I spent the weekend on the road where I determined that my garters are the perfect travel project. Since they're a repeating counted pattern all I needed was needle, silk, and the garters which all were easily shoved into my pocket. If I had daintier legs they'd be done, but I am rather close to finishing the first one. Just have to do the return journey on one section and attach the buckle. I'm working on a prefinished aida cloth trim that I bought at the thrift store. I got an entire roll (about 100 yards. . .) for $2. I'm pretty thrilled at having come up with some way to use it. Its ten squares wide so it limited the patterns I could use, but one of the first places I ever encountered blackwork, The Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Needlework had a repeating heart motif that I've always loved. While that's not exactly an historical source, it is very similar to this pattern from Nicholas Bassee's New Modelbuch of 1568.
The chart is one of Claudette Ziemann's. It used to be available for free in "The Bronwyn's Blackwork Library" but has been taken down. You can still find it via The Internet Archive. The difference between the historic one and the modern is the stair stepping rather than the use of diagonal lines for the sides of the hearts. Leslie Wilkins has a fill pattern very similar to the Reader's Digest one in her Beginner's Guide to Blackwork pictured on one of the band samplers, but it is not charted. Rosemary Drysdale has a chart for the smoothed out heart border identical to the Reader's Digest one in The Art of Blackwork Embroidery.
I started with the hearts and made a few adjustments. I modified the cross in the heart by adding more diagonal lines and turned the cross into something closer to my fleur/krin. That was about it though. This is the fastest pattern I've ever done since its totally straight journey, no trips off the line.
I'm planning to put a buckle on one side and did a bit of fringe on the other end. I left it long enough so it can loop around and hang down. I don't have any documentation for this form of garters, but the last time I went looking at extant examples they were so wide ranging in design that I don't feel that it is crazy. Sprang, woven, macrame, embroidered, knitted, plain fabric, leather. . . the only thing they have in common is that they hold up stockings.
I'm hoping to finish the other garter next weekend at Solstice Court. It's the perfect sort of project to have at an event and I have the entire day without my children to chase.
I finally found somewhere that has the fabric I used. I was looking for cotton aida cloth trim or ribbon. Apparently its called banding or just aida bands. Zweigart makes one that seems to be what I have and its available in lots of colors. Not for nearly the nothing I paid for mine, but I like it so its nice to know I can get more. There are also similar products in linen. I was thinking this sort of thing might be fun to make for largesse as either garters, bookmarks, or trim. As I said, its a fabulous travel project.