A second Blackwork Challenge

If you have read Marianne Ellis’s book Embroideries and Samplers from Islamic Egypt (which is also available on the Ashmolean site), you may be familiar with this sampler

It is done in double running stitch, in blue silk on linen. At the bottom there is open work, with an illegible tiraz. The fashion for tiraz was as time moved on into later eras, it became less of an embroidered text and more of a pattern that resembled text.

I have been ill recently, so have muddled my way through charting these patterns. In the sampler, the first three patterns are repeated, though I am unsure why. The 4th and 5th are only done once, but the 4th is quite complex, and the 5th with some strange hooks. I am referring to the second hook under the left handed cross, which does not follow the other hooks from above the left handed cross. Another interesting thing to note that while my chart doesn’t show it, it was done from left to right. Arabic, like Hebrew, goes from right to left but if you zoom in on the very right hand side of that design, the crosses have been reduced to fit the fabric.

The 6th design is repeated twice, and the 7th is repeated three times (though on the sampler itself the silk has faded substantially). The 7th design is interesting in that it is a repeating pattern but a long one. There are two separate “s” motifs. As the designs are laid out on the sampler, the flatter “s” design sits above the other “s” design and below it, only for the other “s” design to do the same the next set along. If you are curious, please go to the third link on this page. It will take you to the sampler page at the Ashmolean where if the “zoom” button is clicked on, it is possible to zoom into individual stitches.
1345 Sampler Mamluk (pdf)
Please let me know what you think of it, and your trials of the charts.

3 comments on “A second Blackwork Challenge

  1. Mathilda de Villiers says:

    Hi- these have in large part already been charted by Mathilde Eschenbach at her website http://home.comcast.net/~mathilde/embroidery/chrtindx.htm

  2. Actually, these ones are taken from the sampler in the Ashmolean. Having looked through them all, they are similar to Mathilde’s but they are not the same. She sourced from different places and are different designs.

  3. […] one of the sampler designs I charted last year. It is up on the Guild to download, so please go to a Second Blackwork Challenge. It took me just under two weeks of fairly intensive sewing. The sampler had it in blue silk, but […]

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