Epigonation and Blackwork (updated)

Blackwork Cross

It is about time to start work on my next liturgical embroidery project. There is something special about doing liturgical embroidery. It is, in a way, more satisfying than other projects.  I do, in the end, prefer to do projects for others anyway, projects intended for my walls seem to rarely get completed.

The above Blackwork Cross will not be on the first Epigonation, but on the second, I have volunteered to stitch two of them, one on a red wool fabric, and the second on a beautiful white Scottish linen (which will have the above cross in the center). My design for the red woolen Epigonation is hand-drawn and will be done in surface embroidery, so I doubt that I will be able to post a decent picture here before it is done. It is my hope to have the red one completed by Nativity, and the white one for Pascha. It just depends on so many other things, but that is my hope.

The design for the red Epigonation will be quite different – basically a cross with vines and flowers. I will post a photo of that when it is far enough along. You can see the framed project in the photo here, it was for a good friend.


12 thoughts on “Epigonation and Blackwork (updated)

  1. Mrs. Mutton says:

    I would love to see these when they are done! Was the cross above done as a practice piece, or does it adorn something else?

  2. Your cross is beautiful! Looking forward to seeing these as you progress!

  3. Catrin says:

    The cross was stitched and framed in the memory of a good friend who died earlier this year, I gave it to her husband. The framed version can be seen in an earlier post.

  4. ochlophobist says:


    May I have your permission to put this photo on my blog and link to this post?

  5. Catrin says:

    Certainly, you may do so, and thanks for asking!

  6. Carol says:

    A friend just sent me the link to your blog, no idea how he came across it! I am so excited to find you enjoy liturgical embroidery and I wonder if all other posters do also? I have worked on a couple projects for our church and will be doing more, I’m sure.
    What have you decided to start as your next liturgical project?

  7. Catrin says:

    The two Epigonations are my next projects. The photo in this post is of a cross that I stitched in blackwork for a friend who was dying at the time – but it is a beautiful cross and will stitch it on one of the Epigination that I have started. It tends to take me a little time to complete projects, but I have hopes of having one done in December, and the second in time for Pascha, but time will tell. I will post pictures of my progress.

    What kind of embroidery do you prefer to work in?

  8. Carol says:

    I made a cloth on 40ct linen which is now under the icon reverenced when we first enter church – the embroidery was a lacis panel with several crosses done with dove’s eye stitch. The next thing was simply to sew, by hand and very tiny stitches, ribbon on all edges, front/back, on the icon stand at the front of church. Then for this past Pascha, Father had received old linen embroidered fabric (about 20 yds of it!) which had been as curtains of some sort, it was in maybe 5 pieces. I had to figure out how best to use the fabric to make skirts for the altar, memorial table, and two icon stands and then attach them to fabric for the tops of each table or stand…the embroidered fabric is the “skirt” part. There were a few holes which I had to darn by hand, had never done any darning so that was a new challenge. I’ve made simple gospel covers with no embroidery, just sewing the decorative fabric/lining together. Would like to do a very detailed cross but haven’t come up with a design yet. Perhaps you could point me in the right direction?

    For my personal stitching, I do reproduction samplers as a rule.

    Please tell me, what does the word epigination mean?

  9. Carol says:

    PS – You are in Indianapolis? I am in Toledo. Your sister is in Maryville, TN? My sister is in Blue Ridge, GA.

  10. Carol says:

    Your blackwork cross is lovely and so are your other works I’ve had time to find!

  11. Catrin says:

    Carole – you can find more information on a Epigonation here http://orthodoxwiki.org/Epigonation. While this is common across all jurisdictions, I think there are different practices concerning with the priest is blessed to wear it.

    It sounds like you have been doing some interesting work! There are very few really good designs for crosses available, really, in my opinion, the best way to do this is to create your own design. A former priest in our parish taught me how to do this. For example, you can have a simple cross and border the bottom of it with flowers and vines. It is amazing what can be done with the humble stem and split stitches, along with perhaps some long-and-short stitches.

  12. Carol says:

    Thank you, I’d always wondered what that was called…now I’m not saying I’ll remember it. I did see your cross with the vine beneath, very nice!

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