Why? Counted Thread German Brick Stitch Embroidery

As I mentioned before my new passion is developing my persona. While I will never be a Duke Cariadoc of the Bow I’m doing more things Jehanne would have done.

I, as Jehanne, lived in 15th century Burgundy in Ghent and Bruges. A prosperous time, well-developed in trade crafts. It eventually came under Maximillian I and Mary of Burgundy‘s control. The Holy Roman Empire.

I’m not into learning any housekeeping tasks, current or medieval, but I asked myself: “Living then and there, what individual crafts would you do?” “How would you make a special gift?”

Since Jehanne lived part of her life under Max’s Holy Roman Empire, currently Germany, I decided to try it’s counted thread embroidery.

I found Cynehild Cynesigesdohtor’s “German Brick Stitch” pdf directions online. And used them as a starting place.

Digging around in my stash I found the red DMC floss color 666 some even-weave linen. Intending to make a needlebook I began embroidering. I soon learned I couldn’t see the holes near the linen thread’s thinnest parts.

My experiments became choosing the fabric and thread I would use.

After the even-linen, I tried double woven Aida cloth, also from my stash. This didn’t work because these directions put a thread between the Aida cloth’s paired fibers.

I looked through my clothing fabric stash, but they were the wrong color or had huge fiber counts per inch. That meant I was forced to buy even-weave embroidery fabric. Which I bought in white at my nearby Joann’s.

That worked the best, even though you see fibers so near each another they seem glued together.

Working independently from the handout, I first embroidered an overall “grid” pattern in DMC red 666. This is when I fell in love with repetitive embroidery. 

When I finished the red “grid”, to separate out the pattern’s dramatic lines I did the pattern’s smaller yellow sections. But I’m doing them in black, a Lonely Tower color. Since I used 3 strands of DMC red 666 I switched to 3 black strands. Amazingly, 3 strands of black thread do not fill the cloth as well as the red 666. To look as dense as the red I had to use 4 strands. I didn’t expect that.

Also on this adventure, while waiting for scribes to visit, I looked through my old embroidery books. Wallah, I turned up M. Richard of Waymarc’s Compleat Anachronist, 1995. I forgot I even had this. It’s been on my shelf ever since it was published. I should have started with it. It’s a great how-to for this.

I’ll continue embroidering not only because it’s a persona-possible activity, but because I like it. I like the repetition and once I get started it becomes its own pattern. Even the following steps are easier to make. I also like the small size project because it’s portable and completed faster. And I like a craft I can work without thinking and watch a video, tv program or while visiting with friends.

I think this one’s a keeper. If you haven’t already I hope you’ll give it a try too.

Prior Related Posts:
Why I’m Thrilled With My New Found Interest – Finding Jehanne

External Links:
Richard of Waymarc’s brick stitch patterns
Taschen ‘s advanced techniques 

Categories: Projects

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