German Brick Stitch

This past weekend I went to an SCA Event called Embroidery Schola, held in Berlin, MA. The day was filled with classes and discussions on historical hand embroidery techniques.

I was excited to see that German Brick Stitch was one of the classes offered. This stitch dates back to the 14th century and was found on little bags or pouches. (I am still researching as to how else it was used, so stay tuned!!) But in all it’s little repetative geometric goodness laid something scary to this free stitcher… Math. I figured that you needed lots of math to get the patterns to plot correctly. I mean, the shapes are all geometric. I started having flashbacks to my sophmore geometry classes in high school and they weren’t good!! But I girded myself and sat down at the table. I had my kit and my handout and I was ready to go. Then she said it. “This is a counted stitch. Once you find your middle, you just count to 4.”

Wait…what?? Surely there is something else. No? Just to 4

Our teacher had pre-cut our canvas, marked the center (our starting point) with a dot and even stitched the “fence”, which was our guide. Looking back, preparing our canvas was probably the most involved part of the process, and she had it all done! Now it was just up to us to stitch. Go up at A. Count 4 spaces/holes and go down at B. Eventually you will have to share a space. Her words: “Go up clean – go down dirty”. Always come up through an empty space and go down through the space you have to share.

Anyways, once you start, you’ll be amazed at the outcome. You’ll be able to see your progess pretty quickly. Which means, if you miss a count, it will show up really quickly, too! And it’s very easy to fix.

So while I am still researching other extant applications, I find that there is a plethora of mundane applications, as well! Pins, pendants, bookmarks, framed art….



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