Embroidery Library

NEW THIS WEEK - May 23rd, 2007:


Free Project Instructions!

  Stitch Blackwork on a Quilted Table Topper for regal decor.
 Click here for free project instructions!

Famous, fashion-forward women have always inspired and elevated notable trends long before the iconic accessories of Farrah Fawcett's tousled mane, or Jackie O's giant, glamorous sunglasses. In the same way Audrey Hepburn influenced the classic "little back dress," Catherine of Aragon introduced the intrigue and use of blackwork embroidery to England.


Originally stitched on fine white linen with black silk thread, this often lace-like embellishment graced the wardrobe of the Spanish princess and gained popularity in England in the early 1500s. In just a few stitches, this counted-thread embroidery technique created complex designs and patterns, which appeared on shirts and chemises, as well as cuffs, sleeves and collars, appealing to peasants and princesses alike.


With contrasting black and white print all the rage in summer fashions, add grandeur style for home decor and a delicate touch for garments by embracing a well-loved embroidery style.

Contemporary with Elizabethan Cues

Blackwork maintained its popularity into the Elizabethan era, with new style and use. Like
Catherine of Aragon, Queen Elizabeth I was also an accomplished embroiderer and brought
new flavor and appeal to the craft. Larger designs and the appearance of flowers and other imagery meant embellishing items and areas other than cuffs and sleeves, and moving into the realm of
home decor and linens.

Nature and wildlife elements portrayed in the dramatic two colors use curlicue stems and patterned
fills for extra modern flair. Various basket designs add excellent embellishment to throw pillows and framings, whether used collectively or separately. Use smaller sizes for fashionable purses and handbags, or arrange designs for unique garment accents on skirts and shirts for really royal apparel.

Blackwork Rose Vase
Complex patterns fill heavy outlines to create an outstanding vase and the lush rose blooms.

Available in two sizes:
4.71"X9.40" and 3.40"X6.81"

Blackwork Rose Frame
A delicate, scrolling leaf pattern frames and accents the intricate patterns of this single rose.

Available in three sizes:
5.80"X7.24" and 4.80"X5.98" and 3.07"X3.85"

Blackwork Rose Basket
A delight to the eye, this ornate basket features winding roses for a handle
and will look stunning on chair covers and light quilts.

Available in three sizes:
5.80"X6.79" and 4.80"X5.61" and 3.31"X3.85"

Blackwork Butterfly and Flowers
This cluster of luscious flowers makes a fabulous resting spot for a delicate
winged-creature, and a darling addition to pillow shams and bed skirts.

Available in three sizes:
5.80"X6.78" and 4.77"X5.56" and 3.29"X3.85"

  Perfect for Pillows

Baskets and blossoms; Black and white. The brilliant contrast and complex patterns of blackwork embroidery pop on throw pillows for bedding and home decor. Do a
set in different thread colors to match room decor. Or play with thread and fabric color combinations to coordinate with furniture and bedding.

For free project instructions, click here!

Blackwork Butterfly Frame
Scrolling curlicues and curling stems add a dash of whimsy, perfect for lightweight summer curtains.

Available in three sizes:
5.80"X6.59" and 4.80"X5.45" and 3.41"X3.85"

Blackwork Butterfly Basket
 The elaborate blackwork patterns make a lace-like appearance for the butterfly's wings.

Available in three sizes:
5.80"X6.39" and 4.80"X5.28" and 3.50"X3.85"

  Framed Blackwork

More modern blackwork takes on a "pen and ink-like" appearance with its use of complex patterns -- perfect for framing. Great for gifts, matching thread art and frames can add unique style to any home or office.

For free project instructions, click here!

Blackwork Leaves and Acorns
Simple, yet intricate, this leafy branch has striking and understated appeal for patio cushions,
wall hangings, napkin and placemat sets or even a dainty dash of embroidery on a T-shirt.

Available in three sizes:
5.80"X6.29" and 4.79"X5.20" and 3.54"X3.85"

Blackwork Acorn and Leaf Basket
Stylized oak leaves and acorns form a graceful, arching basket handle. This design's circular
shape lends well to the back of shirts, as well as quilt squares and blanket corners.

Available in three sizes:
5.80"X6.55" and 4.84"X5.46" and 3.44"X3.85"

Blackwork Rooster Scene
This scene, reminiscent of pen and ink drawings, mixes folk art imagery and blackwork patterns.

