Or Candlewick, is a form of white work embroidery that traditionally uses an unbleached cotton thread on a piece of unbleached muslin. It gets its name from the nature of the soft spun cotton thread, which was braided, then used to form the wick for candles. Motifs are created using a variety of traditional embroidery stitches as well as a tufted stitch.
Candlewicking began in America by the women who traveled out to the wild and untamed West. The women needed comfort in the harsh and lonely places they would settle. They wanted, as their ancestors had, to create beautiful and decorative pieces for their home. For many, needle crafts were also therapy to ease the fears of the harsh wilderness.
I recently got an inquiry if Janome has a Candlewicking foot. My initial task was to look up candlewicking, see what it looks like, how it was done and whether I can replicate it on our sewing machines. As with many handwork techniques, they are being replaced by machines. We don’t always have the skills passed down to us or the time it takes to do many of these beautiful works. Someone said, if doing it by machine is what it takes to keep the art alive, go for it!
I love the tone on tone effect and the simplicity of the designs. In many of our machines there are built-in french knot and candlewicking stitches. In the Memory Craft 15000 & 12000, in Decorative Mode, numbers 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10. The 8900 is #172, 173 & 174. The 9900 in Quilt Mode #13, 14 and in Decorative mode 02. Check your machine for stitches that look like these.
What Foot to Use
Janome does not have a foot labeled Candlewicking, but the Narrow Beading Foot does the job beautifully!!! It’s cut out underneath, to allow the ‘knots’ to form and not get caught on the foot. But the cutout is narrow, so the fabric is supported on either side, while the ‘knot’ is being formed. You will hear a pounding sound as its being created! Use stabilizer, and or starch depending on your fabric.
Working on a couple of projects to show you the possibilities! Hmmm….what about embroidered Candlewicking?