(Ayuubid 1172 - 1249 & Mamluk 1250 - 1517)
Some of the older samplers from Egypt include a wide variety of examples of pattern darning. Ellis  notes that although the technique was labor-intensive, it was used extensively to decorate light clothing, household linens and soft furnishings for everyday use. Most of the designs are geometric or small figures. Some are wide and some narrow. Frequently they are used as multiple bands of differing designs to create a wide edging or collar. Most of the embroidery is worked on bands and then incorporated into garments.
The geometric patterns appear in almost an infinite number of variations. The most common are “S’s”, “Z’s”, diamonds, waves, and rosettes. All are designs that make extensive uses of the voids that are left by the embroidered areas. Some of the embroideries have extremely complex designs built up from combining patterns. The small individual figures are frequently birds or sometimes fish. These, along with some rosettes, may be used as single designs or in an all over pattern.
Many of these designs traveled to Europe, as we see the same patterns in the early16th C. modelbuchen (pattern books) — as you can see in the illustration at right, from Nicolas Bassée’s New Modelbuch (1568). Rosettes, waves, birds, and interlace are the most common.
The Egyptian pattern darning was done on linen, primarily with silk. The most common colors for the silk are dark brown, blue, red, and green. The thread count on the linen varies from a rougher linen 15/11 to finer linen 24/24. Multiple silk strands are used to make the line of the embroidery approximately equal in width to the base linen threads.
When stitching the Icelandic pattern darning (modernly called skakkaglit), Gudjonsson notes that the stitches pass over 1, 3 or 5 threads. Then the next line of the pattern shifts over diagonally 1 thread for the next row.  This creates intricate and dense patterns.
Whether you choose to do pattern darning in the tradition of the Egyptians, the Germans or the Icelandic, it creates a rich textured look to your embroidery.
A Book of Old Embroidery, by A. F. Kendrick. Published by The Studio, London, 1921.
A Pictorial History of Embroidery, by Marie Schuette and Sigrid Muller- Christensen. Published by Frederick Praeger, New York, 1963.
Batsford Book of Canvas Work, by Mary Rhodes. Published by BT Batsford Ltd, 1983. ISBN 0 7134-2669 1.
Embroideries and Samplers from Islamic Egypt, by Marianne Ellis. Published by Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford, 2001. ISBN 1 85444 135 3.
Samplers, by Carol Humphrey. Published by Cambridge University Press, 1997. ISBN 0 521 57300 9.
Embroidery Masterworks: Classic Patterns and Techniques for Contemporary Application, by Virginia Churchill Bath. Published by Henry Regnery Company, 1972.
Tissus D’Egypte, Temoins du monde arabe, VIIIc. - XVc. Siecles. Published by Societe Presence du livre, Musee d’art et d’histoire, Geneve, 1993. ISBN 2-908528-52-5.
Traditional Icelandic Embroidery, by Elsa E. Gudjonsson. 2nd edition, self published, 2003. ISBN 9979-9202- 6-2.
“Icelandic Medieval Embroidery Terms and Techniques” by Elsa E. Gudjonsson, pages 133-143. From Studies in Textile History, edited by Veronika Gervers. Published by Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, 1977. ISBN 0-88854-192-9.
 Ellis, pg. 24
 Ellis, pg. 30
 Ellis, pg. 32
 Schuette, pgs. XVIII-XIX
 Gudjonsson, pg. 27
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