Available in three sizes:
6.58"X5.80" and 5.44"X4.80" and 3.85"X3.42"

Blackwork Rooster Basket
For a splash of country chic, stitch tea cozies and toaster covers with a
handsome rooster framed by an ornate floral basket.

Available in three sizes:
5.85"X6.89" and 4.79"X5.65" and 3.28"X3.85"

Blackwork Flower Sprays
True to Elizabethan style, these blackwork botany designs make use of intricate stitches to create complex patterns filling each petal and leaf. Simple, curling stems add a light background accenting the lace-like detail. Perfect for panels whether framed as a trio, gracing the sides of cardigans or artfully offset on the edge of placemats.

Blackwork Tulips

  Blackwork Roses


Available in three sizes:
3.42"X9.40" and 2.48"X6.80" and 1.41"X3.85"

  Available in three sizes:
3.63"X9.40" and 2.63"X6.81" and 1.50"X3.85"

  Towels and Shams and Linens...

Oh my! Blackwork designs are perfect for flour sack towels, bed sheets and pillow cases, placemats and matching napkins and so much more decor. Light and simple, one-color floral and border designs stitch quickly for dashing home decor and linen sets.

Blackwork Clematis


Blackwork Blooms


Available in three sizes:
4.25"X9.40" and 3.08"X6.81" and 1.76"X3.85"


Available in three sizes:
3.44"X9.40" and 2.49"X6.79" and 1.42"X3.85"

Blackwork Blossoms


Blackwork Daisies


Available in three sizes:
3.63"X9.40" and 2.63"X6.80" and 1.50"X3.85"


Available in three sizes:
3.45"X9.40" and 2.49"X6.81" and 1.43"X3.85"

A Contemporary Blackwork Pack

Click on the links or images below to see the designs included in the pack, and add
this pack to your shopping cart!
All designs smaller than 6 x 10 All designs smaller than 5 x 7 All designs smaller than 4 x 4

Classic Blackwork

Early English blackwork was used as an alternative to expensive lace. This embroidery's
origins often displayed geometric and floral patterns, but everyday surroundings also inspired
early blackwork, lending to nature motifs featuring woodland and farm animals.

Scrolling borders in three different widths provide a multitude of embellishment opportunities from
book marks to quilts. Extra-wide borders make for excellent accompaniments to bedding, drapery
and curtain tiebacks. A middle size border will grace French cuffs, napkin rings and more with
natural charm. And thinner borders dazzle necklines and collars, handbags and hemlines galore.

Blackwork Tudor Rose Square
With floral elements inspired by the Tudor Rose, this woodland pattern features
artistic blooms and buds with crossing framework.

Available in four sizes:
7.80"X7.80" and 5.80"X5.80" and 4.80"X4.80" and 3.85"X3.85"

Blackwork Tudor Rose Borders
These scrolling borders, reminiscent of Tudor times and perfect for home decor, are featured in three different widths. The smaller size of each border has been formatted for the Endless Hoop.

Wide Border

Available in two sizes:
9.40"X4.72" and 6.00"X3.33"

Tudor Rose Border

Available in two sizes:
9.40"X2.37" and 6.00"X1.68"

Tudor Border

Available in two sizes:
9.39"X0.79" and 5.99"X0.68"

Blackwork Tudor Animal Scene
Like all folklore, animal and other woodland elements are depicted, reflecting everyday life at the time.

Available in three sizes:
7.51"X5.85" and 6.21"X4.85" and 3.85"X3.01"

Blackwork Birds and Blooms Square
With stylized flower blossoms and geometric framework, birds of a feather stitch
together on cozy country quilts and throw pillows.

Available in four sizes:
7.80"X7.80" and 5.85"X5.85" and 4.85"X4.85" and 3.85"X3.85"

Blackwork Birds and Blooms Borders
Criss-crossing framework, simple birds and unique geometric blossoms create traditional blackwork appeal in these three borders. The smaller size of each has been formatted for the Endless Hoop.

 Wide Border

Available in two sizes:
9.40"X4.74" and 5.99"X3.35"

Birds and Blooms Border

Available in two sizes:
9.40"X2.37" and 6.00"X1.73"

Blooms Border

Available in two sizes:
9.40"X0.77" and 6.00"X0.69"

Blackwork Bird Pond Scene
Using traditional stitches reminiscent of early Blackwork, geometric stylization adds
primitive flair to the flora and fauna in this design.

