Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Modern Blackwork

I completed my second block for the Halloween quilt that uses black embroidery floss on white muslin. When I first discovered the terms and history for Blackwork Embroidery (posted a few blogs ago), I thought that was what I was doing. However, like many online sites, information can be misleading. While the essence of it is on white...the tradition of Blackwork isn't just outlining primitive forms, but is more of a precise counted thread in repetition or as a pattern. What I first discovered was more of a way to name the use of black on white as a form to make Halloween-themed quilts. Well, that part works for me.

This morning, I found another site that gave additional information on the history as well as for some of the traditional stitcing. I doubt I will take the time to go in this direction because it takes me away from my actual quilts.

Here is my completed Bat from GothicThreads. As you can see, I am simply outlining the pattern and have no intentions of filling it in using the true Blackwork method. I ran out of black embroidery floss, so the remaining 10 blocks will wait til I make a shopping run to the big city.

It is easy for me to get away from my focus if I don't pay attention to my goals. I learned to quilt just because I needed to finish off the embroidery I had done for decades on the state birds and flowers by making them into quilts. Those quilts are yet to be basted, quilted and bound.  I loved doing the embroidery work, which was why it was so easy to get hooked into it again.

It was a long habit formed over decades in my life to bring the small square, the hoop and the needle and threads to my lap late at night. It is relaxing, comforting, loving. No wonder it calls to me. However, the longer I embroidered the birds and flowers, the more I held back from learning new stitches in order to keep the look primitive. If I learn these traditional stitches, its going beyond what I want for the look, plus the time it will take to learn and practice will also take me away from all these quilt projects.

Its just difficult to maintain boundaries.