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plaiting-work designs

About the style

The decorative arts of the Moorish and the Celts are at the base of these designs. They exists only of small bands going over and under each other. If a band cross over another band then the next time it crosses a band it goes under it.
In designing I wanted to restrict myself using only the 8 basic directions. That’s to say in the design are only horizontal, vertical and lines under a angle of 45 degrees. That’s a substantial restriction. For instance you can’t use regular hexagons. And these hexagons are often a basic figure in Morish designs.

big square
design and execution: jos hendriks


drawing of a "plaiting-work" design.

An example of a “plaiting work” design.
It exist of one or more bands which goes alternately under and over each other. It reminds of decorative Islamic designs.

I have kept the bands as small as possible. In horizontal and vertical direction they are one stitch wide. As a consequence the width of the skew bands is square root 2 (about 1,4 stitches. Although that’s quiet a difference in breath it doesn't’t work disturbing.

If you do execute the designs, the bands are in one color, usually black. The small closed plane regions witch comes into being making the bands, you can fill up with cross-stitches.


There are some books in English with embroidery patterns based on Celtic motives and plaiting work. Actually they are copies of the original drawings, and carving, but filled in with cross stitches. The designs of mine are different: The bands are of a constant width, of course not the same in every direction. Horizontal and vertical they are one cross stitch wide. The slanting are approximately 1,4 cross stitch wide. Further more I took as less space as possible for going under and across as well as for the bending's (See the drawing). This gave, after creating some designs, the most satisfying results. Much more beautiful as the first experiments of mine, which were much coarser.

Working method.

The most satisfying results are embroidered over two threads, using fine linen cloth (14 threads to the centimeter) and in black silk. The bands are made in double running stitch and not filled in. In most designs there comes some small field into being between the bands. They can be filled in with cross-stitches (choosing colors for this is a nice activity).
It’s not really easy to embroider the bands. You very soon are out of your depth. But doing is learning. It’s very wise to start with a small and simple design and then to figure out a satisfying order of working. Also, because essentially this is a form of blackwork embroidery, the working directions on the main page of this style could be a great help.
If you, indeed, create one of the designs, I am very anxious about the result. Please send me a photograph (jpeg, max 640x480 pixels).

The designs

examples serie A

You can find the links to these designs at the beginning of this page.

new developments (2007)

The skew parts of the bars of the the designs mentioned above are about one and a haif time as broad as the horizontal and vertical parts. The new designs have bars that are in all directions practically the same ( the skew parts are about 5% smaller). Unavoidebly the broadness of the bars themselves is more. They are three cross stitches large. It is a bit of a puzzle to create designs whitch are at the same time esthetically satisfying and "correct", that is to say "countable" . A link to these designs you find under "larger bars" at the top of this page.

developments in 2008-2009

example series B

The designs you find under "series B", at the top of the page. In these designs the space between the bars is lesser.

Copyright©jos hendriks, 2005-2010