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Counted Methods


Blackwork is often called Spanish work as Catherine of Aragon introduced it into England. It had been adopted by the Spanish from the Moors and Arabs, who in turn, borrowed it from the Egyptians and Persians.

The occasional addition of gold was customary at this time and the subjects of many famous portraits are depicted wearing shirts, bodices and caps embroidered in this way.

This example shows various blackwork patterns worked in stranded cotton on Aida, different numbers of strands have been used for each block.

Blackwork Sample

Pulled Thread

In pulled or drawn fabric, the material is left intact and the threads are either pulled apart of drawn together by stitching in such a way that the holes left form a variety of patterns.

The material, far from being weakened as one would expect, is actually strengthened.

Pulled Thread Sample


The inhabitants of Hardanger, a mountainous region in the South West of Norway, make openwork embroideries of a particular character now known as Hardanger embroideries.

Worked on counted threads, this embroidery may be classed in the category of openwork on linen in cut stitch.

Hardanger Sample

Assisi Work

This technique is named after the village of Assisi in Italy from where the technique originates.

The main characteristic of Assisi work is that although cross stitch and double running stitch are used throughout. Note that it is the background, and not the design, which is filled with stitches.

Assisi Work Sample

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