Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Blackwork Color Wheel - New Start

Now that I've completed Dawn to Dusk, I can start a new project. Spoiler alert, I'm way more ahead than I should be. I couldn't help it, this piece is absolutely addictive. The design I decided to start is a "blackwork" Color Wheel embroidery kit by Jen Goodwin Embroidery. I'm using quotation marks because blackwork is traditionally stitched in all black and this one uses lots and lots of colors.

To be honest, I don't think I would have purchased a blackwork kit if it wasn't for all those colors. You'll understand once you see the contents of the kit. I love those pastels!

(click on the post to see the video below)

The fabric comes un-printed, with the design printed on paper to be transferred using tack lines. I find printing paper too thick for this method and prefer using tissue paper. However, I want perfect curves so redrawing by hand is not an option. One of the things I've been learning during COVID is Islamic Geometry, and using a compass to draw them. This particular shape is actually a circle split into seven equal parts. I also learned how to find the center of a circle, thank you Youtube!

As this is a small design, I'm using stretcher bars for this project. You can use a hoop, but I like to avoid hoop marks when I can.

The design is transferred onto the fabric using tack lines as they are temporary. Once the entire piece is stitches, they will be carefully removed.

(click on the post to see the animation below)

Before starting, I moved the threads to a larger ring and inserted a label to identify the color groups. Each set of threads is used at a different level in the flower. It is very important that they stay in the exact same order they came in as otherwise you won't get the same effect.

Blackwork patterns look complicated at first glance, but they can be simplified by breaking them down into layers. The patterns in this design can be broken into two layers: horizontal and vertical. I found that by stitching one layer for colors, makes it easier for me to put in the partial stitches needed where they meet, before doing the next layer.

(click on the post to see the animation below)

I must say I haven't been able to set it aside once I started. The stitching also goes buy so fast once you memorize the pattern. That's also a pitfall. The pattern changes once you reach the third layer and despite the fact that I had studied the diagram, my muscle memory went ahead and replicated the old pattern. Luckily I realized my mistake by the third color change so it wasn't too bad of a fix.

I will be off starting Friday afternoon for my annual two week stitching holiday. I'm so looking forward to it. So far the plan is to work on this piece and Hiogi, but primarily Hiogi as I'd like to get that piece finished next year. I also need to start thinking of what my new years day start will be.


  1. This project looks extremely challenging from drawing the design to executing the stitches. You are doing a great job on both. Looking forward to seeing it completed.

  2. That does look like quite the adventure!

  3. It looks really cool. I like the idea of blackwork stitches in colors. Also, I can’t wait to see your progress on Hiogi!

  4. This looks like such a great project. Blackwork fascinates me and I find the way it develops really intriguing. This looks like a great project to get started in the technique!

  5. This is a beautiful design, I love rainbow colours. I like the way there is a brighter rainbow and a more muted set of colours too.
    Looking forward to seeing more of this one.

  6. Wow this piece is gorgeous! I can see why you can't put it down, and might have to look into getting this one myself...

  7. (Did my comment get eaten? Sorry if it turns up multiple times...)
    Wow, this piece is gorgeous! I can see why you have a hard time putting this down, and might even have to look into getting this one for myself...

  8. Are the threads silk or cotton?