Before I begin to stitch the gorgeous design by Nicola Jarvis, I need to do some practice stitching. Yesterday I set up a little piece of linen twill on my Needle Needs Millennium Frame and drew a quarter circle and a small round circle. These are roughly the shapes I’ll be stitching on the Acorn crewel work piece.
Bayeux stitch covers a relatively large area of the design and I’ve never worked it for a complete piece. I started, of course, by looking in all of my books. I looked in:
The Embroidery Stitch Bible, RSN Crewelwork, Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches, The Coats Book of Embroidery, The RSN Embroidery Techniques, Erica Wilson Crewel Embroidery, Edwards Crewel Embroidery, The Art of Crewel Embroidery, The Embroiderers Handbook, Embroidery Stitches by Snook and not ONE of these books had a diagram or instructions on how to do Bayeux Stitch. Not one.
So , off I went to the internet where I found this site: Racaire’s Embroidery and Needlework. She is a master at Bayeux stitch and also has quite good instructions for how to do the stitch. In addition to her site, I decided to write to Tracy Franklin and ask her about it. She is stitching the same design for Nicola Jarvis’ show. She responded with another site – Feeling Stitchy – where there was a good diagram and instructions and a book recommendation. The book she recommended is by Jan Messent. In fact, she didn’t recommend just one of her books, but pretty much anything by her as a good source for history and design. I ordered Celtic, Viking & Anglo-Saxon Embroidery: The Art & Embroidery of Jan Messent. I can’t wait for it to arrive!
Now, back to Bayeux stitch…
If you take a few minutes to look at the Racaire’s Embroidery and Needlework site, you’ll see how beautiful Bayeux stitch can be. I sat down and laid the long, vertical stitches. Then I went back and did one horizontal stitch and couched it down. I continued and was quite happy when I stopped for the night and went to bed.
When I came home this afternoon, I decided to have another go and this time placed the vertical stitches more tightly together. As you can see, it looks much better…I think. At least it looks more like Racaire’s stitching which I think is fabulous!
I’m going to continue to practice and perhaps I’ll discover some tricks for Bayeux stitch. It usually happens after I’ve done the stitch for a while, in different shapes, sizes and applications. That’s where I need your help. I don’t have a long time to experiment with this stitch and I certainly don’t want to experiment on the final piece! So, if you have any tips or tricks for making Bayeux stitch look as beautiful as possible, please share them! Thank you!!!