CharacteristicsCounted thread satin stitch motifs, brightly coloured, on evenweave linen Surrounded by back stitch or double running stitch (Holbein stitch) Areas of pulled fabric four sided stitch Geometric designs.
The town of Lagartera in the province of Toledo in central Spain is famous not only for its cuisine, art, needlework and culture, but also for the tales of Don Quixote. It is here, the centuries old embroidery tradition, unique to the area, was developed and still thrives.
Historic documents indicate that the town of Lagartera was founded and settled in the 1200s and that Lagartera embroidered goods date from the 16th century, when excellent embroiderers from the village embroidered clothing and linens for the Countess of Toledo.
Lagartera embroidery is traditionally worked by stitching satin stitch motifs in bright colours on evenweave linen. The motifs are framed with a combination of back stitches and double running stitches (Holbein stitch) in black or brown thread to give a strong outline. Often the work includes areas of pulled thread work, using four-sided stitch.
Lagartera embroidery is characterised by the use of geometric motifs inspired by Moorish art, the original designs being purely ornamental.
The women of Lagartera used to meet in groups to embroider to make their own dresses and house linen, and it is still the custom for brides to have a dowry of this work.
Lagartera Embroidery by South Australian Embroiderers Guild, Milner Craft, Bowral, 2014.
© Valerie Cavill June 2014