Monday, June 24, 2013

They Had Better Vision Back Then...

As we embark on our latest project: mastering whitework embroidery, one can't help but to wonder if "they had better vision back then".  Whitework or Dresden work isn't particularly difficult, but does require precision, patience and terrific eyesight. Oh, and did I mention good lighting?

So once again, we're learning a skill that in order to master, requires years of practice, and we're going to boil it down into a half day class.  I know, we have high expectations.  The good news is that unlike some of the other classes we teach, the skill of whitework embroidery hasn't been lost to time.  Master staymakers and mantua makers have taken their book of secrets with them but thankfully, the skill of whitework has been kept alive through the years, and we can thank the Royal School of Needlework in part for that (these were the folks who did the lace for Kate Middleton's gown). Though I suspect, whitework, in all it its incarnations, just never went out of fashion, and as a result, you can find all kinds of instructions and skilled practitioners of the craft.  This one we don't have to figure out from scratch. However, we still do have to take the time to learn it.

Next Saturday, our students will be making a whitework muslin apron and/or whitework sleeve ruffles.  Both use similar techniques and neither will be completed in an afternoon! Here's one of the motifs from the apron:
Here's an example of a motif from an original

Here's a flower I'm working on -- it measures 2" wide x 1" high

And this is what I got done yesterday. Each stitch goes over 4 threads -- see what I mean about needing good eyesight!

I'll be starting an apron along with our students and will keep you posted on the progress. One thing I can guarantee- it won't be fast.

If you are up for the challenge, it's not too late to sign up.  Learn more at

1 comment:

  1. I look forward to your online account of this project, it'll be one I tackle in the future after my current embroidery insanity project.