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Darned Embroidery

Piece of darned embroidery. Blue cotton on linen. Mamluk period, Egypt. Piece of darned embroidery. Blue cotton on linen. Mamluk period, Egypt.

Darned embroidery, also known as pattern darning, is a form of decorative needlework that uses running stitches (known as darning stitches) that go backwards and forwards in horizontal rows to create positive and/or negative designs.

This type of embroidery can be found, in various forms, in many parts of the world. According to Caulfeild and Saward, it originated in India and came to Europe in the medieval period (1882:145), but this assertion is not certain.

European darned embroidery, specifically, is a form of multi-coloured decorative needlework carried out since at least the sixteenth century. A motif was drawn on the ground material, outlined with stem stitch and then the ground was covered by horizontal lines of darning stitches. The stitch on the obverse of the cloth should be twice as long as that on the reverse. The design created is classed as a negative design, as the main patterns are not created by stitching.

Indian darned embroidery is a form of multi-coloured embroidery that uses the running stitch to create and fill in (positive) designs. This form is closely related to Kantha work.

Middle Eastern darned embroidery is a form of monochrome decorative needlework carried out since at least the thirteenth century AD. Narrow bands are created in floss silk (usually blue or red) using small darning stitches. The patterns created with this technique include both positive and negative designs.

Sources:

  • CAULFEILD, Sophia Frances Anne and Blanche C. SAWARD (1882), The Dictionary of Needlework, London: L. Upcott Gill, p. 339.
  • ELLIS, Marianne (2001). Embroideries and Samplers from Islamic Egypt, Oxford: Ashmolean Museum Publication.

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 3rd June 2016)

GVE

Last modified on Sunday, 07 May 2017 17:16