Blackwork Attempt #5

I’m still working on learning the Holbein stitch. Whatever little rule of thumb that one needs to know in order to do the Holbein stitch automatically, I have yet to learn.  Instead, I’m just patterning the heck out of anything I want to Holbein stitch.

Attempt #5

Left front. Right back.

I found an English pattern from someone’s cuff – appropriately from a Holbein painting. I took the acorn and leaf motif, sketched it on some graph paper and spent a couple of hours figuring out the exact order of the stitches from start to finish.  I can’t decide if I like it better done with one or two threads.

It’s nearly exactly like one of those matchstick games from grade school. The teacher gives you 5 matchsticks and tells you to make some nearly impossible shape with them. You sit there for an hour arranging them this way and that way, until *bang* the solution seems too simple and obvious to be right.  But there it is.

Once I figured out the stitch order, it seemed so “duh, of course,” but that was only after I spent a considerable amount of time erasing failed attempts.


My finished charted pattern. To be certain that each stitch was done on both the front and the back sides, I used a normal pencil to designate the front and an orange one to designate the back. Yes, it would be easier just to use the back stitch, but then the back would have twice as much thread on it than the front and look bulky. Once each stitch has been marked with both normal and orange pencil markings, then I knew the charting was done.

Eventually I had to start over on the acorn (thus the crossed out version attached to the vine).  The cross work on the acorn was a major PITA. But it’s done.  I don’t know if I’m going to use it, but I learned a good deal about plotting stitches.


4 thoughts on “Blackwork Attempt #5

  1. Julie says:

    Hi! I think you’re doing a great job! If you check out my post from today there’s a link to Mary Corbet’s Needle ‘N Thread about beginning and ending threads. The ending thread directions would make your work PERFECT!

    • Thank you for the tip! I’ve used Mary’s tutorial on the interlaced herringbone. She’s very good at explaining things. Now I’m anxious to try her start and end techniques.
      And thank you for the encouragement!!! It’s fairly easy to become disgusted with one’s own work when it just isn’t going as planned.

    • BTW, I couldn’t find your post that you were talking about. The only blog I found linked to you is the Sight Sniffing one. Is there another?

      • Julie says:

        .There are a couple links in this sentence: I use a loop method or away knot to start my threads and bury them as soon as I finish a length of thread.
        The one for ending is

        If you weave back and forth through several stitches on the back you will not have to knot your work on the back and that will leave the fabric smooth and no chance of seeing running threads from the front!

        You would have figured it out pretty soon on your own, I’m betting!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s