Progress on several fronts here. Slow, for sure – but progress.
First, my MMarioKKnits Dragon Stole continues to grow:
Both Long Time Needlework Pal Kathryn and I were convinced we’d seen this beastie before.
Sure enough, blessed by the local resource fairy, and well versed in Siebmacher’s oeuvre, Kathryn managed to dig up the original, from the 1603 edition of Siebmacher’s Shon Neues Modelbuch. I got in touch with MMarioKKnits himself to ask if he used the Siebmacher when he drew up his pattern, or if he remembered some other secondary source that was his inspiration. Many of these designs were re-collected in the mid 1800s, when counted work went through a major renaissance, some of which was inspired by actual Renaissance pattern books. I suspected that one of these mid 1800s collections was the source in question.
MMario confirmed that he indeed started with a mid 1800s work, but he didn’t remember which one. He pointed me at the Antique Pattern Library (more on this below). I’m pretty familiar with their inventory, but wasn’t able to find his secondary source either.
There are some differences between the MMario version and the one from 1603 – as one would expect in a multi-century game of garbled pattern transmission telephone – but the main motif, a hippocampus (not a dragon) is spot on count for count the same. Why do I think it’s a hippocampus? Because these designs were highly thematic, and a mermaid would be more likely to keep company with a mythical sea-steed than a dragon.
I’ve got official permission from MMario to post some quotes from his graph in order to put the changes in context. The black squares are the same in his rendition and the 1603 Siebmacher version. The red squares are from 1603, and are different from his design. The majority of the beastie is the same in both.
This center panel – a dual tailed undine similar to the one used by Starbucks in its logo – can be used as a drop in, inserted right into the MMario piece to make a wider stole.
The other modification is in the tail. MMario’s beast has an elongated tail swirl with a nifty trifoliate tail. But in the original we see instead a smaller, tighter spiral sweep, a large quaternary flower, and the implication of a bridged mirroring putting two hippocampi tail to tail, centered around a second “bounce line.” Please note that I’ve not included the whole dragon repeat in order to keep from stepping on MMario’s pattern toes. You’ll have to visit his design to get the rest of it.
I’m going to attempt to introduce the center mermaid into my Dragon Stole. Wish me luck!
Aside on Antique Pattern Library – this is a non-profit, volunteer effort to scan and preserve out of print documents and ephemera related to needle and domestic arts. They have a huge collection of public domain embroidery, knitting, crochet, tatting, sewing and crafts books and leaflets dating from before 1920. A large proportion are from 1860 through 1910 or so. They even have a couple of early Modelbooks thrown in! As a reference, its invaluable. As an archive of women’s history, even more so. I strongly urge everyone to visit, to sample some of the freely available resources there, and most important – to donate to sustain the collection. It’s no secret that they live hand to mouth. I’d truly love to see them do so a bit longer.
Taa daah! I present our finished crowdsource pattern page! 39 different and distinct patterns, from Twerp’s Starbee to Pam’s Knot, designed by you – readers of String!
To round out our count we have:
- 32 – Gum Blossom #1. From Susan Davis, posting all the way from Australia
- 33 – Death’s Head. Susan continues our piratical sub-theme. The eye patch and nose are done off-count.
- 34 – Doodle. Also Susan’s. The tightly packed stitches at the arms’ ends will present like satin stitch.
- 35 – Gum Blossom #2. Susan again, sharing flowers from Oz with the rest of us.
- 36 – Gum Blossom #3. More Susan. Very sweet!
- 37 – Gum Blossom #4. Susan’s final flower.
- 38 – Snails. Mine. I can’t resist working these snails into every project I can. Your initials can be swapped into the center oval instead of the flowers.
- 39 – Celtic Knot. Last but far from least, from Pam, who ties our totally insane collection up with a nice, final knot.
So there you have it – one full page of crowdsourced contributions. This was fun! If folks want, I’ll start another of these. Let me know. Also if you stitch up something using one or more of these fillings, please send me a picture to post here, so we can all share the joy.
Although it is in the periodic nature of comets to come and go, I owe apologies to The Person Who Wishes to Remain Anonymous for inadvertently omitting her tribute to the Bayeux Tapestry from the crowdsource project updates. The inbox management blunder that made that mistake has been taken out and shot.
This week brought five additions to the project, including the belated comet:
- 27. Comet – a tribute to Halley’s Comet as it appeared in the Bayeux Tapestry – Anonymous (with apologies!)
