Blackwork, also known as Spanish Work, is a type of counted thread embroidery thought to have originated in Spain. It was brought to England by Catherine of Aragon, the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain when married Prince Arthur, the eldest son of King Henry VII.
In spite of this pedigree, new evidence and research have shown that North Africa, particularly Morocco, may have been the true birthplace of this style of embroidery.
Blackwork is a counted thread technique, traditionally worked in black thread on white even-weave fabric, but today is often worked in multiple or other single colors.
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The Practical Blackwork site has posted several free patterns to stitch, including the Ukrainian Rhapsody design shown here. Download the PDF pattern directly from their site.
The site also features free patterns designed by Kim Salazar, Author of "The New Carolingian Modelbook" for borders and fillings.
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Search for free, printable designs by category.
The website states, "Tom Pudding Designs published Jan Eaton's designs for cross-stitch, blackwork, and needlepoint from 1999 until 2005. The original designs are gradually being made available here as free downloads, and there are a lot of designs here to see!
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This site, run by Carol Leather, features several free blackwork patterns that are suitable for the beginner, including this simple rosette design or the blackwork pears pattern.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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The Nordic Needle has posted an excellent history of Blackwork on its Save the Stitches site.
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