I have made some progress on the Bateau Bayeux project…never fear! The sails are finished so their little boat is ready to sail across the channel in all weathers. I started at the top of the design – working upside down – and now the whole top part of the picture is stitched.
As I worked on the sails, always looking at the photo in David Wilson’s book, I became aware of how much the direction of the couching stitches affected how each sail looked.
In the photo below you can see that the couching stitches (meaning the long ones that hold the laid stitches down and not the tiny holding stitches) on the far left blue sail curve quite dramatically at the right end of the sail. This gives the impression of the sail filling with wind. The next sail over – the golden tan one – also has slightly curved couching stitches but perpendicular to the ones in the blue sail.
As you can see from the photo below, this is how the original was stitched.
In the next section of a group of sails, I deviated a bit from the original and made the holding stitches in each section flow together more smoothly in a more or less continuous line.
You can see in the small tan sail at the bottom right of the photo that the outside edge is in a curve with the rest of the holding stitches but the area underneath the rope is at a completely different angle. Although you can see only a little of the blue sail at the very bottom in the photo below, you can see that the holding stitches carry on the gently curved line that the others (except that funny bit below the rope!) have in common.
It’s a funny, eccentric bit of stitching. I wonder what happened? Oversight?, Deliberate choice?, Bad light?, Exhaustion?, Worry?. I love to think about why the change happened and for such a tiny part of the sails.
The photo above, of my work, shows the continuous curved line I’ve worked in the sails. Naturally, I can’t take a photo of the original to show you the difference but perhaps you can imagine it in your mind’s eye.
Next time I’ll talk about the Bateau Bayeux project you’ll see all the sailors dressed! They were SO embarrassed – I can’t tell you how relieved they are now!
I’m curious: if you were stitching this replica of this bit of the Bayeux Tapestry, would you try to follow the stitch direction exactly or not? Why? Why not? I’d love to hear from you and so would everyone else!