Well hello everyone! I’ve been making some great progress on my Blackwork Christmas angel. I wanted to share this with you because I am just so fascinated with Blackwork and the history behind it. My hope is to have the angel completed and framed by this Christmas season. Thankfully blackwork stitches up very quickly, it’s just intricate work!
This is what it will look like when it’s done:
Blackwork has a tremendous history behind it. It dates back to at least the 1500′s where they used darkened thread (probably darkened using lead) against a white background.
Part of the reason to use black thread on a white background was to hide how dirty the clothes really were. Gross. Nowadays it’s just hobbyists that enjoy the intricacy and the challenge.
This provides a very nice break from typical cross-stitch in that you stitch lines (called backstitch) compared to stitching the “X” to fill a pattern. Since you’re only stitching lines it goes much quicker.
I love most crafts, I am just a craftsy kind of person. I love to knit, sew, scrapbook, make cards, candle-making, and on and on. However, my love ultimately falls on stitching. It’s repetitive, soothing, relaxing, and the results are beautiful!
I also figure that I better stitch as much as I can now before my eyes and my hands go bad. It’s already difficult to stare at this intricate work for so long!
Even though it seems like I’ve already “mastered” blackwork that is not the case. If I wanted to actually master this skill I would want to make sure that the back of the work matches the front, exactly. Which is extreeeemely difficult to do. It just takes a lot of planning and “mapping”.
Mapping is where you look at the pattern and figure out where you are going to stitch with that piece of thread in your hand. I tend to cut my pieces of thread long so I have to map out where I am going to go. Another skill I needed to learn was how to do a “waste knot”.
A waste knot is basically that, you tie a knot in your thread but start it on the front, then you stitch over your thread to tie it down and cut the knot out. Then at the end you start a new thread and stitch over the hanging thread from before. So there should be no knots….which is also extremely difficult.
The backside of this work is not pretty at all, but considering this is my first blackwork piece I am so happy with myself! I am happy how well it is turning out and how easy it is turning out to be!
If you are thinking that you want to try blackwork I encourage you to do it! There are plenty of resources online and books that are available too. If you know how to cross stitch, how to backstitch, and how to do french knots, then you’re golden!
I will update as soon as I finish this Lady!