, no? Love those geometric shapes!

  11. Dear Mary

    Save the Stitches sounds like a great 15 minute blackwork project and would certainly keep you busy on those long journeys. Very interesting designs and would be fun to do. But with all the other projects in mind after I’ve completed my riffemrackemfrickemfrackem last little thing I’m thinking of beading maybe making an antique beaded bag which could incorporate tambour beading I’m musing on that one I will have to get a lot of practising in beforehand. Thanks for sharing the site information.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  12. I’m reading up on, and hoping to attempt blackwork. I’ll begin on Aida cloth as a starting point to learning the technique.

    I can’t find info on whether or not you need to wash the cloth first, as you do with regular cottons?

    1. I think most stitchers who use Aida cloth don’t wash it first, but if it has noticeable creases in it, it doesn’t hurt to give it a good rinse and iron!

  13. I’m not going to start another project, I’m not going to start another project, I’m not going to start another project …

    *looks down to see Joann’s bag with the thread and cloth needed for this project*

    It just magically appeared in my hand, I swear!

  14. Thank you for posting this Mary – I checked out Liz’s site and I know I will be using some of her designs in my crazy quilting projects. Someday I plan to do an entire blackwork piece too.

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