Glossary
At the writing desk


Here is a selection of terms commonly used within this website and on the WCoB email list.

Applique
Solid fabric shapes, cut out and sewn down neatly on a fabric ground, sometimes with additional embellishment.

Bayeux work
Embroidery in the style of the Bayeux 'Tapestry'(Embroidery), worked in a wool, usually on a linen ground, using a limited palette of colours.Shapes are filled in with long stitches, held down with perpendicular rows of self-couching. In use from 9th c.

Blackwork
General tem for a number of styles common in 16thC England, Germany and Spain, including counted and free-for, double-running (Holbein work), counted work in-fill patterns and speckle stitch. Usually worked in black silk, but gold, red, blue etc are also known.

Bone lace
A pre-1600 term for bobbin lace, so called because the bobbins were made of bone

Braid stitch
A surface woven stitch, common in Elizabethan embroidery.

Brick stitch
A form of polychrome counted work, where the stitches are stepped like bricks.

Convent stitch 
See Klosterstitch.

Couching
A main thread or threads create the design on the ground fabric, held down using small stitches in silk. The main method of applying gold thread.

Even-weave
Fabric with the same number of threads in the warp and weft. The count (eg 28 count) refers to the number of threads per inch.

Frame
Used to stretch the ground fabric taut, so that the embroidery lies flat. Period frames were rectangular, with the ground fabric or backing attached by whipping over the bars or though holes drilled in them. Essential for metal threads. Hoops are a simple modern frame.

Ground
The fabric on which the embroidery is worked.

Goldwork
Embroidery using couched gold threads - jap, purl, twist, plate, etc

Intarsia
A form of applique, where the shape is placed into an identical hole in the ground fabric and the two joined with small overcast stitches.

Jap
"Japanese Gold" Flat gold wound around a core of silk. Imitation jap is made with fake gold.

Klosterstich
"Cloister stitch" or "nun's work". A version of couching where the thread is laid over the surface then couched down using the same thread.

Madiera
Brand name for a low-twist silk thread, used in many Company projects because it is readily available (less so these days, so we might reconsider for future projects).

LOG
Lochac Order of Grace. An awards given within the Kingdom of Lochac.Opus anglicanum
"English work" c 1250 - 1350.Linen or velvet background richly covered with detailed figures in silk split stitch and laid gold (underside couching). Usually used for ecclesiastical work.

Opus teutonicum
"German work". utlines with fill stitches using linen thread on linen ground and a combination of darning, drawn work, etc. May be whitework or coloured.

Or nue
"Shaded gold". Gold threads are laid to completely cover the background. The gold is couched down with coloured silk so the these threads create the design of colour over the gold, set closer and further to give depth of colour.

Passing thread
A fine flexible metal thread with a slight texture, wrapped around a core, which can be sewn through the ground fabric. Used for plaited braid stitch etc.

Polychrome
"Many colours" Embroidery worked in multicoloured (silk) threads

Purl
A type of metal thread made like a miniature spring. It may be couched down or cut into pieces and sewn down like beads.It comes in smooth, purl (coarser) and check (crimped) styles.

Spangle
Period term for sequin, made by winding wire into a coil, cutting into links and then flattening to produce a ring. Also called Oes or Owes.

Split stitch
Backstitch which pierces the previous stitch, making a single fine line.

Underside couching
A form of couching where metal threads are laid on a loose linen background, with the linen couching thread pulled tight to form tiny loops on the underside. This technique is durable, flexible, rich textured and requires considerable skill.

WCoB
Worshipful Company of Broderers of Lochac - the embroidery guild within this kingdom of Loachac, within the SCA.