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Candlewick trimmer (Vienna)
This early American candlewick spread was made for a four-post bed, and includes fanciful botanical motifs, birds, and a central motif with an American eagle. Collection of Bill Volckening.

Candlewicking, or Candlewick is a form of whitework 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. Subject matter is usually taken from nature - flowers, insects, pine trees, and so on, Other traditional motifs resemble Pennsylvania Dutch or Colonial American designs.[1] Modern designs include colored floss embroidery with the traditional white on white stitching.

Loom-woven or machine-made candlewicks of the early 19th century are white bedcovers with designs created during the weaving process by raising loops over a small twig or tool.[1][2]

Contemporary candlewicking is most commonly used as a cushion cover.

The etymology of "candlewick" makes it derive from the wicks of candles which had to be trimmed occasionally for safety reasons.


  1. ^ a b Weissman, Judith Reiter and Wendy Lavitt: Labors of Love: America's Textiles and Needlwork, 1650-1930, New York, Wings Books, 1987, ISBN 0-517-10136-X, pp. 78-79
  2. ^ * Tortora, Phyllis G.; Merkel, Robert S. (1996-01-10). Fairchild's Dictionary of Textiles (7th ed.). New York: Fairchild Publications. pp. 89–90. ISBN 9780870057076.


  • Weissman, Judith Reiter and Wendy Lavitt: Labors of Love: America's Textiles and Needlework, 1650-1930, New York, Wings Books, 1987, ISBN 0-517-10136-X