There are a few types of embroidery that take the Italian town of Deruta for their names but today we're going to look at my favourite one called Antique Deruta Embroidery. This Counted/Pulled Thread technique is enjoying a bit of a revival lately as the Accademia Punto Deruta has been studying old pieces in order to recuperate designs, teaching courses and exhibiting pieces in national and international shows.
The two basic stitches are Darning Stitch and Double Running Stitch. The work is done on openweave fabric called Buratto using 30/2 or 30/3 Linen Thread of the same colour as the fabric. Typical motifs are stylized animals, flowers and vines and geometric patterns.
Here is a border from the Italia Invita Forum 2005 book:
This cushion is from the Italia Invita Forum 2007 book:
This technique makes particularly great embroidery for curtains as you can really see the designs best when light is behind them or a darker fabric.
This banner if from the Italia Invita Forum 2009 book:
There is a piece here to look at, and another one here.
I took a small atelier 2-hour course at the Italia Invita Forum in 2007. The teachers were fantastic and helped me a lot. It wasn't their fault that I was on information overload by the time I attended the class! There is a certain logic to the path you must follow when doing the stitches in order to end up in the right position and with the right sequence in order to obtain the right effect. The Accademia Punto Deruta offers tours of their collection but you must make an appointment in advance.
You can learn more about this technique at Tuttoricamo, click on: "Techniques" and read the article called: Deruta Embroidery within this article is another link to some history - click on: History of Deruta Embroidery under the "Links" heading toward the end of the article. (Note the article called Deruta Drawn Thread Work is something different)
There is a little information on this technique with photos in the Anchor Manual of Needlework, Interweave Press, 1990. Some technical info can also be found in a couple of the Carmela Testa books from the early 20th century - you can find them at Iva Rose.
You can get the Italia Invita books and Buratto fabric at Italian Needlecrafts.