Reference Library: Embroidery
'Embroidery' is the art or handicraft of decorating fabric or other materials with designs stitched in strands of thread or yarn using a needle. Embroidery may also incorporate other materials such as metal strips, pearls, beads, quills, and sequins.
Types of embroidery
Embroidery is classified according to its use of the underlying foundation fabric. One classification system divides embroidery styles according to the relationship of stitch placement to the fabric:
*In free embroidery, designs are applied without regard to the weave of the underlying fabric. Examples include crewel and traditional Chinese embroidery.
*In counted-thread embroidery, patterns are created by making stitches over a pre-determined number of threads in the foundation fabric. Counted-thread embroidery is more easily worked on an even-weave foundation fabric such as embroidery canvas, aida cloth, or specially woven cotton and linen fabrics although non-evenweave linen is used as well. Examples include needlepoint and cross-stitch.
A second division classifies embroidery according to whether the design is stitched on top of or through the foundation fabric:
* In 'Surface embroidery', patterns are worked on top of the foundation fabric using decorative stitches and laid threads. Surface embroidery encompasses most free embroidery as well as some forms of counted-thread embroidery (such as cross-stitch).
* In 'Canvas work', threads are stitched through a fabric mesh to create a dense pattern that completely covers the foundation fabric. All canvas work is not counted-thread embroidery. There are printed and hand painted canvases where the painted or printed image is meant to serve as a color guide. Stitches are of the stitcher's choosing.
The origins of embroidery are lost in time, but examples survive from ancient Egypt, Iron Age Northern Europe and Song Dynasty China.
Elaborately embroidered clothing, religious objects, and household items have been a mark of wealth and status in many cultures including ancient Persia, India, Byzantium, medieval England (Opus Anglicanum or "English work"), and Baroque Europe.
Bayeux Tapestry, not a Tapestry, it is elaborately embroidered wall hanging made for the Bayeux Cathedral.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Embroidery".