Monday, April 12, 2010

Ricamo d'Assia

When I first started researching Italian needlework I had a long list of names that I had taken off of an Italian stitching website which was in Italian (of course). I had no idea if these names were "Italian" techniques or just the Italian names for techniques from other countries.

Ricamo d'Assia
was one that I liked very much, lots of Openwork and Whitework. When I was looking for instructions in English for the Gigliuccio hemstitch, I found Renate Fernau's book on Schwalm Whitework Embroidery. Long after I was done learning how to do the hemstitch that I had been so single-mindedly looking for, I noticed the rest of the book. The embroidery looked a lot like... Ricamo d'Assia. (Ricamo is 'embroidery' in Italian)

This was one of those times when the technique I was researching was not in fact an "Italian" technique per se... Ricamo d'Assia is the Italian term for Schwalm Whitework. What I did discover however, was that it is immensely popular in Italy and there are lots of embroiderers there who do it. I got a little sidetracked by seeing so many lovely examples of this embroidery done by Italian ladies that of course I even had to try a bit myself.

Last year when I was in Italy I couldn't help myself and just had to get a book on Ricamo d'Assia as it was written by an Italian embroidery teacher. Guida al ricamo d'Assia is packed full of colour instructional photos explaining over 30 stitches. There are projects with varying levels of difficulty and even a bit about the stitches that surround the traditional motifs. The text is in Italian but the photos and diagrams are so good that you'll be able to figure out what to do without the written instructions. You can get it direct from the author Stefania Bressan. There is a book review at Tuttoricamo under "Books" and then "Pulled Thread and Schwalm Embroidery".

I mention this technique here because it did have me researching it for awhile before I figured out what it was, so if anyone else out there happened to wonder, now you know. If you're anything like me though, you are easily distracted by beautiful embroidery and this is well worth a look from the Italian point of view.

This delightful little pincushion is a gift that I received from Italy:

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