Blackwork Filler Patterns
‘Blackwork’ is a very old form of Counted Thread embroidery. Traditionally, it was worked mainly in black with some highlights in gold. For the most part, Blackwork is worked in Backstitch and or Holbein Stitch (more on that in a later post). A ‘smidgen’ of Cross Stitch may also be included.
In its most basic form, a Blackwork design is created by ‘drawing’ an outline drawing of your design in ‘backstitch’ and then filling the various sections in with varying ‘Filler Patterns’ 🙂 A ‘Filler Pattern’ is, essentially, a repeating pattern of ‘backstitches’ with an overall geometric bias. ‘Filler Patterns’ can be very simple or complex. Complete Blackwork Pattern can be quite simple or very complex.
If you are creating a traditional monochromatic Blackwork design, there are a variety of ways to create variation of ‘texture’ and ‘tone’.
Vary the number of strands of threads your are using. If you are using stranded thread, if you work a filler pattern in one strand of thread, this will give you a certain ‘weight/density’ of pattern. If you work the same pattern in two strands of thread, that will give you a much ‘heavier’ weight/density. The same would apply if you are using a thread type that isn’t ‘stranded’ but comes in various weights of the same colour e.g. Coton A Broder or Perle thread.
The number of stitches in a ‘Filler Pattern’ within a specified area will also determine the weight of a filler pattern i.e. the more stitches, the heavier the pattern, the fewer stitches, the lighter the pattern.
One of the more obvious ways to create variation is to use light tints and dark shades of the same colour.
Still another way is to begin an area in a heavier ‘Filler Pattern’ and then progressively and intentionally not work stitches as your progress. This is demonstrated in the finished Glasses case I worked from a pattern in Mary Hickmott’s New Stitches magazine some years back.
…..and Blackwork Now
In modern times, Blackwork is still a much loved form of embroidery and essentially follows the same format. The most significant different in Blackwork today is that it is no longer necessarily monochromatic, though monochromatic is still has a sigificant following – Me, being one of those ‘followers’. Today, myriads of colours and thread types are used. Variegated threads, as in the ‘glasses case’ above are also used.
In the meantime, I have created a FREE downloadable PDF file of 30 Filler Patterns available for your personal use. This following patterns are the patterns available in your download.
You will find the link to download you Filler Patterns below the Filler Pattern Gallery.
Blackwork Filler Pattern Gallery