Freestyle Blackwork Outlines

by Ellen
(Oakland, CA, USA)

How to do curved outlines, those that go diagonally over two or more squares. And how many squares should one go over per stitch, either running- or back stitch? A for instance is in the attached pattern I found on the internet.

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Options for outlines
by: Carol

Hi Ellen, I am sorry I had to delete the image you sent for copyright reasons, but I can still offer some advice as to your question.

There are two main methods of doing blackwork embroidery.

Personally, I like to keep everything "counted" and that includes the outlines. If a line on a chart does not follow the graph lines exactly, but instead goes diagonally across more than one square then I will make one longer stitch as long as it is three squares or less in length. Any more than this and it is liable to catch or snag during use. If the finished work is framed, the longer stitches can tend to sag after a while and spoil the look of the work.

The other way to work the outlines is to ignore the graph completely and work a freestyle hand embroidery stitch around the shapes.

Stitches that can be used include stem, chain, or even a whipped back stitch. If you work these in a thicker thread it can look bold and attractive. You could even thread a gold or metalic thread around each stitch to give a stripey effect which is very effective.

The designer of the pattern will have used a particular method when stitching the design for the photograph on the kit, but you don't neessarily have to copy that. After all embroidery is a creative pursuit and you can exercise your own creativity and make it your own.

I hope this helps, and have fun with your blackwork embroidery.


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