Woven Circles and a Fascinating Book

woven circle stitch bookmark

If you read the comments under my previous post, you’ll see that Elizabeth gave us a link to a selection of patterns from an 1899 book about traditional Mordvin costumes, concentrating on the embroidery designs. (These are Eastern European costumes. I knew nothing about the Mordvin peoples before I saw this book, so I can do no better than point you at the Wikipedia entry for Mordvins.)

The whole book is on the Internet Archive, Mordvalaisten Pukuja kuoseja, and it’s fascinating. It has many, many pages full of embroidery designs, carefully charted on graph paper, and drawings of the embroidery in use on costume. A wonderful resource. The text is in Finnish and German, but the main part of the book is the plates.

I was fascinated by the stitches. I’ve been playing with them at odd moments ever since I downloaded the book and printed a few pages. Figuring the structures out has been a great distraction while I have been looking after my Father this week, and not feeling up to coping with the silk cross-stitch band sampler. I want to share more samples and diagrams when I am back with my own computer. For now here is just one of the traditional stitches, and some photos of  a first little test piece using the stitch. (This is not a direct copy of any design, I was just exploring ways to group the stitch. Pearl cotton #8 on medium-heavy 25-count cotton/linen fabric.) I’m calling this “Woven Circle Stitch” because I don’t know what else to call it.

Woven Circle Stitch Chart

There are several variations of this stitch, and many more worked in similar ways,

A detail of the border

woven circle border detail

detail of one motif

woven circle square motif

My apologies for the less than wonderful photos – there will be better ones soon, and better samples. (I did these in a hurry, before I left for my Dad’s house.) Once again, my thanks to Elizabeth for introducing me to this book.



6 Responses to “Woven Circles and a Fascinating Book”

  1. If you like this, then search Chuvash embroidery on the internet. The Chuvash and Mordvins are neighbouring peoples on the Volga. Chuvash embroidery is beautiful and has points in common with blackwork.
    I’ve got a few bits of Chuvash work from trips to that area over the last 20 years. It’s lovely and comes out for Christmas and Easter.
    You might find it of interest.

    • suetortoise Says:

      Thank you very much, Karen – I will have a look for Chuvash embroidery, once I’ve finished exploring the Mordvin stitches.

  2. That’s a lovely stitch, full of potential, and I do rather like that sample pattern. The overdyed thread gives it a lovely ripple of life.

    • suetortoise Says:

      The Anchor pearl #8 was just a little thick for the stitch at that scale on that fabric, but it gave a nice chunky finish.

  3. Thank you for posting this! I’ll definitely look at the book and try some stitches.

  4. I know you love stitch analysis, Sue – I’m so glad you have some new ones to play with at this difficult time. xxx

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