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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Italian Double Running

While I have read quite a bit about black work, and worked a border on dresses based on blackwork, I have not seriously stitched it. So when the Embroiderers' Guild of SA offered a 2 day workshop with Carol Mullan to construct a sampler in Italian Double Running stitch - a form of blackwork - I was very keen.

Carol, who also taught the lovely Hungarian Point bag, is a nurturing, knowledgeable teacher who encourages independence. The class ran over a weekend, 5 hours each day. The group was supportive and friendly. we had clear preparation instructions with a choice of project, so began with our linen marked up.
  • I chose the simpler of the two designs provided by Carol. While I love the look of the complex one and might well work it was one day, for once I decided to keep it simple!
The sampler was nicely graded in difficulty to help us get the hang of the application of double running.

Although I have used double running stitch in any number of projects, it's application in blackwork is something else altogether. The principle is simple - you work a row of evenly spaced running stitch, then return along the same line with a second row that fills the gaps, producing a reversible unbroken line.

The aim of reversibility commits the stitcher to finding an uninterrupted path back from every line and deviation - a real challenge and tactical commitment. The skill lies more in thinking through how to get a baseline from which to work, then planning the detours from that line to fill in all the twists and turns of the pattern than in the stitching itself - although the accuracy of stitches ( in this case over two threads) and the angle of the needle on the return makes a big difference.

We worked the first sample completely, then enough of each of the next three to ensure we understood how to do it.
The fifth sample was the most difficult, so I spent much of the second day getting it outlined and checking I understood it.

It proved to be interesting - the geometric logic making it predictable once a small section had been completed.

I am finding this addictive. I kept picking it up when I needed to be completing the preparation for the final class of the Italian Banner Sampler and continued to pick it up when I needed to be working on my Christmas stitching!

This is how far I got before I bailed out, knowing I wouldn't finish my Christmas presents if I spent another minute on it!

I will be back to it as soon as possible after Christmas deadlines are met!


Monica said...

These are great motifs, and you are doing a wonderful job with them. It will be a nice one to finish.

I have given up on my Christmas stitching! But good luck with yours!

Jillian said...

Thanks Monica. Yes, I may have to accept that this one is mounted and displayed, not made into anything! I embarked on 4 items as Christmas presents. All now good. I won't be making my third Mill Hill wise man nor any other ornaments this year.

Lyn Warner said...

Very pretty patterns. It makes me want to try some blackwork too.

Jillian said...

Thanks Lyn. I'm sure you have a list of things to try! I've found it a lot of fun.

margaret said...

love the blackwork it is a very nice technique and you are making a beautiful sampler of patterns here

Katherine said...

This is gorgeous! I love looking at blackwork and the like. You have been doing some fantastic classes!