- 28. Mesmer-Flower – A mind bending cross-style flower from from Alexandra Rule
- 29. Anchor – A continuation of our maritime sub-theme also from Alexandra Rule
- 30. Bumblebee – We need more insects if we want to pay homage to the spirit of historical era stitching. This one is from Laura Kathleen Brashear.
- 31. Strawberry – Another for the traditional motif sub-theme, again from Laura Kathleen Brashear.
I’m having way too much fun with these. You can see that we’ve still got room for eight more full-diamond designs, and for about five more that are symmetrical and that can be represented in the half-diamond boxes at top and bottom.
With some overlap among categories, our sub-themes so far seem to be piratical/nautical (1, 16, 20, 21, 3, 29), science fiction (26, 23, 24, 11), sweetness-and-light (31, 22, 6, 10, 18, 13, 4), traditional (31, 30, 26, 5, 6, 3, 25, 13, 7, 16, 9, 12, 14, 10, 12), astronomic (27, 20, 31, 11), beasties-and-bugs (30, 19, 16, 6, 17, 3, 2, 16), and floral-fruits (26, 5, 25, 13, 7, 9, 12, 14, 10, 8). This leaves poor ennui (15) sitting in the corner and sulking, unless you think that by virtue of “Meh” being a popular Think-Geek t-shirt, he belongs in with SF.
If anyone has started stitching something using these, I’d love to hear about it.
First, thanks this week to our crowdsource design contributors – the patient Jane Wyant, and (as always) Long Time Needlework Pal Kathryn Goodwyn:
- #25 – Grapes – Kathryn’s own needlework sigil, offered up to our collection. (Kathryn’s deep love of grape motifs is legendary).
- #26 – TARDIS – From Jane Wyant, a Whovian tiny inter-dimensional call box should we wish to stitch in two places at the same time.
We’ve still got a few open diamonds. With some repositioning I think I can fit in seven more motifs. Feel free to send yours along.
On my own blackwork sampler, progress is being made. My Lipperheide panel is proceeding apace.
I am not going to have room for the entire repeat. There’s a head of one of the four winds (possibly Boreas), and a horn tooting satyr that will have to wait their turn on a future piece. Unless Kathryn gets there first.
After I finish out this strip to the left hand edge of the stitched area I will fill in a narrower band below the sprigged chimney pots. Then I’ll edge across the entire bottom with something nice and dark – probably worked voided style. I haven’t picked out the designs for either of those strips yet, but as folk following here know, I enjoy bungee jump style stitching. Once the dark area is done that will leave only the top. Believe it or not, the part you see stitched here is only about 65% of my total piece. I’m not sure what I’ll do up there, but that’s still down the road.
A few more submissions this week. It’s not too late if you want to play along!
All of these are from anonymous donors.
#20 – A very aggressive sun.
#21 – A mustachioed moon.
#22 – A spiral mint candy.
#23 – Tiny robot!
#24 – Frankenstein’s Monster/
The sun, moon, robot and monster are from someone who doodled these up on the floor of a recent science fiction/comics convention that shall also remain nameless. The candy comes from someone who was charmed by the ladybugs, unicorn and the bunny, and was inspired to continue the counter theme of sweetness and light. (As opposed to poison, pirates, and ennui).
I welcome more input – traditional flowers, non-specific geometrics, animal, vegetable, domestic, wild, fantasy or reality.
Thank you all! As you can see, our crowdsourced blackwork pattern page is starting to fill up:
I’ve made no attempt to balance these or place them in any particular way. Numbering starts in the center, and works (more or less) in order of receipt. Half stitches, and stitches off the grid are shown in red. I’ve also taken the liberty of naming these, and including comments if provided by the donors. So we have:
- Death’s head – mine, fromDancing Pirate Octopodes
- Octopus – also mine, from Dancing Pirate Octopodes
- StarBee – sent in by the fabulous Twerp, our first submisison!
- A Cup of Tea – from Sandy
- Crosshatched Flower – from Anonymous
- Ladybugs – from #5 Anonymous’ 10-year old daughter
- Shaded Flower- from the prolific Jeannette de Beauvoir
- Geometric – “It starated life as a flower, I don’t know what it is now…” – from Jeannette de Beauvoir
- Acorn Sprig – “The acorn looks a bit big but a smaller one was too small.” – Jeannette de Beauvoir (I think the size is just fine).
