Book Review:Why Call it Blackwork?

Title:Why call it Blackwork?
Author:Marion E. Scoular
ISBN:None available
Publisher:Marion E. Scoular
Length: 36 pages
Rating:**** 1/2 (out of five stars)

This is one of my favorite Blackwork books to date. Although the patterns and techniques are mostly modern, I feel it's a book every Blackwork enthusiast should have on their shelves. Don't let the size fool you- this thin book is a treasure trove of information for anyone interested in Blackwork.

Scoular covers all of the basic stitches used in English Blackwork, including Double-Running Stitch, Backstitch, Running Backstitch, Overcast Backstitch, Outline (Stem) Stitch, and Chain Stitch. Each stitch is diagramed with easy to understand pictures, enabling the embroiderer to recreate each stitch with little confusion.

What I really enjoyed about this book is all of her "terrific tips" and the oh-so-clear explanations of how to do the stitches. It's not just the stitches themselves she explains in detail, but how she included ways to execute the stitches to make them look as perfect as they can be. Her explanation of the "sneaky finish" alone is reason enough to buy the book. My own Blackwork has improved a tremendous amount since learning it, and it's the method I use when I teach my own students.

I do wish this book had a little more information about the historical usage of this form of embroidery, but there are many other books where that information can be found. I do also have to question the title, as the term "Blackwork" specifically refers to the black stitching found in the Elizabethan time period.

Why call it Blackwork? is available for purchase at many needlework shops. It can also be found at a number of online needlework suppliers as well. Do keep searching until you can get your hands on a copy. I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

Claudette Ziemann

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