Cross Stitch on Linen -- Patterns from
Spain and France
by Christian de Holacombe
These patterns are taken from the inner pillowcases, made of
linen, that were found inside more elaborately worked outer covers
on cushions from the 13th and 14th century royal tombs at the
monastery of Las Huelgas, near Burgos in Spain. The originals
are worked in red or black silk in a combination of long armed
cross stitch (the straight lines) and simple cross stitch (points
and isolated stitches).
The castle motif is placed near each
of the four corners of one side of the pillowcase, and as you
can see, it's worked on linen tht is not quite even weave. (In
the center of this pillowcase is a motif in a different technique.)
Another fragment has a border of very similar castles in solid
cross stitch, with openings only at the doors and windows.
The other patterns are for simple borders, from fragments of
the bottom edges of the same pillowcases. All of these can be
worked either in the original combination of stitches or in simple
The diagram here illustrates how to begin, and continue,
rows of long armed cross stitch in either a horizontal
or vertical direction.
More patterns from the Cross:
Chart for the cover page from Filum
Chart for one of the motifs from the Huelgas cushion.
Embroidered purse from Sens
Here are pictures and two motifs from a purse solidly embroidered
in long arm cross stitch, from the Cathedral Treasury at Sens,
near Paris. Sens was for many years the premier archdiocese of
France, and so has received gifts and collections from many other
churches, especially those destroyed during the French Revolution.
I apologize for the poor photos; the originals are very small
and very old. I've given charts for a couple of the basic motifs.
My thinks to Baroness Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvyrn, who
saw this purse in Sens and took extensive notes that enabled me
to reconstruct all the patterns and colors.
Any of the patterns from this purse could be worked on linen
in solid cross stitch or like the originals in long armed cross
stitch, with the stitching following the lines of the motifs.
They would make nice pincushions, either backed with solid color
fabric or as a hanging decorative pincushion or "scissors fob"
with the designs on both sides.