It’s time for a new project and it’s especially time to get back to doing more traditional embroidery! Although the Fallen Leaves panel is coming along, I’m still not really enjoying stitching it. The techniques are OK but the way the piece looks just isn’t great. That’s probably down to my lack of design experience. Although I know lots of stitches and feel pretty confident in knowing where to use them in a traditional design, now that I’m trying something more contemporary I’m missing the mark. The first panel will be finished – I do NOT want any ufo’s in my workspace – but it’s time to enjoy what I’m doing and I just haven’t really enjoyed stitching lately.
So, I’ve decided on a historically based project that ties in perfectly with my holiday plans for the summer. After I’m in London for the opening of Nicola Jarvis’ show at the William Morris Gallery, we’ll be travelling to Bayeux to see the tapestry (among other things!). Also, I had my first experience stitching the Bayeux stitch when I was working on the Acorn project and quite liked it. Doing more of that stitch is appealing.
This past winter I got The Bayeux Tapestry by David M. Wilson so I could learn all about the history, how it was stitched and have time to learn the story it tells before I was there, in front of it. This book in amazing and has a complete set of full color photos of the entire length of the tapestry. Each photo is 12 inches tall x 10 inches wide so the detail is excellent. It’s considered the best book on the Bayeux Tapestry and I agree with the reviewers – it is the best. I have others and they are good, but the detailed photos really set this one apart.
Having a book with such large photos means it is easy to make a pattern of a section of the tapestry that’s a good size for stitching. Carefully using a pencil, I laid a piece of tracing paper over the image I want to stitch and created a pattern to use. I chose a boat with men and horses in it (not the cover image) because I am fascinated with the idea that the Normans brought not only men and weapons but also horses across the channel. What a task!
I always like tracing the design I’m going to use before I transfer it to the fabric. It feels like my eyes and my hands get to know the design better for having traced it. While I’m tracing I’m looking carefully at the lines. When I’m finished I look back at the picture to fill in any details I may have missed or gotten wrong. Tracing forces me to really see the design. When I copy it onto the linen I’ll have another chance to “see” it in my mind so when it comes time to stitch it, I’ll feel quite confident about the shapes in the design.
To know which stitches to use where and in what direction the Bayeux stitch should go, I’ll refer to the photo in the book. It is so detailed that I don’t think I’ll have any trouble knowing which stitches to use – when it isn’t the Bayeux stitch – which it is for almost all of the area to be stitched!
The threads I’ll be using are from Renaissance Dyeing. I couldn’t really choose any others since the colors Andie Luijk creates are just perfect for this! I have the colors I need already so I can get started and more is on it’s way to me in Berlin. If the dye lots don’t exactly match, in this case it’s fine – perhaps even better since the threads throughout the tapestry are different shades.
The colors I’m using are dark red #0403, dark blue #1009, fawn #1412 and soft aqua #1608. The fabric is a 36 count linen in an ivory color. I purchased it in the USA and don’t remember what company produced it.
I can’t wait to get started!