- Pomegranate – Jeannette de Beauvoir is on a roll!
- Zap! – :”Kind of reminds me of a circuit diagram.” – another from Jeannette de Beauvoir
- Flower Sprig – Jeannette de Beauvoir again.
- Four Flowers – Jeannette de Beauvoir
- Mistletoe – “I think this could stand to be moved down a space or two in the frame” – Jeannette de Beauvoir
- Meh. – This one came in earlier but fell to #15 due to lack of enthusiasm – Another (totally different) anonymous donor
- Blue Crab – “To continue your ocean theme.” – from Maryland Stitcher, who managed to fit in the requisite number of legs!
I’ll release the whole page as a well-behaved PDF as soon as it’s full. It’s not too late to add your patterns to our pile. I’m more than happy to finish out this page, and to start more pages if needed. The instructions are here.
And if you landed on this page looking for Ensamplario Atlantio my free book of blackwork fillings – do not despair. You can find it here.
Patterns for the Crowdsource Blackwork Pattern project continue to trickle in.
Sandy (no link) sends a cup of morning tea.
And a family wishing to remain anonymous sends a flower (from the mom) and ladybugs (from the 10-year old daughter):
This anonymous donor was inspired enough to register his or her lack of enthusiasm:
Got an idea – simple, elaborate, silly, or serious? Here’s the blank frame again:
Copy it local and edit it in any graphics program, or do like these folk did – print it out, draw on it, and send me a scan or a photo ( kbsalazar (at) gmail (dot) com). I’ll graph up the final. When we have a pile, I’ll compose them all together into a page or two of patterns and post them back here.
Back from vacation! A week of Cape Cod sun, sand, salt water and doing as little as possible except enjoying those things.
This year my mom came with us and we had a great time. We spent most of our time on the sands right at our hotel, sitting, swimming, kayaking, even watching Provincetown fireworks from our room’s deck. We did our now traditional beach paella, salmon teriyaki on the grill, and flank steak kabobs. I am rested but could be easily persuaded to do a wash-rinse-repeat of the whole week’s experience. Seven days is not enough.
Arriving back home, I checked gMail to see if anyone had volunteered a graphed pattern for the crowdsource project. Lo and behold! There was one:
I present Design #1 – Twerp’s StarBee. The first design in the series. Red lines indicate straight lines “off the grid” or not at 180/90/45-degree angles. I like this cheeky little fellow. A nice one, Twerp!
If you want to draw up one of your own to be posted here, please feel free to download the JPG at the project’s kickoff page, then draw on it by hand or using any graphics program. You can email the resulting file, a photo or a scan of your design to me at kbsalazar (at) gmail (dot) com. Let me know whether or not you want your name or a link posted with your offering. I do reserve the right to do light editorial selection (this is a family-rated website).
Now, what progress have I made on my own stitching?
Some, mostly prior to our departure. I concentrated on two pairs of socks while we were on the beach.
I knit a pair of guy socks, with a simple broken rib ankle and k1p1 ribbing to finish. There is only one in this picture. The other is now at parts unknown. At best guess, I dropped it at dusk on the beach and didn’t notice that it was gone. Either seagulls or the sea made off with it. Somewhere there is either a lobster or a tern sporting a new brown habitat. And I need to get another ball of the same yarn and knit a third to make a pair. (Grrrr.) The other pair has a lacy pattern in the ankle. More on that another day.
And here’s the latest strip on my sampler:
To which I will return once the socks are done.
One last note – to date (using the click-through count of the fourth part) – over 1,000 people have downloaded the complete Ensamplario Atlantio since I posted it two weeks ago. If you are looking for it, it’s here. It’s a PDF file – you need a recent version Acrobat Reader to open it. You can get Reader for free, for both Mac and Windows. Although I’ve gotten some thank-you posts and a couple of questions from people unfamiliar with Acrobat, I’ve had very little other feedback, and only one bug report – of fonts not displaying properly on an iPad II running the latest version of Safari. I’m looking into that problem and may repost the files later this week.
Thanks to everyone for their kind words about Ensamplario Atlantio (EnsAtl)!
I’m delighted that folk find it useful. I was going to leave it up as the blog’s front page for a while, but two stellar things came in that I had to share. Before them however, please note that I will be leaving the book available on String for a while longer yet.
The two things?
