Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Did you know... Vintage stitch terminology

Oversewn is an old-fashioned term for whipped, as in whipped back, chain or stem stitch. 

Palestrina stitch has been known by seven different English names through the ages (and these are just the names I’m aware of, you may know more). It’s been called double knot stitch, German knot stitch, old English knot stitch, Palestrina, smyrna stitch, tied coral stitch and twilling.

Palestrina used as an outline – Sweet Hearts embroidery pattern 

Palestrina used to create a thick line – The Stitch & Thimble : 10 

Palestrina Stitch – 50 Free Style Embroidery Stitches (Delos) 

Link powdering was a term used to describe a pattern made of evenly spaced detached chain stitches. Link stitch is an older name for detached chain or lazy daisy stitch, although the latter is used more accurately when referring to detached chain stitches worked to form a daisy or flower. Powdering refers to the placement of the stitches to create an even pattern.

Link Powdering Stitch – Embroidery Stitches by Barbara Snook 

Long and short stitch used to be called feather stitch as it resembled birds’ feathers. And there was some resistance to the name change. “Feather stitch – Vulgarly called ‘long and short stitch’, ‘long stitch’ and sometimes ‘embroidery stitch’. We propose to restore it to its ancient title of feather stitch – Opus Plumarium – so called from its supposed resemblance to the plumage of a bird.” – L Higgin (Handbook of Embroidery, 1880)

You don’t see battlemented running stitch much these days. It’s worked along two lines and in two movements to create crenels and merlons, as you would see along the tops of castle or fort walls. If you ever find yourself needing to embroider a cog, this is the stitch you want to use. Herringbone stitch employs the same stitching motion as battlemented running stitch, but is worked from left to right instead of right to left.

Cogs worked in battlemented running stitch – The Stitch & Thimble : 12 

Battlemented Running Stitch – Embroidery & Needlework by Gladys Windsor Fry


Anna Scott said...

Ahh, those names, those names. It would be nice if they just stayed the same - or at least contemporary stitch directories would agree, but then again it would take some of the fun and puzzle out of it all. I have often wondered about 'opus plumarium' - thank you for clearing that up.

Jane S. said...

No matter what they're called, they're all beautiful! :)

Kelly Fletcher said...

Anna, every time I find another vintage (antique) needlework book I get all excited when I come across "new" stitches, only to find that I already know most of them, just by their more contemporary names... But they are all beautiful, Jane, I agree with you there 100%.