This is a piece of embroidery that I learned from Ilsa Altherr, who lived and taught from her home in Summit, NJ. I went to her home many times over the years for classes. This piece she called “Young Girl Embroidering.”
It uses a lot of counted thread patterns on linen, pulled work (where you pull the threads of the linen very tightly to make a particular pattern), chain stitch, outline and stem stitches.
The piece hangs in a hallway. Here’s the kicker: the year it 1982. Wow! Can that really be possible? I’m amazed that I did this stuff without glasses, magnifier, or even additional light. Now I’m very grateful for reading glasses!
This is a piece that hangs in one of our bathrooms. It’s blackwork, whitework, and gold metal thread work. It’s on linen, and under the linen is a piece of gold fabric — I think a gold treated leather but I don’t remember. I believe it’s also designed by Ilse.
The stitch on the upper left is a chain stitch using black thread and then a backstitch going through the chain stitch using white thread. You can see I finished this on in 1989
The french knots on the top left use one strand of white, black, and gold thread.
Notice the cluster of white french knots on the upper left of the flower. I remember that taking a couple evenings to fill in.
I made this after taking a class with a woman who taught Ukrainian embroidery. It is a “Rushnyk,” which is (or was) used for ceremonial events. Once again, I don’t remember the name of the teacher or even the type of events it was used for, but I think religious. I do remember it taking me a long time to finish.
My recollection was it being two types of stitches — a darning stitch made with a couple strands of black floss that was weaved in and out of the fabric to create the design (which was followed from graph paper). After that was all finished, colored floss was add as an accent. There is also a long cross-type of stitch that results in a braid look. The pattern repeats, so after a while it becomes very Zen-like as you stop using the graph paper and follow the rhythm of the repeat.
The braid-like stitch is also used for the edging to create the fringe.
It’s interesting how much of what I embroidered was based on repeating patterns — much like the design I use in my art quilts.
This was a piece I did in the Embroiderer’s Guild of America’s Master Craftman’s program for crewel embroidery. And, it also hangs in a bathroom.
Once again, I did a lot of counting to create stitched patterns. Again, it was very Zen-like.
I have more work that I did in the Master Craftsman program, but am not sure where it is (I suspect carefully packed and stored somewhere).
The crewel thread used in this piece was overdyed! Yup. I took a class in overdying thread about 30 plus years ago. I found the teacher’s name: Pierrette Frommer. Amazingly, I still have my notes from the class! I saved everything in page protectors and have them in binders.
Those are “long arm” stitches with a french knot (one wrap) head! Yikes.
There are a couple more pieces I want to share, plus there are a couple at my mom’s house that I want to photograph. Eventually I’ll add a new gallery section to my site for embroidered work. While I no longer do this type of work, it’s part of my past and good to have a record of.