A blackwork Tulip and Open Zigzag sampler square

For my 2nd blackwork sample, I decided to choose just a couple of patterns from the book, and repeat them, in a square — so each pattern would be done twice. I figured that this would be a much calmer pattern to follow and would give me some time to try and focus on getting the stitches to look neater. Also I hoped that it would allow me to memorise the pattern a bit more so that I wouldn’t have to refer to the paper quite so much.

I chose two which had 4 grid square repeats — they both are 4 grid points wide and 4 grid points high — which I felt would result in something balanced. I couldn’t find many in the book that were on my “ooh, that looks nice” list which were 4 x 4, so they pretty much chose themselves.

The two patterns I chose were Tulip and Open ZigZag. The book says:

Tulip: This pattern is made up of a series of interlocking hexagons, joined in rows by a straight stitch. It is a mid-scale pattern and works well in more organic designs.

Oops, a square isn’t very organic is it…

Open Zigzag: This pattern is made up of rows of zigzag lines stitched diagonally over the linen, with an added horizontal stitch at each point It is a mid-scale pattern and is suitable for creating a geometric effect within more linear shapes.

Aha, linear, a square counts as linear right?

I planned to do each repeat 4 times, making a 16 x 16 square. Leave a gap of a couple of threads, before then starting the next pattern. I sketched this out on a piece of grid paper to check it looked an ok, and to give me something to follow.

This sampler square didn’t take that much stitching, probably about 4 hours, so I managed to do it all in one day across a few hours in the morning, and a few in the afternoon. I did memorise the patterns, and so I was able to focus more on the stitches but obviously got distracted at times as I had to make a few corrections - I seemed to want some of the tulips to have their middles going from bottom to top instead of top to bottom. I liked the repetition, and both patterns are pleasing to me. I’ve already sketched up something using more of the tulips but I’m not sure when/if I’ll get around to stitching it.

Overall, though, an improvement on the star, simpler was better and improvements were made.