Georgian Lady by Catkin Embroidery

A Blackwork almost-monochrome for Monochrome Monday.  Yes there are two shades of thread here.
Catkin Embroidery - Georgian Lady
Catkin Embroidery - Georgian Lady

From the Designer

It has taken hours to make this lady look so glorious. She is fully aware of how beautiful she is. Stitched in black and grey.

Why this chart?

I adore blackwork, using back-stitch or double running stitch instead of cross stitch.  Blackwork stitches up faster than cross stitch because the interiors are left blank or filled in with differing amounts of stitching to give texture and shadows.
backstitch-diagram
Diagram of back stitch and double running stitch
I am careful around corners, otherwise I happily used back stitch as  double running stitch requires more planning.  The main consideration for blackwork, especially high contrast work such as this black on white is to minimise the amount of carry threads on the back.  When these can be seen as shows on the front of the piece it reduces the elegance of the piece. I love how easily blackwork can be personalised; stitch this on a hand dyed fabric, change the colours of her hat and dress, use a skin tone for her face and arms, change the colour of her hair, the possibilities are endless. Georgian Lady is a combination of blackwork and cross stitch. She is an intricate design which includes quarter stitches and varying number of threads.  I recommend this for intermediate to advanced stitchers; however if you are a beginner and passionate about this design, start it!
Georgian Lady
Georgian Lady

Review

All of the Catkin Embroidery designs, including Georgian Lady are available as charts, Aida kits or evenweave kits.  I only have charts in my stash, so I will be reviewing that. Georgian Lady is printed in black on A4 white paper folded in half to create a small packet.  The cover is a light card stock with a photo of the finished blackwork pasted on.  The cover also includes the approximate design area if you use 14 or 28ct fabric. The cross stitch and blackwork floss keys are listed on the inside front cover. I have to purchase the design to see what materials are needed. The chart also does not offer a stitch count; I have to either trust the listed measurements or count out the stitches myself. The chart is six pages long with a diagram showing the placement of that section of the chart.  Each subsequent page has a two-row overlap to help maintain your place. The floss symbols and blackwork diagrams are printed quite large so this is an easy chart to see and follow.  There is good disparity between the cross stitch symbols and between the blackwork lines.  In the blackwork the heavier lines are stitched in black and the lighter lines in grey. The chart pack also has blackwork instructions and Notes on how to stitch the Georgian Lady.  The blackwork instructions include general  diagrams and directions on how to stitch both blackwork and cross stitch as well as some aftercare instructions.  The Notes page is specific to the Georgian Lady design and lists what sections are to be stitched in which colours and which areas are to be stitched first; such as the dress fold lines are to be stitched over the top of the stitched pattern in her skirt. Georgian Lady is stitched in DMC on white or cream Aida or evenweave.  Given my distaste of partial stitches in Aida I would stitch this on an evenweave; however if you prefer Aida then use that!  Use the fabric you are comfortable with.

Materials Required

To stitch the charts exactly as designed, you will need: 2 skeins DMC 310 Black 1 skein DMC 413 Pewter Grey 14ct Aida or 28 count White or Cream Evenweave  (stitch count 125 x 226). This design can be stitched over 2 or over 1. For 14ct Aida or 28ct evenweave (with 3″ border allowance) fabric size is: 15” x 22”  or  38 x 57cm  or  a fat quarter (18 x 27″).
Charles Craft - Antique White
Charles Craft - Antique White

Approximate cost for Project

Approximate cost to stitch Georgian Lady using the recommended materials (prices are in $US, at recommended retail and do  not include postage): Chart: $ 10.33 Floss:  $    1.32 Fabric: $15.65 Total: $21.98  ($39.53 AUD or €19.86  or  £15.77)

Places to Buy

Catkin Embroidery sells the printed charts and kits worldwide. The kits prices direct from Catkin are cheaper than buying the individual pieces from your Local Needlework Shop because they only include the cut of fabric and the amount of floss you need instead of a full fat quarter and full skeins of floss. Australia: Colours Down Under has all the threads and a variety of white and off white fabrics in stock. Jo would be happy to order in the individual charts, and offers a 10% discount on the package (chart + floss). Mention this review when ordering. Colour Cascade Fabrics " you could go with any colour that suits the decor in your room, or perhaps an ice dye!" Tammy offers a 15% discount for readers of this site. Code is: CSReview. Offer ends 6 December 2014. Europe: Casa Cenina in Spain can order this chart in for you.  They also stock a variety of fabrics and floss for your unique creation. United Kingdom: SewandSo has the chart in stock and can kit it up for you. Sparklies suggests that this design would suit one of her neutral fabrics such as Barely Bronzed, Parchment, Dr Smith's Tonic or Oatmeal. Chromatic Alchemy  “The Georgian lady is so delicate I feel a heavily mottled fabric would overwhelm her. Having said that there are always options to add some colour, here she is on Dune a subtle sand coloured piece.”. United States: 123Stitch has the thread in stock and offers a variety of fabrics.

Discussion

Have you stitched blackwork before? Do you like it? Would you be interested in trying it out?  Please comment below, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

Feedback

Did you like this review? Did it contain all the expected information? Is there anything you would like added or removed from the reviews? Do you know of a particular chart or designer you want to see featured here? If so, please head to the Suggestions page and let me know. Last Updated: 17 November 2014  
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