Posted by: Jocelyn | November 18, 2008

Naversom – another Whitework section done

I have finished another section on my Whitework Sampler, this time in Naversom, which is a traditional technique from Sweden. I love doing this type of embroidery because it works up very quickly, and has a delightful lacy effect, although it is not as fine as many other styles of lacy embroidery.

The first step is to withdraw threads to make a grid – the pattern is to withdraw 2 threads, leave 3, withdraw 2 etc. When making things like doilies or mats, it is quick and easy to simply pull the threads right out, but as I am insetting this within my sampler, I had to weave each cut end under a few threads to secure it – what a pain!
Preparation for Naversom

There are 4 stitches in Naversom – darning, diagonal, goose-eye and ground. Here, I have worked the darning stitches around the outside, diagonals to outline the central motif, and goose-eyes within the central motif. Only the Grounds to go. (This picture shows the wrong side of the work – the front hasn’t been revealed yet. See below).
naversom in progress

All is revealed…
naversom finished
One of the features of Naversom which makes it different to pretty well every other embroidery technique, is that it is worked from the wrong side. The fabric is pinned to a solid board, and the needle slides across the board under the grid threads, there are no stab stitches. That means of course, that you cannot see the front until you unpin it from the board!! Originally, I believe, the embroidery was pinned to birch bark, which could be rolled up with the work attached. These days it is easier to use the boards that decorated cakes are put on – they are already covered in foil and pins or thumbtacks go it easily.

This is a very simple design, as it is only about 3½ inches quare, but they can be very intricate and beautiful. You can see some great pictures here and here

ukrainian & naversom
Here are the finished Naversom and Ukrainian sections.

I have some sections marked out for pulled fabric, and some more drawn thread, but I would like a couple more techniques to include as well.
So far I have done, or have planned:
drawn thread
pulled fabric

Can you suggest some other whitework techniques for me to include?


  1. what about Mountmellick. it is rather heavy compared to all the drawn thread work, but it is the only other whitework technique i can think of

  2. You could maybe consider broderie anglaise work? Eyelets etc… Tracy Franklin’s book Contemporary Whitework also covers the traditional techniques – her site has some info

    Your work so far is gorgeous – I particularly love the Ukrainian panel

  3. Ruskin Lace, Hedebo, filet – I’m sure there are many other lace techniques as well, but my mind’s gone blank at the moment. Candlewick if you want to add a heavier non-counted technique. Will keep thinking.

  4. I am trying to teach myself how to do Naversom but have been unable to get the diagonal darning stitch right. The book I am using ans the photos not so great, so, while I can make the stitch look right, I know I am not actually doing it right. Can you walk me through it? Or direct me to something online with good instructions/pictures?

    Thank you.

    For whitework inspiration, check out Specifically, the book Bibliotheque DMC Broderies Ajourees Sur Toile. It is in French but has some great pictures you can easily use to make interesting things from.

  5. This is really very nice – I am really enjoying seeing the progress of this

  6. Thank you for your comments.
    Your work est very, very nice.
    I put your blog in my favourits

  7. This is unbelievably beautiful!! Awesome. I love whitework, but would never attempt it myself – I’m looking forward to watching this progress.

  8. This sampler is wonderful. I do look forward to seeing your further progress. As for other techniques – you have been given some good suggestions already – one more to add would be Lefkara. Also you will find some inspiring counted satin stitch bands on 17th century whitework samplers.

  9. No suggestions for anything new but wanted to thank you for showing such close up details of your work. I’ve long wanted to play with whitework and hopefully this will be the year. I’m enjoying your progress!

  10. Beautiful work. I’ll be adding your blog to my RSS feed so I can follow your progress.

    Every other technique I though of has already been mentioned.


  11. What about some Leftkaran. (not sure of spellin). It is very beautiful…………Louise

  12. What a beautiful work! You have already used the techniques I know of and I hope someone else provides a new or old one for you to continue. Congratulations!

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