Your periodic Unstitched Coif project update post!

First some progress on my own rendition. Having established my vocabulary, I’m gaining momentum, aided in part by The Right Tool.

The Right Tool? My size #12 rounded point beading needles finally arrived! What’s the difference? In the photo below, a standard John James brand size #28 gold finish tapestry needle is above, and a #12 blunt point beading needle from the same maker is below.

The beading needle is less than half the thickness of the tapestry needle, and it has a much smaller eye and more pronounced end taper. While that does make it harder to thread, it also makes the thread less likely to fall out of the eye while stitching. And that thin shaft and point are small enough to slip between the threads of the 70+ count linen I am using without distorting them. I said before that shoving the (comparatively) large point of the #28 through this weave was like passing a pencil through the mesh of a screen window, and I wasn’t kidding. The very rounded point and larger diameter made it hard to “stay on target” and hit the exact between-thread spot that needs to be pierced, and the thicker shaft, especially at the eye distorts the weave as it moves through, making subsequent counts close by all the more difficult.

So if you are working this project, or in fact any project on an extremely fine count ground, spare yourself, your eyes, and your fingers grief, and grab a #12. You will be happier, and more speedy for it.

Now the big news here isn’t my new needles or my minor progress. It’s that the official website for the group, blackworkembroidery.org has gone live! Right now it’s still pretty sparse, with a lovely selection of artifact links to blackwork pieces in the V&A’s collection, and some graphed fill stitches. I suspect that the content will blossom over time. But the best part is that it includes a link to a Discord chat group, dedicated to the Unstitched Coif project! I’ll be taking advantage of that under the user name Rotangus (the name I use on Discord for gaming forums), but I will wait to post until Toni Buckby, our Fearless Leader, posts. But I hope to be part of the conversations there.

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