MOUNTMELLICK

Characteristics

  • Contrast - smooth cotton satin fabric with matt cotton thread, smooth satin stitch against padded and knotted stitchery
  • No eyelets or open work
  • Thread - heavy white matt yarn
  • Edging - buttonhole or knitted fringe
  • Designs - flora of the hedgerow and forests of the countryside: used in large scale: roses, rose hips, ivy, daisies, ferns, blackberries, shamrocks, thistles, passion flowers: no insects or animals
USES: Bedspreads, sachets, mats and household linen YARN: traditionally white matt knitting yarn. Today a range of different threads are used and can be interchanged for different effects. Coton a broder, perles, DMC cebelia, crochet yarn STITCHES: wide variety, those common in crewel and Jacobean Mountmellick stitch, cable plait stitch, buttonhole and bullion are most characteristic.

History

Mountmellick town in Ireland was founded by the Quakers in the 17th century and was once a prosperous linen and cotton spinning and milling centre known as the “Manchester of Ireland”.

During a time of intense hardship, about 1830 to 1840, a local woman, Mrs Johanna Carter, had the idea of introducing a new type of whitework, the sale of which might benefit unemployed cotton weavers and other poor women. She taught women and girls to embroider, using readily available materials, thick knitting cotton on a closely woven heavy cotton satin ‘jean’, and generally finishing the articles with a heavy knitted fringe.

References

Houston-Almqvist, Mountmellick Work - Irish White Embroidery, Coleman, Ireland
Clabburn, P. The Needleworker's Dictionary
Weldon's Practical Mountmellick Embroidery sheets
Weldon's Encyclopaedia of Needlework Waverly Book Company (Page 257)

© Valerie Cavill May 2007

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