Thursday, July 3, 2014


I was in a cross stitch group on Facebook and one of my little pet peeves happened.

One of the ladies in there said that blackwork is where you fill in a pattern using backstitching.

No. No it is not.

Blackwork is a specific technique. It most definitely is not backstitching. It is a specific technique where the back looks almost exactly like the front. You use a double running stitch. They're two different techniques.

I did a piece years ago (that my dad still has) of an iris done in counted cross stitch in front of a field of various blackwork patterns in geometric areas. Those areas were partitioned off by lines of satin stitch/couching. Each one of the patterns had specific stitch diagrams. They were really fun to stitch. And the way you could easily tell which was the right/front side was to look at the iris. I also added blending filament to the iris - 1 strand each blue and purple for the flower area. And I think I might have used iridescent for the yellow bits. (I thought I used green on the leaves, but I don't see it in the pictures.) I want to stitch it again in the original mushroom lugana/taupe/gold color combination, but also using black/grey/silver. So I'd have a day vs night. (one day . . . )

Here's a bit closer up:

And the other thing that sort of irritated me is the person (same one who answered the question of "what's blackwork" with "designs and fills done in backstitching") was also saying "I have heard alot of people say it is using black floss but I use any color i feel like." Um. Ok. Use whatever color you want, but the term "blackwork" comes from where the only color used was black. Just like "redwork" is the same as blackwork, just with red instead of black.

And is not backstitching.


  1. Sarah, I love this piece. I have never done any blackwork, but would love to do this piece. Cannot find the pattern anywhere. Do you happen to have any ideas?

    You did an absolutely stunning job. :)

    1. Thanks! It was in Cross Stitch & Country Crafts, I'm not sure what month it was in tho.

    2. I'm working on this right now! It's from the May/June 1991 edition.

    3. I'm working on this right now! It's from the May/June 1991 edition.