Firstly, everyone has seen the rather cool animation of the Bayeux Tapestry at Youtube, haven’t they?
Here’s the kit, made up into a cushion -
I really enjoyed doing it. I did it a few months ago, in the depths of the Australian winter when I had a horrible chest infection, wasn’t blogging much, and didn’t feel like challenging myself with my stitching. I found Bayeux stitch to be very relaxing and forgiving, especially being used to working with high count linen and flat silk thread as I have been doing for ages. Rather like using crayons rather than fine tip pens.
What I couldn’t believe was that so much colour interest was obtained with only the 3 colours (blue, maroon, yellow) supplied with the kit. There was just a little navy blue supplied for a couple of curls on each side at the top and bottom and a line running through the tree. Those designers of the original Bayeaux Tapestry knew what they were doing!
I’ve got a good bit of wool left – about 1/4 of the total amount supplied. It’s about half the diameter of the Renaissance Wool that I’m using at the moment (so, really thin compared to Appletons), also single ply, but much more tightly woven. Ren Wools do have a lot more light and movement due to tiny variations in the threads, due to the particular dyeing process used for them, I assume.
This image is from Regia Anglorum which provides some explanation of how to do Bayeux stitch. There is a more complete stitch explanation to be found in Madame Chantel/Bayeux Broderie’s kit instructions.
What I found in addition to the instructions I’ve seen is, while not getting silly about it, the laid stitches for this step needed to be packed in rather thoroughly to cover the ground. More than the side by side stitches shown in the diagram above (which is a pretty standard Bayeux stitch diagram) would imply, to ensure the ground isn’t exposed when the additional layers of stitching are added and pull the mass of threads back and forth.
The second layer required the most attention, needing to be laid at nice even intervals.
These little stitches that couch down the laid stitches of the second layer force the laid stitches of the first layer apart a little, so again generosity in laying that first layer of laid stitches counts.
I did the curves by dividing each into segments of the longest straight lines possible to fit within the curve, to use for that first layer of stitch.
I did notice that on the sheet provided to indicate where the various colours were to be used, there were a few mistakes compared to the colour picture provided and in terms of fitting in with the rest of the design.
I backed the cushion in some green cotton fabric that toned well with the wools, and trimmed it in some navy blue cord to bring out that little bit of navy blue wool.
I like Bayeaux Stitch. I’d like to do some of the creatures that run along the edge of the piece sometime in the future.