Book Review: Turkish Embroidery

A while ago, I wrote a post about ISMEK, a craft and embroidery center in Istanbul, and its four gorgeous free Pattern Books,

I finally, finally found a good book about the stitches and colors used in Turkish embroidery. I am delighted! The book is Turkish Embroidery, by Gülseren Ramazanoglu. Van Nostrand Renhold Company, New York, 1976. ISBN 0-442-267991.

This is a wonderful book – it has many detailed photos (most black and white, but some color too) of Turkish embroidery, with discussion of the materials, stitches, and colors used and a tracing outline. I’ve photographed a few pages to give you a taste – I strongly recommend it.

Some photos show work in progress. It’s very helpful for understanding the traditional approach. It’s not a detailed step-by-step project book though.

It turns out that one of the fundamental stitches in Turkish embroidery is the double running stitch (sira ishi – means double sira). However, unlike blackwork, it is used as a solid filling stitch! Patterns in the filling are created by varying how rows are aligned. These stitching types are named after the patterns: verev sira means “diagonal” sira, düz sira means “straight” sira, döne döne sira means “circular” sira, etc. It’s also used for outlines of solid areas. I had no idea – it looks so different from blackwork that I never would have guessed they make such heavy use of double running stitch.

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12 Responses to Book Review: Turkish Embroidery

  1. Rachel says:

    It’s amazing to see the huge variety of patterns and styles that different peoples and cultures have created from essentially the same techniques, isn’t it.

  2. Elmsley Rose says:

    Beautiful patterns! I’m so glad you found a bit of a ‘how-to’ book on Turkish work. 🙂

  3. Elmsley Rose says:

    Yes! 15 copies held in Australian Libraries…..put in an interlibrary loan request…..interesting to see this and “Persian Tiles” by Jane Nicholas, and see Jane’s reinterpretation work. (Tho Turkey isn’t Persia, quite).
    And I got some very pretty pics on the Google search “Persian tile” too 🙂

    • Hannah says:

      Jane Nicholas’s designs are so pretty! Glad the Turkish book is available over there. I will have to check out that Google Image search you suggest.

  4. Anita says:

    It’s always interesting to learn about embroidery created by some part of the world,through that we get to know about the culture and fashion .Thank you for sharing this with us.
    Happy stitching.

  5. Oh my God !Thanks a lot for these links to some wonderful patterns !! this can lead to personal interpretation. Sure I will have a look to all these books. Thanks

  6. Pingback: Continuing the Jacobean bellpull | enbrouderie

  7. Juliyana says:

    Thank you sharing all these amazingly beautiful patterns. Love it very much.

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