A month or so ago (february 2006) I decided it was time to get to grips with long armed cross stitch. Both one of the easiest and most frustrating stitches to learn. There are a lot of extant medieval pieces around done in this stitch. While it is a bit of a bother to learn, it is a fast stitch to use. And easy when you get the hang of it. Patterns are easy to chart and there is a wide selection of embroideries to choose from between the 13th and the 15thC. Even after. It is a well known technique known from Egypt to Iceland. My main focus is still 1250-1450.
Some introductions to long armed cross stitch
Cross: Cultural, by Christian de Holacombe
Cross Stitch on Linen -- Patterns from Spain and France,by Christian de Holacombe
Some extant pieces
Long-Armed Cross Stitch 15th Century, by Richard Wymarc (with pattern)
Icelandic Altar Hanging,Text and charts by Joyce Miller (the background text is done in long armed cross stitch, with pattern)
The Göss Vestments 1239-69. A collection of vestments made in a combination of long armed cross stitch,a variety of counted stitches and stem stitches.
3 different pouches. One heraldic still half done, a pouch for a friend who does early 15thC and a reliquie pouch.
My first attempt at long armed cross stitch. I copied parts of a 13thC purse pattern from Sens.I used a linen mix I found fairly recently and chinese silk. I have a few finishing touches left to do.I suspect the tassles will go. The pouch looked better without them.
The Sens purse ;
My second attempt was a little more daring. The linen and silk was the same as the above. The pattern was copied from a band in the V&A. The pattern has been charted by Richard Wymarc on his website. I substituted the burned orange (possibly faded madder red ?) with a deep golden yellow.
When finished, this will be a birthday gift for a friend who is turning 70 and just started re-enactment.
Linen fabric and chinese silk
                                   My 3rd attempt ; a pillow (photo will be posted soon)
And the 5th attempt. I promised to make a heraldic pouch for a friend who does 1260. My 4th attempt got discarded with about 75% of the embroidery done. The colors and patterns did not work too well together. So I started from scratch again.
The border is copied from one of the Göss vestments. Likewise the color scheme. The "star" is his crest and since he is one of the kings men, he has a red shield. In addition I have used two german heraldic pouches about 1300 ,a velvet gold embroidered 13thC pouch and german 13th-14thC heraldic pouches as inspiration.
Linen fabric and chinese silk.