Particular to Germany in the 14th & 15th centuries, the pair of counted-stitch embroidery techniques we call brick stitch are found on many extant purses, and were used as a graphic technique within wall hangings. In nearly every extant case, brightly dyed silks were used on linen ground fabrics. When we recreate these techniques, evenweave cloth is used. Using set lengths, stitches are worked strictly in one direction (most often vertically), so that lines and shapes are created to form repeating patterns.
For BRICK STITCH (sample pattern above), only a single stitch length is used (typically a 4-thread stitch). Stitches are arranged so that each successive column of stitches is offset from the previous column by half a stitch length, forming a brick pattern. Brick stitch designs are oriented straight on the piece, rather than on an angle, and the regular grid of the brick pattern makes it easy to create figures, including plants, people and animals.
When it comes to counting, there are 3 basic ways that a person may prefer to do it. You can count either:
- the number of threads the stitch will go over
- the number of holes the stitch will go over including the one it comes out of and goes back down through
- the number of holes the stitch will go over not including the beginning and ending hole
(By the way, you can see my general process for converting a brick stitch embroidered panel into a drawstring purse here.)
A Stitch Out of Time - several patterns and examples, as well as research regarding the use of these techniques
Taschen - some advanced techniques and inspiration (satin stitch pattern source)
Medieval Arts & Crafts - look under the “brick stitch” tag
For more, take a look at the "German embroidered brick stitch" Google search results.
Or use the search bar on my sidebar to search for "brick stitch" on this blog for my projects!