Embroidery Patterns from Extant Patterns

These patterns were taken from extant trim, for the most part tablet woven. They can be used for tablet weaving, embroidery, or you could needlepoint them to look like tapestry. The one thing I noticed in preparing these was the lack of repeat. The trims were not repeats of the same pattern as we so often see today, but the design sort of "flowed" along at the whim of the maker. Some of these were brocaded and the darker pattern squares are the metal. In some cases the base or the trim was completely gone and only the metal threads remained, but the design. could be reconstructed from the dents left by the missing threads.

"A" is from the tomb of St. Arnegunde at St. Denis in Paris. It dates from the 6th century. It was embroidered in gold on silk. It appears to have been a combination of couching and the chain stitch. Note that the two design differ. They were both found on the sleeves of the same garment.

The figures in B are also from the 6th century. They come from a tablet woven band found. in Evabo, Denmark. They are stylized animal figures and were done in black on a brown band woven in the double-face technique. If I had to venture a guess, I'd say the first figure is a cat, the second a snail or insect and the third is a rooster.

"C" is from Mammen, Denmark and dates from the Norse period.

"D" is from the Taplow ship find in England and dates from the 6th century. Since the size of the fragment was small, I have extended the patter logically in a couple of places. A drawing of the find is shown beside the graphed pattern.

"E" is froma tablet woven band found in Birka, Sweden and dates to vefore the year 1000 A.D.

We will have some more of these designs in the next issue.

Sources: I can already hear the comments all the way back to Rome: "There is a swastika on that trim!!". Actually, it is a "fylfot". The fylfot is an ancient symbol of good luck and is found in almost all cultures from east India to the Americas. Unfortunately the symbol was adopted by the Nazis and as the "swastika" (an east Indian term) has come to be a symbol of all that is bad with the world. The fylfot was much used by the Anglo-Saxons and its appearance in trims or decorations should be viewed as a luck symbol, although if you choose to include it, prepare yourself.

These designs are from a wonderful book, Celtic Charted Designs by Co Spinhoven, Dover publications, 1987. The book contains a wide variety including ones from the Book of Kells. While they were probably designed for counted cross stitch, they are equally good for tablet and tapesty weaving as well as many other crafts. This source was sent to us by Kiera Hafoc.

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