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Embroidery Definitions - Part 1
(By Adalacia the Serene as appeared in the July 1995 Bolt)

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Embroidery Definitions - Part 1:

The following definitions were taken from the Dictionary of Needlework by S. F. A. Caulfield and B. C. Sawaed. A book I picked up at last years Pennsic. I have shortened the definitions a bit, so if you would like to read the long version let me know and I will bring the book to a meeting or practice.

Chain Stitch - One of the most ancient of embroideries, and first brought from the East. It was known to the workers of Europe of the middle ages, and much of the celebrated Opus Anglicanum was simply chain stitch. When worked with a hook, and not with a needle it was known in later times as Tambour Work.

Breton Work - An ancient embroidery long practiced in Brittany, and still found on the best garments of the peasants. Like most ancient work, chain stitch forms the basic motif, but satin stitch, Point Lance, and Point Russe can also be introduced. The foundation material is either of cloth or silk, the embroidery in colored silks and gold and silver thread. The work is usually made for borders of garments. Breton work is also used for ornamenting necktie ends and book markers. Also known as Breton embroidery.

Braiding - From the Saxon bredon, to braid or plait together. Braiding has for many centuries been a form of ornamental needlework, gold plaits having been found in British Barrows and ornaments of braidwork are seen upon the pictured dresses of the ancient Danes.

Berlin Work - Modern name given to the Opus Palvinarium, also known as Cushion Style and Point de Marque. Work was prevalent during the 13th and following centuries but then chiefly used for kneeling mats and cushions in churches, as it was more durable than embroidery. Fine example of a church still left us, the Sion cope, date 1225, the border of which is worked in cross stitch upon canvas. During the 15th and 16th centuries Tent Stitch was more used than cross stitch, and it was called canvas work until present.

Darned Embroidery - Are needlework practiced in Europe during the 16th and two following centuries, but originally of Oriental origin. Patterns used in the earlier centuries are diaper arrangements as backgrounds to more important work.

Point Tresse - Up to the 10th century a lace was occasionally made from human hair, and probably originated in the custom, during the barbarous ages, of forming the beards and hairs of the vanquished into fringes wherewith to adorn the mantels of the conquerors.

Mistress of Arts and Sciences
Adalacia the Serene

*** This is continued in the August 1995 Issue of the Bolt ***

 Page last updated 12/15/99