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Or Nue (Shaded Gold)

There's a very nice or nue piece illustrated on the back cover of Kay Staniland's Medieval Craftsmen: Embroiderers. The photograph is a detail of the Mantle of the Virgin, one of the vestments of the Order of the Golden Fleece (mid 15th century).

Article: 20013 of rec.crafts.textiles.needlework
From: mheasley@emr1.emr.ca (Margaret Heasley)
Date: Fri, 14 Jul 1995 11:33:41 GMT

I am not able to tag this to the related post.
NUE - There is an article and a work shown in the August isssue of Needlework on the subject of NUE. Interesting. I had never heard of this type of needlework before. From what I understand the work is done with gold thread (metallic such as sadi) which is couched with an embroidery floss. The embroidery floss is used elsewhere is give the project the coloring. The work shown is gorgeous.

Article: 20233 of rec.crafts.textiles.needlework
From: tinne@eskimo.com (Susan Profit)
Date: Sun, 16 Jul 1995 09:56:05 GMT

In article ,
faeriedustbunnies wrote:
>I just got a copy of The Encyclopedia of Embroidery Techniques by
>Pauline Brown. In it she describes a technique I had never heard of
>before, or nue'.
I am not any where near as experienced in the technique as the European masters from the Medieval era who works have survived, but yes, I do some of it. One of the books with a few color examples of the technique is Kay Staniland's Medieval Craftsman: The Embroiderers available from the University of Toronto Press (ISBN 0-8020-6915-0) Not a how to book this presents some of the surviving historical pieces, including a lovely close-up on the back of the book of a detail from a a robe showing the Virgin Mary in blues and reds and golds with lots of pearls. (Not in this lifetime will yours truly be -that- good!)
You think Marilyn's faces are wonderful? You will drool over the shaded pale pink solid silk stitches detailing this figure's face and hands........
>The effect is beautiful! Unfortunately, there is no bibliography
>in this book and I would love to learn more about this style of embroidery.
>Does anyone out there know anything about it, or can you point me in the
>direction of some books that include this? Many thanks :)
Unfortunately, I don't have any books on the technique: I was taught it by an SCA Laurel (mistress of the Arts) and don't have any idea of where she learned the technique: although she did extensive work for years with the Portland Opera and Ashland Shakespearean Festival. Bascially, this was master level embroidery and due to the living conditions in the urban centers where this particular craft flourished, the Black Death decimated the Masters of this work, and it gradually died out by the time the Plague had finished its rambles across the face of Europe.
>(who just loves finding things like this that pique her... :) )

Very Simple Or Nue':
Take a small (1" or 25mm square) of felt. With a sharp needle, and Kreinick cord, lay parallel rows of the cord, stitching it down over the square with very fine thread that matches the cord in color about every 1/4" or 6mm. Make sure there is no space between the rows of cord you are laying down: you want to see the gold (or silver) not the felt. Most of the stitches to baste these down are traditionally laid over two cords in all alternating brick fashion.
    |    |                    |    |    |
  |    |    |  rather than    |    |    |.    

Then go back, and in a silken thread of a contrasting color, on the top cord stitch an upright stitch in the center of the cord. The next row down, stitch one to the left of, below, and to the right of the stitch in the row above. Lay the thread of the stitches immediately next to each other, so they look like three threads snuggled up to each other with no gold showing between. On the third cord, stitch one to the left of three below and one to the right of the stitches in the second row.
Continue like this with a gradually widening triangle until you reach the middle cord in the square. When you reach this cord, begin in the center of the cord with a second contrasting silk thread, and make a single stitch, with stitches of the first color to the left and the right of it.
On the next row, when laying the stitches, lay the stitches of the original color as above, but in the center of this cord, leave a space, with a stitch of the contrasting color to the left and the right of that space.
Continue making the lower triangle in the contrasting color with a thread's width between the stitches as your triangle widens out.
When you have reached the end you should have a picture of an inverted V in a solid color of silk with a triangle of a second color that is half as intense in color. sort of like the ASCII I'll attempt below.
(- equals one silk thread width of bare cord, 1 equals the first color and 2 the second)

Now, if instead of using a second color, you had simply used the original color (1) for (2) but with the graduated spacing, you would have had a shaded effect.
Try this (with - as the cord and 1 as the only colors) on another square of felt over which you have laid the Kreinick cords to begin to see the shading.

