Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I is for Inky Darkness - Two Sided Italian Cross Stitch and "assIsI" Embroidery

Fear of the Dark
What makes you afraid of the inky dark night?  So many tales of old tell us of the frights people have of the night and the dark.  Do you have a favorite from your childhood that made you shiver and shake? Share it with us in the comments, we can all have a shiver or two before we take to our beds tonight!

I did use to think the movie "The Birds" was the scariest thing there was and then I had the opportunity to watch it a few years ago with my daughter. She loves scary shows! I don't enjoy them and so leave them usually to her and her dad and brother.  But I thought I would show her mine from my youth.  Gosh, it's surprising how different that movie looks now at this age.  Those birds don't really appear all that real in many of the scenes now and when I was young I just thought they were so frightening!  I still don't like birds flying around me too closely.  Here is a web site I found that explains some of those fears we have about the inky dark of night.

Julie looked at lots of pictures of haunted houses before deciding which way to go with this week's letter.  

Stitches for Inky Darkness

We are giving you two stitch options for this chart. Two sided Italian cross stitch and Assisi embroidery.  Two sided Italian cross stitch may be difficult for those of you who are stitching over one. But will be a great effect for those stitching over two threads, and leaving the pattern showing in the negative space. For those stitching over one, we have given information on the AssIsI stitch.

Two Sided Italian Cross Stitch also known as Arrowhead Stitch

Once again my favorite guide and historical information on this stitch is from The Red Book of Sampler Stitches by Eileen Bennett.

This stitch is 2 threads wide by 2 threads high and can also be found by the alternate name of Arrowhead Cross.

The two-sided Italian Cross Stitch was rarely used on the American sampler, but was a favored stitch of the earlier 16th century Italian stitchers.  This stitch was also found on the Jane Bostocke sampler of 1598 England.

In 16th Century Italian needlework this stitch was used as a pulled thread stitch and could be seen as a background stitch to early Assisi work.

The two sided Italian cross stitch can also be a reversible stitch, looking alike on both sides of the linen fabric by altering the stitching sequence slightly.  You can see this sequence in Eileen's book if you prefer to do it in this manner.

Assisi is a counted thread embroidery stitch that is historically found in Italy and fills in the background of the piece to create the image in the areas left open of stitches.  I was lucky enough to visit Assisi, Italy a few years ago and saw several women working on their embroidery there in some of the shops where they sell their wares as well. I brought home a piece from one of the ladies I met in the shop and it has been a true treasure of mine. 

Here is a free pattern to try.

As always, click on the picture of the chart to go to the Freebies page on our website.  Another way to get there is to click on Freebies in the sidebar.  Once on the Freebies page, click on Dark Alphabet.

Jo has been faithfully stitching away - she is so fast, and has our heads spinning - look at how spectacular her alphabet looks!


  1. It's another wonderful block - thank you!

  2. hmmmm, you're trying to slow me down with an intense page of stitching!
    I think I'll be tweeding again, using black for the /// and 939 for the \\\ on top. I do love the house, especially the bell tower! I want a house with a bell tower.
    Off to show the large boy the latest picture.


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