Assissi Work

Assissi stitching….

I have been doing some research on European stitching techniques over the years and I was wondering if any of you have done any work related directly or indirectly to the Assissi method…

Brief History of Assissi stitching from Wikipedia:

Assisi work uses a method known as voiding in which the background is filled in while the motif itself is left blank. Cross-stitch is used for the background and blackwork, i.e. Holbein stitch is then used to outline the motif and create the surrounding decorative scroll work.

Traditionally, Assisi embroidery was rarely executed in cross-stitch, but most often in long-armed cross-stitch. Examples employing other stitches are also known, such as cross-stitch, Italian cross-stitch and Algerian plait stitch. The colours of thread used were the traditional ones of red, blue, green or gold for the background, and black or brown for the outlines. Traditional motifs were largely heraldic, especially heraldic beasts, and typically featured symmetrically arranged pairs of animals and birds surrounded by ornate filigree borders.

In the oldest pieces, the figures were drawn on the fabric free-hand, surrounded with Holbein stitch and the background was filled as well as possible. For more modern pieces the pattern was constructed carefully on paper, in much the same way as cross-stitch patterns are created. Today Assisi embroidery is nearly always done this way.

Motifs were strongly influenced by traditional designs of bird or animal pairs surrounded by elaborate scroll work. These early articles were most often used for religious purposes e.g. altar cloths and chasubles.


This examples is from

and I am going to look into how I can modify some of my ideas to include patterns in which I just stitch the void… I might avoid the scroll work or designing my own for now… let me know what you think



About Rachel

I have been studying and working with various forms of needlework for the past ten or more years. I look to the stitching community for insights and expansion on my lifelong studies. My favorites are blackwork designs or projects with minimal needle changes that focus on the pattern, not necessarily the color. My completed portfolio is available publicly on Flickr. You can also find me on Twitter, Pinterest, Etsy, and of course on Facebook


  1. Vicki via STNA's Facebook Fan Page says:

    Assissi? Absolutely love Assissi. I can show you a before and after piece I’ve done. It is amazing.

  2. Erik via STNA's Facebook Fan Page says:

    I did an Assissi design. The fabric really becomes the focal with this kind of stitching.

Comments Are Always Appreciated


I may be an affiliate for some of the products that I recommend. If you purchase those items through my links I will earn a commission.
This website and its author are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program,
an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.