First, I’ve mentioned before that my main joy in designing is seeing what folk do with the patterns. I have to show this one off (click to enlarge the thumbnail):
This partlet was stitched by Kimiko Small (in the SCA, the talented Lady Joan Silvertoppe of Caid). She used the Buttery pattern in TNCM Plate 59:1. It’s one of my originals, but it’s based on period conventions, motifs and aesthetics. The partlet design, stitching, and most obviously the picture above are all hers. The photo is reproduced with her permission.
Kimiko, I’m thrilled! Well done! I’m quite excited to see this particular pattern picked up and worked so well. The partlet is an excellent showcase for your stitching. It’s prime! You can read more about Kimiko’s award-winning project and read her arts competition documentation on her blog.
Now, this ties into the Second Thing.
The Buttery is an omnibus pattern – a frame filled by a large number of different design motifs. In this case, flowers, herbs and fruits. I’ve augmented my original set of patterns, and stitched up even more Buttery fillings on a recent project of my own.
Now the new book is generating some buzz about my patterns. Hannah was kind enough to spread word about EnsAtl on her blog, enbrouderie. In the comments that accompany her post Rachel of VirtuoSew commented on my Dancing Pirate Octopodes pattern. Rachel wondered about working up alternates for DPO. Initial silly filings aside, that pattern has excellent potential to evolve into another omnibus design along the lines of Buttery, and I think Rachel’s idea is a splendid one.
So I announce the first (to my knowledge) Crowdsource Design Blackwork Filling Project.
What’s Crowdsourcing? In a nutshell, it’s putting a project in front of a large number of otherwise unrelated/unassociated people, and asking them to apply their individual creativity to it, spreading the word and bringing all that creativity back together using ‘net based communications. It’s all the rage right now. Even the Defense Department’s research arm (DARPA) has launched a crowdsourced projects to jump start the design process or solve sticky problems.
So. Reaching both behind to the past and into the future – why not one for double running stitch?
Here is a square with just the frame from Dancing Pirate Octopodes:
It’s a simple JPG – shown above at full size. Right click on it and save the image. Then attack it with any graphics program, or print it out and doodle on the hard copy. Work up your own filling(s)! Be creative! Run amok! Just one request – this is not an adult-rated site. Please keep your designs family-friendly. (I reserve the right to do light editorial selection, if need be.)
When you’re done, eMail the file, or transcription of the thing, or a scan or photo of your design to me by 10 July at the gmail address listed in this post . I’ll assemble all submissions in one big layout, and share the results back here as quickly as I can. (If you’d like me to withhold your name rather than be credited on String, I’ll be happy to do so.)
This isn’t a contest – I’ve got no prizes to give away. But I think it will be lots of fun to see what everyone comes up with. So fire up your drawing program or sharpen your pencil. Let’s see what our stitching crowd can devise!
Again, thanks to Hannah, the gang at Total Insanity, others at various Yahoo needlework discussion groups, and all other posters and email respondents for their welcome and acceptance of EnsAtl. Special thanks to Kimiko for making my day with her project. Thanks to Rachel for the idea of making more fills for DPO. And thanks in advance to everyone who will take a moment to share their own creativity for the joy of participating, and glory of their needle.
At long last, and as promised. Ensamplario Atlantio: Being a Collection of Filling Patterns Suitable for Blackwork Embroidery is here in PDF format!
I have to admit that my ambition ran away with me. The entire thing is 40 pages long, with 35 plates of designs – over 220 or so individual all-over or filling patterns for double running stitch embroidery. Some are very large repeats and would be better suited for free-use, others are smaller in scale and would work well as fillings in traditional outline/infilled blackwork (like on the pix of the cover, below):
The book ended up being SO large that I was unable to upload it, and downloading would be problematic for most people. So I have cut it up into four parts:
- Ensamplario-1.pdf (2.03 MB)
- Ensamplario-2.pdf (2.92 MB)
- Ensamplario-3.pdf (3.19 MB)
- Ensamplario-4.pdf (3.21 MB)
I would dearly love to see any projects that use fillings from the collection. Since I’m making this available as a free download, seeing what my pattern “children” are up to in the real world is my biggest reward.
And also a reminder – just because this is being made available freely doesn’t mean that I have relinquished my author’s rights. This book may not be re-issued, re-posted, or sold by others without my specific permission. I ask that needlework instructors wishing to use the thing get in touch with me so I can keep a log of by whom/when the book has been circulated.