Layout and patterns for Blackwork Sampler Pillow

Well, it turns out I wasn’t quite done writing.  Since I can’t actually work on this project due to not being able to find my scissors, I decided I’d explain a little bit about the layout of the designs I’ve chosen, how I decided what will go where, and show you a few samples of the designs.

First, the layout.  My working space will be 18 inches by 18 inches.  So, everything has to be able to fit in there, somehow, somewhere.  Yay!  I love trying to figure out how to make things fit!  It’s sort of like playing Tetris.  I ended up with a total of 26 designs, though I’m only using 25.  One of them, a boarder design, I decided I really didn’t like.  I had a feeling I wouldn’t like it when I came across it, but decided to graph it out anyways.  Afterwards, I was even more certain I didn’t like it.  It looks sort of like a rope leading up into a palm tree, then back down.  It’s not bad over all, just a bit more nautical and tropical than what I personally like.  All the other elements, I like, so they get the pass.

In a previous post, I was discussing trying to convert the patterns down to scale.  I realized, after, that I didn’t need to do anything.  I had already done all the work.  Each line on the patterns equals one stitch, thus 1 inch equals 14 stitches.  Nothing more needed to be done.

Here’s the overall layout I came up with.  I’ve used a scale of one square equaling a half inch.  So for an 18 inch pattern, I have a grid of 36 squares to a side.  After that, I needed to figure out how to scale each design pattern down to this scale so I could place it on the grid.  Since the designs are not done in multiples of 14 stitches, it required a bit of math, but I think I got it figured out.  I ended up turning the designs into boxes.  I didn’t feel the desire to try to replicate each design this small, nor do I think I actually could have.  It’s also easier to work with an overall box shape than with a bunch of random squiggles when trying to figure out how much area a design covers.

Once I knew about how many squares a design element would cover, it was a matter of figuring out where to place them.  A few were easy, I actually have a couple of designs that are 14 stitches across.  Yay!  That’s a 2×2 square!  One is 64 stitches across.  That comes out to 9 squares across.  Everything else is somewhere in between.  There’s still some empty spaces, and a few elements seem to crowd into each other.  I just keep reminding myself, on the full size piece, the crowding should resolve itself, as what appears to be an almost nothing space will end up being a 1/4 to 1/2 inch of space between elements.  The empty spaces I can freehand a design.  I’m toying wit the idea of trying to see if I can do some scrollwork.

At this point, it was just a matter of deciding where to place each box, trying to balance out how heavy or light, simple or complex, and overall size a design was.  I started along the edges, placing in various boarder designs, and a few non-boarders, that I felt would work in that place.  Long rectangles were great in these places.  Since I have a rather large element at 64 stitches across, I decided it should go in the center.  From there, it was a matter of just filling in, trying to keep everything balanced.

Overall, I think I succeeded in this phase.


These are some simple little designs I came across and really liked how they feel.  These will be pretty small, only about an inch across.


I love knotwork, and decided I had to have at least one knotwork pattern to work up.  I ended up with two.  This is the smaller, and more simple of the two.  The larger one is actually the center piece.


This one appealed to me for it’s simple interwoven lines that give it a more complicated feel then is really there.  My graph paper wasn’t large enough to complete the pattern, but it won’t be hard to mirror the top half.


The next one I got this one from a finished embroidery piece I found online, and used as a pattern for this.  The original had a different thing happening in each quadrant.  I love symmetry, and while the overall had the appearance of symmetry, as I began transcribing it, I realized it was not.  So a few tweaks here and there, a reduction of variations, and I have a design that I’m quite pleased with.  While I don’t consider myself a great fan of country arts and crafts, I am enamored of the little heart flowers.

Below that on the same chart, is a small element I that I find very pleasing to embroider, four little flowers.  They make a great boarder on clothing when lined up in a row.  I have this design embroidered on the sleeves of a chemise I use for my SCA garb.  It’s simple, yet quite pretty.


Well, that’s it for tonight.  One frustrated crafty person, who has been waylaid on their plans to start a project, all because a pair of scissors went missing.


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