Obviously, it takes a while to get used to the idea of a thread width of spacing to get the spacing one, two, three or four thread widths apart between the silk cords to allow for the more subtle shading of this technique. And it is not uncommon to have several colors shading into each other as well as with varying amounts of the gold showing through. I haven't tried adding any seed pearls to anything I have done as was common in some time periods and some places.
Used on a lot of ecclesiastical or state robes, many examples of this technique were melted down in later centuries to collect the real gold and silver used to make the cording so there are in numerous cases descriptions of garments that are no longer around.
> : @}-->-'-,-- faeriedustbunnies --,--'-<--{@ :
Hope this helps a bit both describing the technique and giving you samples to try it out on.
@}->- ;) Tinne Laughter Heals :D -<-{@
We are beginners at more than we are experts of.

Article: 20267 of rec.crafts.textiles.needlework
From: tinne@eskimo.com (Susan Profit)
Date: Sun, 16 Jul 1995 17:50:22 GMT

I forgot to include two important pieces of information in my last post on this subject:
1. You attach the piece of felt to a background fabric before laying the Kreinick cord over it leaving with a sort of open faced sandwich.
- is the cord, f is the felt, B is the background fabric

          -        -   

Notice you are leaving -very- little of the cord on the backside of the background fabric. This is a Hallmark of the Opus Anglicum version of the work: a great innovation of it's time because it wasted so little of the precious gold and silver wire on the backside where it was not visible.
2. I prefer to work on a taut fabric in a frame, and that is what was recommended to me by the woman who taught me. Until you have all the decorative stitches in position, it would be very easy to have the cords shift exposing the background fabric or felt which would leave the piece looking sort of sloppy.
Well anyway, if you are still with me, for a third exercise in Or Nue'cut yourself a piece of felt in any simple shape you want. (A star, a cross, your SO's face, a pumpkin, a cat's face, a book, a heraldic beast, a simple flower, etc) Attach it to the background fabric.
Then look at it and decide where it needs a little extra padding to give it a third dimension: cheeks, the center, whatever and cut a smaller piece of felt to lay atop the first. If you are really a glutton for punishment cut a third level as well. Attach these to the bottom layer of felt. Try to make sure that these are not too much smaller than the bottom piece or it can look rather strange.
            ---                 ----               ---
           -fff-              --ffff--           --fff--
      ------fff------       --ffffffff--       --ffffffff--
Not   -fffffffffffff- but --ffffffffffff-- or  bbbbbbbbbbbb
      bbbbbbbbbbbbbbb     bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb     -          -
      -             -     -              -

Lay the cords over the felt pieces, as before. However, when you come to stitching with the contrasting color of floss, use the layers of floss to determine the shadings: space the threads one thread width apart as it passes over the raised area and graduate the stitches so it has a section of very few contrasting stitches in the center of the upraised area.
Play with several of these until you get really comfortable with couching over uneven surfaces and using them for graduated shading. Then try one with one color of floss on the upper level of felt, and another color on the lower making the graduated changes of colors as smooth and natural looking as you can. Try more complicated felt pieces for patterning.
When you get good at this, get a piece of tightly woven fabric (handkerchief linen or an old sheet scrap -not- craft linen) and stitch a cartoon outline of the figure directly onto it, no felt for padding.
Begin laying the cord down over the outlined area, and with only a single cord or two in position, begin the shading. {This one or two at a time was courtesy of the readers of this newsgroup who helped me over a problem -I- was having, so give yourselves a big hand folks}. When you have finished with the various colors you are using on this/these cords, lay another one or two, and repeat until you reach the top of the cartoon.
At this point you basically have all the information to continue expanding into more complex colored and intricate pieces until you get as good as you are interested in.
Hope this helps rather than confuses.
@}->- ;) Tinne Laughter Heals :D -<-{@
We are beginners at more than we are experts of.

Article: 20796 of rec.crafts.textiles.needlework
From: ac849@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (Diane Dodds)
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 1995 12:56:02 GMT

Anyone looking for info on this technique should check out the August 95 issue of the British mag "Needlework". They have an article on the technique in that issue.
Diane Dodds
Department of Political Science
Carleton University
Ottawa, Ontario Canada


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