opus mariss

Embroidering through Time and Space

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Eyelet of the Beholder


finished 003I made this small pouch last year for an artisans exchange. It is stitched in a stranded silk floss on linen.  The embroidery was inspired by an extant fragment of what was probably an altar frontal. The original in Uppsala Cathedral is stitched in red, blue and yellow silk and metallic gold threads on a linen base cloth.  I changed the colors in my piece, in order to better suit the person it was being made for.  I also made a small change to the motifs, in the original the yellow and blue figures are swastikas.  On the original the difference is subtle. But, when I changed the color- way on mine the black swastikas felt a little too aggressive, so I closed the lower arm off into a loop to make the eagle motif.  I like the way the colors work together, but I think this combination has a more modern than a  “medieval” feel to it.  The entire piece is worked in a pulled eyelet stitch with 16 stitches per eye.

fragment with eyelet embroidery

photo credit -Textile treasures of Uppsala Cathedral_, Agnes Geijer, 1964, plate 49



Getting started, two motifs finished two more in progress. The penny is for scale.  (this photo was taken wrong side up)  The eyeletsare worked on point and called a diamond eyelet stitch.  Each arm of the “point” is worked over four threads with 16 stitches per eyelet. The eyelets are worked as you would a counted stitch, moving your needle through the holes in the warp and weft of the ground cloth. I used a sewing awl to open the center of each eye, before stitching it.  I also found that my tension was more even, if I worked the 4 compass points of the eyelet first, then circled back around and filled the areas in between in on a second pass of each eyelet.progress 2 001






All the colors are in, and the white “paths” are about half way done.  You can really see how the colors work together.   bag 8-4 004



20togo 006  Twenty eyelets left to go.

change of plans 003 I played with the idea of using a metallic thread on the center eyes to give the piece a little sparkle. But I didn’t have the right weight and the gold wasn’t thrilling me either. Silver may have worked better.  I ended up keeping the centers white, like the paths.




All the embroidery finished, and the piece has been flat lined with a piece of violet linen to accentuate the “eyes” .

change of plans 007

















stitching up the edge with an applied braiding stitch.




And the finished pouchfinished 003