I started working on Joe’s Blackwork shirt back in November and I’m posting the previous in progress posts below.

Pt 1 – 11/5/10
I’ve barely even started on my two Dickens dresses and I’m already getting the itch to make pieces for the next Ren Faire season in April. I figure I’ll start small and just work on a shirt for now.This is just the beginning of a full outfit I’m pondering.

The blackwork layout. I really love this pattern because it’s simple without looking dull and leaves room to add to it in the future.
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It took me a couple tries to figure out how to make it small enough to fit multiple repetitions without losing the details, but I think it’s going well so far.  The loose weave canvas measures about 2″ of space that is being worked on.

Obviously I’m having a fun time figuring out the most direct path to embroider the entire length without having to overlap or go back to missed sections and am so far managing to succeed despite not knowing how long the cuff needs to be yet (I was maybe just maybe a little impatient to get started).

Three strands of the black makes a nice solid line, but I may only do one or at most two strands of black/red for the details inside each of the diamonds.

Pt 2 – 11/11/10
The blackwork is going quicker than I expected considering I’ve only really had time to work on it during lunch breaks and on BART on my way to work. Tonight I finished the first cuff’s black portion and finally get to work on the crosses. I thought about doing all of the black for both cuffs and collars before moving on to the red, but was just too impatient to see how it would look.

Last Sunday I used my super ninja skills to find out how wide the pattern needed to be, which went something like: “Hey, close your eyes and hold out your arm. NO DON’T LOOK!” I’m pretty sure he has absolutely no idea that there is anything going on.


I keep worrying that it’s too tall, but it looks much better with the pattern and I have to remind myself that his wrists are much larger than mine so it’ll probably look just fine. For reference, because I’ve lost all of my rulers at the same time, The inner diamonds are about the size of a dime.


Detail shot of the first cross using 2 strands of red floss. The details in the corners add a nice texture to it, though it’s not as clear as the grid I’m working off of for obvious size reasons. But wow, it looks really nice so far. I’ve also decided to not add any embellishment in the small diamonds or at least not until the very end. Don’t want it getting too crowded.

So there we go. Moving along at a fairly good pace!

Pt 3 – 12/09/10
The first cuff is finally done!

Unfortunately I got a little behind on my embroidery once Dickens Fair started and all of my time and energy went into my new dresses. But I finally finished all of the crosses on the first cuff and they all turned out so great. The only thing I’m displeased with is that at some point the canvas must have shifted because some of hte crosses are just a little slanted. Probably not enough to notice on a first glance (I hope), but I’ll always see it. Also, it’s really hard to get the little red +’s at the corners of each diamond to be just the right size so they aren’t too small to see the details or too big they overpower the design.

One day I’ll have a real camera that isn’t my phone and takes better quality pictures. I’ve removed the waist canvas and it looks great! Onward to cuff #2 and the collar!

Pt 4 – 01/03/11
I finally finished both of the cuffs! It feels like these took forever, and I guess they sort’ve did. But I’m so glad they’re done and now I can move on to the neckband and then the actual construction of the shirt. It looks like I might actually finish before April. 😛


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