The Royal School of Needlework (RSN) is compiling the world’s largest repository of stitches, RSN Stitch Bank, and aims to digitally conserve and preserve every stitch around the globe. Launching in September, the Royal School of Needlework will reveal the first 150 stitches, to kick off the charity’s 150th anniversary celebrations.
RSN Stitch Bank will feature videos, written instructions, illustrations and photographs for each stitch. Stitches range from the well-known, Back Stitch and French Knots, to the more technical, Queen Stitch and Turkey Rug. Rarely used stitches will also be featured, such as Underside Couching and Battlement Couching Trellis.
Every year, stitches are lost as they fall out of use or through general wear and the age of the object. Textiles also continue to be threatened by changes in manufacturing processes and more aggressive issues of war, neglect and destruction.
Dr Susan Kay-Williams, Chief Executive of the Royal School of Needlework said: “RSN Stitch Bank goes to the heart of the Royal School of Needlework’s core purpose. We will be celebrating our 150th anniversary in 2022 and were founded to keep the techniques of hand embroidery alive and, implicitly, all their stitches. We believe it is our responsibility to conserve every stitch digitally so they will be recorded for future generations.”
RSN Stitch Bank will be online from 24 September 2021 and will be a resource for all stitchers, teachers, curators, historians, researchers and students. Stitchers will be able to find a new stitch to use in a project and learn how to work it. Researchers, curators, historians and students can use the site to learn about the use, structure and history of each stitch, in a range of embroidery techniques, and to identify individual stitches on a textile.
The Royal School of Needlework was founded in 1872 and teaches the art of hand embroidery around the world. RSN Stitch Bank will launch on Friday 24 September, initially with 150 core stitches to mark the organisation’s 150th anniversary, but this will be just the start. The list will continue to be rapidly expanded to preserve a world directory of stitch for the future.
RSN Stitch Bank has been made possible thanks to a number of charitable trusts and to many individual donors who have ‘Adopted a Stitch’. You can find out more about supporting the project and ‘adopting a stitch’ by visit the RSN website: royal-needlework.org.uk