Thursday, June 10

14th century heraldic pouches: what type of stitch is this?






Racaire just posted a picture of a 14th century heraldic pouch on her blog. It reminded me of these images from the Bildindex I downloaded some time ago. Does anyone know what type of stitch is used here? I have no idea, and I even thought of knitting, but that's probably not true.. We would love to hear your ideas on this!

13 comments :

Sarah A said...

Looks like knitting to me. Some of it is horizontal - that's an interesting effect. Shouldn't be *too* hard to do, once you get the figures copied... Now that sounds like a fun project!

Tristán Z. said...

If it is indeed embroidered, my guess would be some variety of tent stitch (see Stitch Guide: Tent Stitch ). But it is very difficult to tell from the pictures..

Tristán Z. said...

...but yes, knitting is also a possibility. Museum curators don't always get everything right, after all..

Racaire said...

Thank you for the pictures :)
It would be really great to have good close up photos of the stitch... The bag is great but without a closer look it wouldn't be possible to name the stitch/stitches :/


First I thought it could be long arm cross stitch, like I saw at the "Gösser Ornat" here in Vienna, but having a look at your photos it also reminds me on "page 523 – Almosenbeutel (alms pouch) with armorial bearings / Zürich, Schweizerisches Landesmuseum" (http://embroidery.racaire.at/?p=2970) - a stitch similar worked like a Satin Stitch, but used for section filling... but having a look at your photos I think it could be also the technique which I saw at a piece on display at the bavarian national museum: http://www.flickr.com/photos/racaire/3223436108/in/set-72157604426538842/
Detail: http://www.flickr.com/photos/racaire/3223436728/in/set-72157604426538842/
rows of stem stitches worked in different directions - provides a shape like chainstitch, but it isn't :)

...that's really not easy...

Chris said...

These pouches look a bit like they are trying to imitate the knitted relic pouches? Some of them are published in "Mittelalterliche Textilien in Kirchen und Klöstern der Schweiz" by Brigitta Schmedding (Bern 1978; ISBN 3-7272-9682-8)
But here the "knitting" changes direction - is that possible with real knitting? And the information says "embroidered"...
Fascinating :-)

Kathy Storm said...

It looks like knitting to me, too. I remember seeing a color picture of a knitted pouch but I can't remember where. Where the squares meet it looks like they have been joined together, I don't think it would look that way if it was embroidered. Maybe some kind of chain stitch would make a similar effect in embroidery?

MarGorsson said...

Its knitted.

The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

I suppose it might be chain stitch but the photos are not good enough to tell for certain. It really could be anything.

dravon said...

My best guess would be a form of knitting, as you mentioned. The pattern of the stitch looks like a series of interlocking chain stitches, which is the simplest and most basic of the knitting-family of stitches. The trick would be to learn the history of knitting (and its forms) to find out what pre-dated our modern idea of it and see if that technique fits the era.

If nothing else, this comment will kick off others to add their thoughts. :-)

Cynthia Nicole said...

the ceylon or loop stitch?

Chris Laning said...

I would certainly suspect long-armed cross stitch above all. This stitch looks a whole lot like knitting at first glance, except that it changes direction through right angles -- something rather difficult to do and not at all typical of the knitting style of the time. Of course you can see it's embroidery right away if you look at the back. There is an embroidered pillow cover from Las Huelgas -- not as well known as the two famous knitted ones -- that is done in long-armed cross stitch and there are close-up photos that show the stitches turning corners. That one is not heraldic, but it's in a similar "checkerboard" style.

There are also at least three other heraldic purses from the 13th and 14th centuries that are also embroidered in long-armed cross stitch in a similar style. I will have to look up where they are to see if I can find them in Bildindex, but they are in this article (if you can find it -- it's hard to find):

Leonie von Wilckens, _Eine Stickerei des frühen 14. Jahrhunderts als Bucheinband_ (An embroidery of the early 14th century used as a book binding). In _Documenta Textilia: Festschrift fu:r Sigrid Mu:ller-Christensen_. Ed. Mechthild Flury-Lemberg & Karen Stolleis. München, Derscher Kunstberlag, 1981. ISBN 3-422-00719-9

Gael Stirler said...

Sorry folks but you're all wrong. Think simpler. It is just a simple petitepoint stitch. One row leans right, the next row leans left giving the appearance of chain stitch or knitting. It can easily run north and south or east. It can be done as just a half cross stitch with 6 stands of floss.

Elisheva said...

Commenting very late, but: The German National Museum has newly put this pouch on display in their new exhibition room. I took pictures of it, and in detail you can see, that it is indeed long legged cross stitch. (Check the original size of Nr.62)

The stitch is very small and done with thread that is much thicker than the threads in the ground fabric.

I'll take more pictures of it when I go there next time. I live close to the museum.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ladypetronilla/8075027568/in/photostream/

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