I love it when hand embroidery that’s been carried on for generations and generations hits the news. I think it’s a good sign that we still appreciate – and have a need for – beautiful handmade goods!
Recently, Euronews published a small blurb and video on hand embroidery from Madeira, off the northwest coast of Portugal.
The video is definitely worth watching! It demonstrates the value of handing down needlework skills through generations.
There are many beautiful aspects to Madeira embroidery, but my favorite, I think, is their use of satin stitch.
Madeira embroidery is done “in hand,” without the aid of a hoop, and the satin stitches are worked over the curve of the finger. The embroiderers wear a thimble or similar device on the finger underneath the fabric where they’re working the satin stitch, to protect the finger.
In the video, which you can watch here, you’ll see the stitchers skillfully managing beautiful satin stitched and buttonhole stitched areas in this manner.
Madeira embroidery involves several techniques – satin stitching, cutwork, areas filled with texture, pulled thread fillings, sometimes appliqué, and so forth. It is characteristically a combination of whitework embroidery styles, though it is often worked in monochrome or slightly varied, light color schemes.
More Info on Madeira Embroidery, Online
If you’d like to read more about Madeira embroidery, Bordado Madeira has some good history, along with information on the stitches and techniques used.
Two Good Reference Books
There are two books I’ve come across on Madeira embroidery that are good: The Embroidery of Madeira by Carolyn Walker and The Art of Madeira Embroidery by Lilly McAnge.
Both are available used these days – I’ve added the used listings to my Amazon Recommendations page here, if you want to snatch a copy of either while they’re still available. If you have an interest in this type of embroidery, they’re both great books to have for reference.
I hope you enjoy the video and that your week is off to a jolly good start!
This article includes an affiliate link to my Amazon recommendation page, which means that any purchases made through that link will result in a small kickback to Needle ‘n Thread without any extra cost to you.