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Krestetsky Flaxen Embroidery
November 25, 2010 12:15

Krestetsky stitching (or Krestets embroidery aka Krestsy whitework) is an old Russian folk handicraft that developed in Krestetsky District from the 1860s. Krestetsky seaming is a unique kind of national cutwork-type embroidery.

The embroidery is carried out on a flaxen fabric, and threads of the basis and weft are cut and pulled out from the fabric forming holes in a grid-like pattern. The grid was filled with special designs and tracery. This fabric was used for creation of various patterns and embroideries. Krestetsky embroidery was popular as decoration for clothes, curtains, and towels.

Krestsy Settlement

Krestsy settlement and the entire Krestetsky District are well-known for this special kind of embroidery.

Krestsy is an urban settlement, the centre of Krestetsky District of the Novgorod Region. Other industries here except stitching include lumbering and woodworking, woodcarving, manufacturing of furniture, carved platbands and other wooden decorations. Earlier, in the 1950s flax growing was developed here. Highway Moscow – St. Petersburg runs through the district.

Krestsy Settlement was first recorded in 1393 and today it is registered on the list of historical cities and towns of Russia. The town was repeatedly destroyed, at first by the oprichniks of Ivan the Terrible in 1569, then by Polish invaders in the early 12th century. Catherine II made Krestsy a district town in 1776. Two years later Catherine's travelling palace and cathedral were built there. The town remained the centre of Krestetsky District till 1922. In 1926 it lost the status of a town. In 1938 Krestsy was transformed into an urban settlement.

History of Krestetsky Embroidery

Krestetsky stitching originated in the Village of Rakhino of Krestetsky District.

The handicraft developed from the 1860s and gained popularity not only in Rakhino, but also in the entire Krestetsky District and in the neighboring districts as well. The flax embroidery method developed and gave a year-round income to women, and therefore it passed on from one generation to another.

During the Soviet era masters of Krestetsky stitching were gathered in artels that manufactured various items. Traditional embroidery patterns consisting of rosettes, stars, squares and leaves were supplemented with Soviet artifacts, such as the state emblem of the USSR and union republics. The embroidery picture by N.M. Zhigunova and S.A. Vlasova with images of the arms of 16 Soviet republics, the Order of Victory and the Moscow Kremlin became an illustration to the article about the Krestetsky embroidery in the Big Soviet Encyclopedia.

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Tags: Russian Arts and Crafts Russian Embroidery    

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