Feb. 1st, 2015

parlstickare: yellow griffin on a red field, embroidered in couched work (Griffin (Thamesreach bunting))
The SCA shire I'm playing in, Thamesreach (i.e. London) has a long set of bunting with the members' arms on interspersed with the Thamesreach arms. It looks really neat and is also a way to remember people who moved elsewhere. Most are either painted or sewn/appliqued.

I wasn't quite sure how to do mine, since my arms are complicated, with a background in vair (small pieces of white and blue). First I thought I could paint them, but seeing another member's painting going a bit pearshaped when the paint ran outside the borders made me re-think that idea. My second option was appliqué but when I had done the first quarter I looked at it and wasn't satisfied. The colours looked flat and the appliqué had scruffy edges despite careful stitching.

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The appliqué follows the post-medieval way to depict vair, with a pattern made of rectangles and triangles. The medieval version is a rounded shape, but the tiny edges at the bases are impossible to do with appliqué.

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Even using the later version, it was a very fiddly process, with small stitches. You had to be careful so it wouldn't unravel, particularly at the points. I had first tried putting anti-ravel liquid on the edges, but that would make it impossible for the holes from the needle to close up afterwards.

So I went back to my trusted needlework. Klosterstitch or split stitch would be more accurate time-wise, but since couched work ("bayeux-stitch") is immensly more economic with the amount of thread needed, I chose that instead. One panel of vair took me about half an hour to do (keep in mind that the fabric is ordinary cotton so there is a high threadcount compared to normal embroidery linen), but the result looks so much better that I don't mind the extra time. All you need is a couple of evenings with something mindless on the tv or a couple of podcasts and you can get a lot done.

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Heraldic beasts comes in two versions: the ones with a different colour of their claws, teeth, tongue and genitals (where applicable) and the ones that are entirely single-colour. Adding a new colour felt like overkill when I designed my arms - particularly since vair as a background increases the total number of colours to four. Single colour can make the animal very plain, so I added some lines to indicate the three-dimensionality of the animal.

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And what a difference it made!

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Ta dah!

Now all I have to do is another one for the other side of the bunting...

ETA: colour references for DMC cotton: blue: 147, white: 2, red: 321, yellow: 726.


parlstickare: geometric embroidery in bright blue, red and yellow (Default)

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