Available in three sizes:
8.63"X5.85" and 6.85"X4.63" and 3.85"X2.63"

Blackwork Acorn Harvest Square
Folk elements inspired by patchwork can be seen in the center floret and in the geometric blossoms.

Available in four sizes:
7.80"X7.80" and 5.80"X5.80" and 4.80"X4.80" and 3.85"X3.85"

  Top Notch T-shirts

Traditional blackwork stitches are light and lovely on T-shirts. Use borders for cuffs and collars, and smaller designs for coordinating centers. Or, create your own trio by stitching three designs in a row across the front! The embellishing opportunities are endless!

Click here for more information about embroidering on
T-shirts, and free video instructions.

Blackwork Acorn Harvest Borders
Unique patchwork accents and hearty acorn imagery make these borders sew versatile and wonderful for home decor all year-round. The smallest of each border is formatted for the Endless Hoop.  
Wide Border

Available in two sizes:
9.40"X4.69" and 6.00"X3.28"

Acorn Harvest Border

Available in two sizes:
9.40"X2.36" and 6.00"X1.73"

Acorn Border

Available in two sizes:
9.39"X0.77" and 6.00"X0.66"

Blackwork Acorn Harvest Scene
A prominently perched rooster and flitting butterflies add a warm weather touch to this folk art scene.

Available in three sizes:
5.85"X6.35" and 4.84"X5.25" and 3.57"X3.85"

Blackwork Scrolling Vines Square
Curling vines weave together with dainty berry off-shoots, perfect for summer quilts and wall hangings.

Available in four sizes:
7.80"X7.80" and 5.80"X5.80" and 4.85"X4.85" and 3.85"X3.85"

  Blackwork Shirts

From cuffs to collars, blackwork and shirts are a match made in heaven. Various borders in three different sizes wind so sweetly around cuffs and down button plackets. Larger designs work well on a shirt's front panels, or on the back yoke. With so many different design combinations, it's time for a wardrobe expansion!

Blackwork Scrolling Vines Borders
These luscious and intricate borders are a sweet treat for summer garments, kitchen linens and much more! All three borders are in two sizes; the smallest of each is formatted for the Endless Hoop.
Wide Border

Available in two sizes:
9.40"X4.73" and 6.00"X3.25"

Blackwork Scrolling Vines Border

Available in two sizes:
9.39"X2.35" and 6.00"X1.78"

Blackwork Berries Border

Available in two sizes:
9.40"X0.80" and 6.00"X0.66"

Blackwork Cat Scene with Vines
Two feline friends, framed by scrolling vines and berry elements, make a precious scene
for flour sack towels, back yokes of shirts, or framed thread art.

Available in three sizes:
7.16"X5.85" and 5.92"X4.85" and 3.85"X3.15"

  Blackwork and Bags

Whether it's a small evening bag for special events, or a large tote for daytime errands, intricate blackwork adds unique style and sophistication to accessories. Use the traditional white fabric and black thread combination, or experiment with color for modern flair!

For purse and handbag project instructions, click here!

A Classic Blackwork Pack

Click on the links or images below to see the designs included in the pack, and
add this pack to your shopping cart.
All designs smaller than 8 x 10 All designs smaller than 7.9 x 7.9 All designs smaller than 6 x 10
  All designs smaller than 5 x 7  



Request of the Week
Embroidery Library is always inspired by your design suggestions, and we thank you for sending
us tons of terrific ideas, which we regularly incorporate into the weekly design themes. As a way
to expand on designs for specific quests, this space is dedicated to the "Request of the Week."
Here is the request this week:

Teddy Bear with Beret - Army
Linda loves the military bear designs. She stays busy proudly stitching them on her Viking Rose
and Designer 1 machines for the many "warriors" in her life, including her grandson, her neighbor
and his son and her husband. She noticed the Army Teddy Bear was digitized with a hat different
than the uniforms of her friends and family. Linda needed a bear with a beret for her husband who is
an Army combat veteran, and was a Special Forces Green Beret, she said.

With an updated beret, Linda plans to stitch the bear with her husband's rank and name, and frame
it for him. She also wants to do something for her neighbor whose son is currently stationed in Afghanistan, and has plans to use it to honor several other "older warriors." What a wonderful way
to honor the heroes and veterans serving for our country!
Available in two sizes:
3.83"X6.82" and 2.17"X3.86"

Want to see more? Click here to see designs released in previous weeks!