Friday, 25 March 2011

Oh no, she's talking about embroidery again!

Things are progressing nicely here - the sawing work for the frame is all finished, and now I need to drill holes (lots of holes) and join up the parts. And then attach a strip of fabric or a band to the rollers top and bottom so I can dress the frame.

In case you are wondering how dressing the frame works, there's a nice, detailed description on Mary Corbet's blog "Needle 'n Thread". She also gives a lot of tips, tricks and hints on embroidery technique, though it is of course modern embroidery. Mostly, the difference is in the materials - cotton ground fabrics and cotton yarns, or synthetic silks, or modern metal threads. But there's also a difference in the approach to the materials. Modern stitchers are not as opposed to wasting a bit of the embroidery thread as I am (though that might just be me), and stitches can often have as much or even more thread running on the backside than on the front. Finally, judging from Mary's blog, it seems as if showing the back of the work is something usually not done.

Personally, I think that looking at the back of the work is at least as important as looking at the front. You can appreciate design and shading work from the front, and you can appreciate efficiency and stitching technique (and in my case, historical correctness of said technique) from the back. I am actually a bit miffed if somebody looks at my embroidery, tells me he or she embroiders, too, and then doesn't turn it around.

I am also of the opinion that there should be a law for the publication of surviving historical embroidery. A law that makes anyone writing about an embroidered piece to post at least three good quality photographs, showing a) the complete piece with measurements given in the text; b) a close-up of a detail, showing all the stitch techniques and materials used on the piece, if possible with a ruler or other size indicator on the photo; and c) a close-up of the back side of said detail, also with a size indicator on the photograph.

Why that? Because it's darn hard to find out how they did it without being able to see the flip side of a piece! With a photo of the flip side, it's at least possible to try it yourself and then compare to see if it's more or less matching the original. That is of course still not as good as sitting in front of the real original embroidery, but it's a good start. With only the front... all you can do is stitch it up and hope for the best. And that, my friends, is just not cutting the mustard - at least not for the nitpicky folks like me.

Now where do I propose that law? Any suggestions?

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