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.