Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Whitework Wednesday

       Whitework Wednesday........

     I was reading through the new Royal School of Needlework's Essential Stitch Guide on Whitework (looooooong title for a great new little book - see my website!) when I started thinking about my whitework 'things' - books, trips, samples, etc.  Since this is Wednesday, I thought I would use an alliteration (yes, I was subbing in 4th grade this week) and start a Whitework Wednesday.  I will be posting different odds and ends about Whitework over the next several Wednesdays, so check in often!


     I have always loved Whitework, even before I actually knew what it was!  White on white is beautiful, and it can be as delicate as Ayrshire work, or as heavy as candlewicking.  I prefer the 'delicate' look, so most of the things that I will talk about or show will be along the lines of Ayrshire or Madeira embroidery.  Many different stitches are used. Eyelets, padded satin stitch, trailing, cutwork, granitos, pulled thread and drawn thread are some of the most common stitches you will see.

     This is one of a set of 8 napkins that I picked up at an antique mall.  The edge is cutwork, and the floral design consists of padded satin stitch leaves, eyelets and granitos. 

     Even better, the napkins came in an embroidered lined sacque, to keep them all in place.  The front flap on the sacque (see above and below) is more detailed than the napkins, including a beautiful bow!

     The white on white scheme may sound boring, but in actuality, you are using the stitches to give your work depth, pattern, texture, and visual interest.  It can also give you more room to play around with designs, as you are not limited to a particular color.
     I am going to list several of my favorite books on whitework, even though many of them are not available any more.  I often run across used copies, so if you are looking for one, let me know and I will keep my eyes open.

     This is an excellent book on Ayrshire Needlework from Agnes 'Bunty' Bryson.  I was very fortunate to be able to take a class from her on one of my trips to Madeira (stopover in Scotland)!  The book is out of print, but you can find copies now and then.

     A-Z of Whitework is one in the A-Z series from Country Bumpkin.  This book is Out of Print (also known as OOP).  None of the distributors have copies in stock, including Country Bumpkin themselves!  Some shops may still have a copy, but they are becoming extremely hard to find!

     This is one of the original titles on Madeisa embroidery.  It is also out of print.  I love to look through it - some of the workes in the pictures were the same embroideresses that worked with us when we took lessons there! 


     Susan O'Connor has done a beautiful job with this book - wonderful monograms and embroidery stitches for use on enything!  This book has recently been added to the OOP list.  If it one you want, check with your local shops, as the distributors do not carry them anymore.
     Perfection, Never Less is the story of Very Marghab, who started an embroidery factory that produced some of the fines embroidered lines from Madeira.

     This is perfection!

     Another piece of beautiful work!


     Lillie's book is the final book on my list (for now).  She was on my first trip to Madeira and she has gone back several times.  She has a wonderful collection of Marghab embroideries (Marghab produced some of the finest lines from Madeira).

     In the coming weeks, I will talk about the books and post pictures and samples.  I am digging through my photograph boxes for the photos that I took on my trips.  The first visit I spent an arm and a leg on pictures, most of which did not turn out.  Digital cameras were just coming out - the basic 3 Mpixel camera was about $1000, so we just used our old 35mm!

If you have questions or want to see something in particular, let me know!
Happy Stitching,




  1. I love looking through these kinds of books. I'm so busy smocking, I don't have much time for whitework, but I do love it!

  2. There never seems to be enough time for needlework!

  3. love whitework!!!!!


    Maria Filomena