In the previous article, an introduction to the amazing art of needlework and embroidery were discussed, following which four different kinds of lovely embroidery techniques were covered: Crewel embroidery, Brazilian embroidery, crazy quilt embroidery, and cutwork embroidery. In this second installment, another set of four decorative embroidery techniques will be introduced and discussed.
The next installment of ornate embroideries:
1 . Assisi Work:
Assisi work is an old embroidery technique that first originated in Italy and was named after the Italian town of Assisi. It is a counted-thread embroidery technique, and the main distinction of this type of embroidery is that it uses a method known as “voiding”: That is, the main design or primary motif of the embroidery design is left blank.
Cross stitch (either long-armed cross stitch or regular cross stitch) is used in this embroidery technique to fill the background of the motif or embroidery design rather than to fill in the design. And the outline of the design is embroidered in dark thread (most commonly in black thread), using either back stitch or other outline stitches like stem stitch. Traditionally in Assisi work, the cross stitch (in the background of the design) was done using red, green, gold, or blue threads on even-weave linen.
2. Sashiko Embroidery:
Image Credit: embroiderersguildwa.org.au
Sashiko embroidery or sashiko stitching is a Japanese embroidery technique that first originated as a functional embroidery technique. It was used as a decorative form of reinforcement stitching in olden times. But later, due to both the durability of the stitch as well as its potential for beauty, sashiko embroidery developed into an art form of its own.
Different kinds of thread can be used for sashiko embroidery. Traditionally, though, sashiko thread (a heavy, twisted cotton thread) is
used. Continuous lines of running stitch are used in this kind of embroidery. And the designs were often inspired by nature or consisted of geometric
designs as well as tessellating patterns (i.e., designs with overlapping, repetitive shapes).
Due to the continuous and unbroken nature of sashiko embroidery, most embroidery designs wind up looking the same on both sides of the fabric. Also, as two layers of even-weave fabric is usually used for sashiko embroidery work, the tails of the threads are usually hidden between the two layers of the fabric.
3. Blackwork embroidery
Blackwork embroidery is thought, historically, to have originated from Spain. Hence it is also known as Spanish Blackwork. Depending on the nature of the embroidery design the embroiderer is working on, both counted-thread embroidery and free embroidery techniques are used here. Traditionally, blackwork embroidery uses black silk threads to embroider designs on light-colored cotton or linen fabrics in shades of white. (When red silk threads were used instead, it was called scarletwork embroidery.)
Today, blackwork embroidery is done using a variety of colored threads and it is worked on various colors of fabrics. Blackwork embroidery is used nowadays to embroider images, artistic designs, and geometric patterns. By varying both the weight of the threads used in the filling stitches as well as the kind of filling stitches used at different areas of the embroidery design, varying levels of “shading” in the design can be achieved as well.
4. Hedebo embroidery
Hedebo embroidery, first originated in Denmark, as a white work embroidery technique. And hence, it is also known as Danish embroidery. When the technique first came to be, it started off as a pretty fixed kind of geometric drawn thread embroidery technique. But later, it developed into type of ornamented openwork embroidery technique. Finally, hedebo embroidery evolved into a combination of needle lace, cutwork, satin stitch, pulled thread, and drawn thread techniques.
The hedebo embroidery technique is precise and elegant, and it is a pretty advanced embroidery technique. In practice, hedebo embroidery is a type of embroidery where a small pattern or shape is formed and then filled using variations of the buttonhole stitch.
In modern times, hedebo embroidery is most commonly linked to cutwork embroidery and needle lace embroidery. This embroidery technique can be worked in two ways: Either the embroidery design can be worked directly into the fabric, or it can be created first and then attached to the edges of the fabric.
If you are rather interested in machine embroidery, you can read our guide of digitizing for embroidery which covers exclusive details on machine form sew outs.