Blackwork Embroidery


This page features information about, and samples of Blackwork Embroidery.

I love the look of blackwork embroidery. Blackwork creates the look of lace, making a dramatic appearance, as simple or complex as the stitcher desires.

Contrary to its name, blackwork does not require the stitching to be done in black. I have seen a number of colors used in various projects. The stitching is primarily done in a color contrasting to the fabric (dark colored thread stitched on light colored fabric, or light colored thread stitched on dark colored fabric).

Blackwork can be stitched on many types of fabric to adorn everything from handkerchiefs and cross stitch samplers, to fancy dress attire.

The image shown at right is the first blackwork stitching project I completed. The actual size of the stitched leaf is 3-1/2" wide by 3-1/4" tall.

I created this project by drawing a basic leaf shape on paper to use as a stencil, and using materials I had on hand (14ct. aida fabric and black embroidery thread). I cut the leaf shape out of the paper and traced the reverse side onto the back of my fabric with a pencil. Using the pencil tracing as a guide, I double back-stitched around the outside edge and down the center to divide the two leaf sections.

click for larger photo

I selected fill patterns and stitched each half of the leaf in a different pattern. The project worked up rather quickly, just a few hours of stitching.

I plan to experiment with more blackwork, try some more fill patterns and work with different fabrics and color combinations. I hope to post more of my stitching on this site.


American Needlepoint Guild, Inc.
American Needlepoint Guild, Inc. Blackwork -- An Introduction: History, photos & links to some fill patterns.

Fill-in Patterns from Sixteenth Century Blackwork Embroideries - Features a nice introductory blackwork section with patterns and fills.

Rainbow Gallery - Several free blackwork patterns to download.

The Blackwork Embroidery Archives - Original Blackwork Patterns Inspired by Historical Sources.

Books of Interest:

Beginner's Guide to Blackwork